12 Criterion

 

The primordial act of delineating space is common to all of us.  Whether in a social, cultural or political context, we claim territory by marking out distinct areas with signs, words, behaviours or, when all else fails, in our own imagining - where the claim is obedient to our will.  In the domestic or work spaces where we live out our lives, defining rituals are enduring and significant. We make a space our place. This claim involves more than simply marking out a physical space; it needs a level of connection that grows more profound and gradually bonds the site with our identity.

 

The genesis of my current practice can be traced to the writings of Georges Perec (France, 1936 - 1982) who had a passion for the trivial details of everyday life, and to Claire Doherty's seminal essay, The New Situationists in From Studio to Situation (2004), which plots the trajectory of art-making beyond the site-specific genre. My own practice subsequently moved away from object-based work and became site-oriented, person-specific and time-related; the works now identify a situation at a particular time in the subject's (place/person's) history.

 

Earlier works, (It's the Vibe, 2005, in the exhibition Acidophilus: Live Culture Colonised at the TMAG and Decorama at Inflight, 2006) involved simple acts of negotiation with the subject and forming active relationships between the audience and the works; these engagements were more relevant than any aesthetic or formal consideration. The works were a two-way street, where something was both given and gained.

 

The new work in 12 Criterion is, in essence, more than a simple commission. It is about relationships and experience – both for me, the artist, and the person for and with whom I am creating the art. The work grows from of a series of convivial negotiations about the space and what goes on within it. Nothing is preordained in the making, there is an element of risk and concomitant apprehension in the process. Unpredictable outcomes provide a tension similar to that experienced by the Fluxus artists – I too am vulnerable to chance.  The success of the work hinges on a probability that the subject will relate and engage with the project.

 

Each of the works in this exhibition looks at a range of intimate things (thoughts, situations and boundaries) all centred around the person who spends the most time with the space; 12 Criterion St. This work is not about nostalgia -- it is a simple matter of fact.

 

2008

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