Art as a "score" to be repeated by anyone

Tonight's class included much heated discussion about our intentions to recreate an art event/happening/action from the 1960s or 70s. There were a few subtexts.

1. How does reproducing a work of art affect its aura or authenticity? (See Walter Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," Illuminations, 1938.)

2. Can the documentation of a performance be as important as the experience? (Some of the most famous performances were only witnessed by a handful of people; think of Chris Burden's Shoot, 1971--the dissemination of the photo document is how the rest of the world experienced the work.)

3. What does it mean for us to translate, reinterpret, and recreate a performance, 40+ years later, in this time and context? What role does chance and repetition play in causing the work to mutate?

For more on art as instruction or score, see the exhibition "do it" curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist:

do it is an autonomous show that exists as a growing set of artist's instructions -- (in)formation to be actualized by an interested audience, and capable of taking place simultaneously in many locations in a myriad of permutations.

"do it unites two strategies employed at key moments by the conceptual avant-garde: the generation of a work by following written instructions, and the insertion of chance in the realization of an artwork."

2 comments:

JuliaInTheRye said...

I made a comment about the sixties in a class, basically I said that the sixties weren't successful and that now we are trying different tactics.

After more thinking I have begun to see it this way:

The sixties did do something, it made it LEGAL to be creative. (Atleast much MORE legal).

But I feel like now we have to teach people, EVERYONE, how to USE THAT FREEDOM.

Now that the rights have been awarded to the masses, we have to teach the masses how to utilize those rights....

Maybe thats what all this participatory art is unconsciously? consciously? moving towards....

JuliaInTheRye said...

in case anyone is interested, Patrick happened to mention a documentary on youtube that has furthered my understanding the relationship between now and the sixties extensively...

i haven't watched the very end yet, but so far its been fascinating...

part one:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=BcXQK8oNOeE

there are six parts, you should just search for the rest so i don't have to link them.

keep watching, i'm telling you, its relevant.

there are some yippie interviews....?