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Adaptation essay


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Adaptation essay

  1. 1.      “…a  de-­‐authored  lineage…”1                            By:   Cecily  Hughes                                                                                                                    1  Bishop  2006  
  2. 2.            Disclaimer  (?):    The   following   essay   is   an   exercise   in   pastiche   and   plagiarism.     None   of   the   words  contained  therein  are  written  by  me.  However,  it  is  my  ‘original’  creation  –  one  that  I  claim  authorship  over.  The  concept  for  this  work  came  out  of  ideas  put  forwarded  in  many   texts   on   adaptation,   appropriation,   collage,   montage,   and   parody,   but   draws  specifically   on   the   critical   validity   of   pastiche   and   plagiarism   put   forth   by   writers  Sarah  Smith  and  Gregory  Ulmer.  This  essay  is  not  a  ‘cop-­‐out’,  a  lazy  pastiche  too  dull  to  achieve  the  status  of  parody,  but  a  critical  text  which  aims  to  analyze  and  critique  authorship   in   participatory   art   practices,   using   Claire   Bishop   edited   collection   of  essays,  Participation,  as  its  core  text  .      "The   selection   of   not   itself   random   but…a   major   part   of   the   critical  statement."  (Ulmer  2002  )    At  times,  I  found  this  project  incredibly  challenging.  First  of  all,  as  teeth-­‐grindingly  frustrating  as  writing  can  be,  not  allowing  myself  to  use  any  of  my  own  words  has  made  me  realize  how  much  I  take  this  power  of  expression  for  granted.    Second,  it  is  hard  to  break  from  the  traditions  you’re  raised  with;  from  high  school  onwards,  my  teachers   drummed   into   my   head   a   mantra   of   correct   academic   writing   (which,   if   I  may  say  so,  has  served  me  very  well  thus  far)     1. Make  sure  you  always  cite  your  sources   2. Don’t  use  too  many  quotes   3. Introduce  a  quote  in  your  own  words,  then  explain  it  and/or  its  significance   (in  your  own  words)  to  your  argument  or  sub-­‐argument   4. Go  beyond  your  research  –  don’t  just  restate,  create    The  only  one  of  these  treasured  commandments  I’ve  allowed  myself  recourse  to  is  the  last.        Perhaps   in   several   years   such   a   disclaimer   won’t   be   necessary.   Part   of   me   resents  having  to  include  it  at  all  –  I  am  trying  to  post-­‐criticize  here!  While  I  have  explicitly  defended  my  reasons  for  creating  the  essay  I  have,    I  won’t  make  the  actual  thesis  of  the   essay   explicit.   Hopefully,   that   is   to   the   work’s   (as   well   as   the   reader’s   and   my  own)   benefit.     Please   note   that   the   citations,   including   citation   styles,   and   images  used  in  this  essay  should  also  be  considered  as  further  support  for  its  thesis.          
  3. 3.  “The   way   that   I   use   projects,   material,   and   writings   in   order   to   develop   a   theory…  could  be  compared  to  the  way  certain  archives  are  structured;  not  like  a  library,  but  an   accumulation   of   different   species   of   knowledge   and   matter   congregated   in   a   single  (physical)  container.”  (Miessen  2010)     ___________    “From  where  do  form  and  content  derive?”  (Cufer  1996)    “We   are   not   interested   in   making   definitive   evaluations   or   declarative   statements,   but  in  creating  situations  that  offer  our  chosen  subject  as  a  complex  and  open-­‐ended  issue.”  (Group  Material  1990)    “For   it   will   be   completed   by   the   presence   of   people   and   a   programme   of   events.”  (Nesbit,  Obrist,  Tiravanija  2003)    “…Kester   describes   the   increasing   tendency   towards   collaborations   and   suggests  that   ‘these   interactions   begin   to   erode   the   romantic   image   of   the   artist   as   solitary  genius,   positing   instead   a   guild-­‐like   community   of   co-­‐creators.’”   (Gere   &   Corres  2008)    “The   primary   motive   for   (Transnacionala)   was   to   organize   an   international   art  project  to  take  pace  outside  established  international  institutional  networks,  without  intermediaries,  without  a  curator-­‐formulated  concept…”  (Cufer  1996)    “…a   de-­‐authored   lineage   that   aims   to   embrace   collective   creativity….constructive  and  ameliorative.”  (Bishop  2006)    “…the  experiences  of  sharing,  commonality  and  self-­‐transcendence  turn  out  to  be  more  intense   and   significant,   in   some   ways,   than   the   postmodernist   categories   most   of   us  art-­‐types   bring   to   aesthetic   experience.   This   is   important   to   me   because   I   don’t   believe  those  categories  should  be  the  sole  arbiters  of  aesthetic  evaluation.”  (Piper  1983-­‐85)    “Each   of   the   four   exhibitions   that   we   installed   at   77   Wooster   Street   reiterated   the  interrelatedness   of   our   subjects   and   the   necessity   of   our   collaborative   process.   Our  working  method  might  best  be  described  as  painfully  democratic:  because  so  much  of  our  process  depends  on  the  review,  selection  and  critical  juxtaposition  of  innumerable  cultural   objects,   adhering   to   a   collective   process   is   extremely   time-­‐consuming   and  difficult.   However,   the   shared   learning   and   ideas   produce   results   that   are   often  inaccessible  to  those  who  work  alone.”    (Group  Material  1990)    “Our   exhibitions   and   projects   are   intended   to   be   forums   in   which   multiple   points   of  view   are   represented   in   a   variety   of   styles   and   methods.   We   believe,   as   the   feminist  writer  bel  hooks  has  said,  the  ‘we  must  focus  on  a  policy  of  inclusion  so  as  not  to  mirror  oppressive  structures.’  As  a  result,  each  exhibition  is  a  veritable  model  of  democracy.  
  4. 4. Mirroring   the   various   forms   of   representation   that   structure   our   understanding   of  culture,   our   exhibitions   bring   together   so-­‐called   fine   art   with   products   from  supermarkets,   mass-­‐cultural   artifacts   with   historical   objects,   actual   documentation  with   homemade   projects.   We   are   not   interested   in   making   definitive   evaluations   or  declarative   statements,   but   in   creating   situations   that   offer   our   chosen   subject   as   a  complex  and  open-­‐ended  issue.    We  encourage  greater  audience  participation  through  interpretation.”  (Group  Material  1990)    “…’participatory’…’collaborative’,   two   terms   that   are   often,   but   should   not   be,  conflated.   The   essential   gap   between   ‘participation’   and   ‘collaboration’   explicitly  relates   to   authorial   rights,   and   the   lack   of   influence   participants   (as   opposed   to  collaborators)  exert  over  key  structural  features  of  the  work.  As  Dave  Beech  points  out,   the  participant  typically  is  not  cast  as  an  agent  of  critique  or  subversion  but   rather   as   one   who   is   invited   to   accept   the   parameters   of   the   art   project.   To   participate  in  an  event,  whether  it  is  organized  by  Rirkrit  Tiravanija,  Jeremy   Deller,  Santiago  Sierra  or  Johanna  Billing,  is  to  enter  a  pre-­‐established  social   environment   that   casts   the   participant   in   a   very   specific   role.”   (Browne   2008)    “From  where  do  form  and  content  derive?”  (Cufer  1996)    “The   gesture   of   ceding   some   or   all   authorial   control   is   conventionally   regarded   as  more  egalitarian  and  democratic  than  the  creation  of  a  work  by  a  single  artist,  while  shared   production   is   also   seen   to   entail   the   aesthetic   benefits   of   greater   risk   and  unpredictability.     Collaborative   creativity   is   therefore   understood   both   to   emerge  from,  and  to  produce,  a  more  positive  and  non-­‐hierarchical  social  model.”  (Bishop    2006)    “Conventional   models   of   participation   are   based   on   inclusion   and   assume   that   it  goes  hand  in  hand  with  the  social-­‐democratic  protocol  of  everyone’s  voice  having  an  equal   weight   within   egalitarian   society.     Usually,   in   the   simple   act   of   proposing   a  structure   or   situation   in   which   this   bottom-­‐up   inclusion   is   promoted,   the   political  actor   or   agency   that   proposes   it   will   most   likely   be   understood   as   a   “good-­‐doer.””  (Miessen  2010)    “It’s…difficult…to   define   how   and   with   what   complications…communication   really  took  place.    The  success  of  communication  by  individuals  largely  coming  from  spaces  and  times  separate,  as  to  both  culture  and  experience,  depends  primarily  on  the  skill  of  the   individuals   and   groups   wishing   to   communicate   –   their   skill   at   playing   a   role  within  the  structure  of  the  dialogue.”  (Cufer  1996)    “…erode   the   romantic   image   …   instead   a   guild-­‐like   community   of   co-­‐creators.’”  (Gere  &  Corres  2008)    
  5. 5.      “We   are   not   interested   in   making   definitive   evaluations   or   declarative   statements...”  (Group  Material  1990)    “The  metaphysics  of  this  idea  of  free  space  is  a  metaphysics  of  indeterminacy.    This  metaphysics  of  free  public  space  is  opposed  to  the  metaphysics  of  a  structured  social  and   political   body,   organized   into   and   structured   by   different   positions,   functions,  and   identities   in   terms   of   race,   gender,   profession,   and   class…Space   has   been  appropriated  in  order  to  empty  it  out,  to  present  it  as  empty,  open  for  everybody.    It  is   a   polemical   or   negative   use   of   public   space   that   presents   the   positivity   of   this  communal  space  as  such…The  most  important  aspect  is  the  de-­‐functionalization  of  urban   space:   the   interruption   of   the   usual   order   of   business,   transport,   work,   and  specialization.     But   it   is   also   the   interruption   of   the   stratified,   hierarchical   order   of   a  class   society:   the   positions   individuals   inhabit   in   the   social   order   are   suspended.”  (Hirsch  2006)    “The  space  will  be  closed  from  the  outside  world  and  mobile  phones,  radios  or  TVs  will  not  be  allowed.  This  is  to  emphasize  the  group  aspect  of  the  experiment  and  to  create  a  structure  in  which  the  ‘step-­‐out’  can  be  done  commonly.  The  necessary  infrastructure  (furniture,   food,   sanitary   installations,   safety)   will   be   provided,   but   it   is   refrained   from  providing   a   programme   or   methods   to   entertain   (people   are   free   to   bring   what   they  like).   Basically,   the   experiment   will   be   able   to   see   what   happens   under   these  conditions;  people  are  freed  from  their  usual  constraints,  and  yet  confined  to  a  space  and  a  time.”  (Höller  2000).  
  6. 6.  “But   surely   one   this   art   can   still   do   is   take   a   stand,   and   to   do   this   in   a   concrete  register   that   brings   together   the   aesthetic,   the   cognitive,   and   the   critical.   And  formlessness   in   society   might   be   a   condition   to   contest   rather   than   to   celebrate   in  art   –   a   condition   to   make   over   into   form   for   the   purposes   of   reflection   and  resistance.”  (Foster  2004)    “In   order   to   make   decisions   within   any   given   collaborative   structure,   network,   or  institution,   conflicts   can   ultimately   only   be   overcome   and   turned   into   practice   if  someone  assumes  responsibility.”  (Miessen  2010)    “It’s  necessary  to  try  and  be  responsible  for  something  which  I  can  take  responsibility  for.”  (Hirschhorn  2004)    “…Tiravanija  presents  a  discussion  of  his  work  in  the  third  person.”  (Bishop  2006)    “From  where  do  form  and  content  derive?”  (Cufer  1996)    “We   can   smell   the   sent   of   a   steaming   pot   of   jasmine   rice,   with   its   very   distinct  combination  of  water  and  the  perfume  of  jasmine….  Sunlight  pours  in  from  an  October  afternoon,   and   already   we   feel   the   compression   of   the   gallery   lifted   from   our  shoulders…As  one  sits  down  for  the  bowl  (white  enamel  with  blue  rimes)  of  food,  one  begins   to   realize   that   this   a   distinctively   different   experience   from   others   we   have   had  in  an  art  gallery  or  with  art.”  (Tiravanija  2004)    “I   want   to   make   an   experience….   I   want   the   public   to   be   transformed   by   the  experience…I   want   the   public   to   appropriate…I   wand   the   public   to   be   active,  participate....  I  want  the  public  to  confront  what  is  important…I  don’t  want  the  public  to  understand.  I  want  the  public  to  seize  the  power.”  (Hirschhorn  2004)    “Once  again,  the  reintroduction  of  food  as  the  key  element  in  the  approach  of  the  work  is  central.    In  tandem  with  this  element  Tiravanija  makes  references  to  the  core  ideas  of   conceptual   art   that   question   the   idealism   behind   the   relevance   of   authorship   and  authenticity.”  (Tiravanija  2004)    “…on   a   technical   level,   most   contemporary   art   is   collectively   produced   (even   if  authorship  often  remains  resolutely  individual).”  (Bishop  2006)  
  7. 7.    “…undo  the  innocence  of  participation.”  (Meissen  2010)    “’The   question’,   Huyghe   argues,   ‘is   less   “what?”   than   “to   whom?”   It   becomes   a  question   of   address’.   Bourriaud   also   sees   art   as   ‘an   ensemble   of   units   to   be  reactivated   by   the   beholder-­‐manipulator’.     In   many   ways   this   approach   is   another  legacy   of   the   Duchampian   provocation,   but   when   is   such   ‘reactivation’   too   great   a  burden  to  place  on  the  viewer,  too  ambiguous  a  test?  As  with  previous  attempts  to  involve   the   audience   directly   (in   some   abstract   painting   or   some   conceptual   art)  there   is   a   risk   of   illegibility   here,   which   might   reintroduce   the   artist   as   the   principal  figure  and  the  primary  exegete  of  the  work.  At  times,  ‘the  death  of  the  author’  has  meant   not   ‘the   birth   of   the   reader’,   as   Roland   Barthes   speculated,   so   much   as   the  befuddlement  of  the  viewer.”  (Foster  2004)    “We   don’t   use   the   word   ‘practice’   lightly   –   it’s   as   if   the   artist   were   a   doctor  administering  the  viewer  with  a  dose  of  opiate  to  cure  all  maladies.”  (Tiravanija  2004)    “More   modestly,   these   artists   aim   to   turn   passive   viewers   into   a   temporary  community  of  active  interlocutors.  (Foster  2004)    
  8. 8.    “…participation  is  often  read  through  romantic  notions  of  negotiation,  inclusion,  and  democratic  decision-­‐making.    However,  it  is  precisely  this  often-­‐unquestioned  mode  of   inclusion…that   does   not   produce   significant   results,   as   criticality   is   challenged   by  the  concept  of  the  majority.”  (Meissen  2010)    “We   are   not   interested   in   making   definitive   evaluations   or   declarative   statements,   but  in  creating  situations  that  offer  our  chosen  subject  as  a  complex  and  open-­‐ended  issue.”  (Group  Material  1990)    “…the   self-­‐reflexive   preoccupation   with   the   identity   and   status   of   artist,   curator   and  institution  plays  on  the  symbolic  negation  of  these  positions,  but  paradoxically  can  only   do   so   only   by   sustaining   them   in   practice.   The   dramatization   of   the   self-­‐reflexive   defers   endlessly   any   critical   debate   on   the   actual,   cultural   potential   and  quality  of  definable  artwork…”  (Charlesworth  2006)      “…Whereas   social   dance   in   white   culture   is   often   viewed   in   terms   of   achievement,  social  grace  or  competence,  or  spectator-­‐oriented  entertainment,  it  is  a  collective  and  participatory   mean   so   f   self-­‐transcendence   and   social   union   in   black   culture   along  many  dimensions,  and  so  is  often  much  more  fully  integrated  into  daily  life.    Thus  it  is  based  on  a  system  of  symbols,  cultural  meanings,  attitudes  and  patterns  of  movement  that  one  must  directly  experience  in  order  to  understand  fully...My  immediate  aim  in  staging   the   large-­‐scale   performance   (preferably   with   sixty   people   or   more)   was   to  enable   everyone   present   to   GET   DOWN   AND   PARTY.   TOGETHER….   I   began   by  
  9. 9. introducing  some  of  the  basic  dance  movements  to  the  audience,  and  discussing  their  cultural   and   historical   background,   meanings,   and   the   roles   they   play   in   black  culture…   The   aim   was   to   transmit   and   share   a   physical   language   that   everyone   was  then   empowered   to   use….   We   were   all   engaged   in   the   pleasurable   process   of   self-­‐transcendence   and   creative   expression   within   a   highly   structured   and   controlled  cultural   idiom,   in   a   way   that   attempted   to   overcome   cultural   and   racial   barriers.”  (Piper  1985)    “…This   revealing   of   one’s   self   within   the   work   is   an   important   legacy   of   postcolonial  and   feminist   discourses   that   deemphasize   and   exaggerate   the   historical   construction  of  artistic  persona.”  (Gillick  2006)    “Participating  in  the  system  doesn’t  mean  that  we  must  identify  with  it,  stop  criticizing  it,   or   stop   improving   the   little   piece   of   turf   on   which   we   operate”   (Wright,   cited   by  Group  Material  1990)              
  10. 10. Works  Cited      Bishop,   Claire.  Participation,   Documents   of   Contemporary   Art.   London:   Whitechapel,  2006.  Browne,   Sarah.   "Crowd   Theory   Lite   the   Crowd   in   Participatory   Art   and   Pop   Economics."  CIRCA  126,  no.  Winter  (2008):  33-­‐39.  Charlesworth,  J.J.  "Curating  Doubt."  Art  Monthly,  2006.  Cufer,   Eda.   (1996)   "Transnacionala   A   Journey   from   the   East   to   the   West."   In  Participation,   edited   by   Claire   Bishop,   138-­‐143.   London:   Whitechapel,   2006.  Foster,   Hal.   (2004)   "Chat   Rooms."   In  Participation,   edited   by   Claire   Bishop,   138-­‐ 143.  London:  Whitechapel,  2006.  Gere,  Charlie  &  Corris,  Michael.  Non-­‐Relational  Aesthetics.  Edited  by  Ben  &  Kivland   Hillwood-­‐Harris,   Sharon.   Vol.   13,   Transmission:   The   Rules   of   Engagement:   Artwords  Press,  2008.  Gillick,   Liam   and   Bishop,   Claire.   "Letters   and   Responses."  October  115,   no.   Winter   (2006):  95-­‐107.  Group   Material   (1990)   "On   Democracy."   In  Participation,   edited   by   Claire   Bishop,   135-­‐137.  London:  Whitechapel,  2006.  Hirschhorn,   Thomas.   (2004)   "24h   Foucault."   In  Participation,   edited   by   Claire   Bishop,  138-­‐143.  London:  Whitechapel,  2006.  Hirsch,   Michael.   (2006)   "The   Space   of   Community:   Between   Culture   and   Politics."   In  Did   Someone   Say   Participate?,   edited   by   Markus   Miessen   and   Shumon   Basar,  290-­‐304.  Cambridge,  Massachusetts:  MIT  Press,  2006.  Höller,   Carsten.   (2000)   "The   Baudoin/Boudewijn   Experiment:   A   Deliberate,   Non-­‐ Fatalistic,   Large-­‐Scale   Group   Experiment   in   Deviation."   In  Participation,   edited  by  Claire  Bishop,  144-­‐145.  London:  Whitechapel,  2006.  Miessen,  Markus.  The  Nightmare  of  Participation  :  [Crossbench  Practice  as  a  Mode  of   Criticality].  New  York:  Sternberg  Press,  2010.  Nesbit,   Molly,   Obrist,   Hans-­‐Ulrich,   and   Tiravanija,   Rirkrit.   (2003)   "What   is   a   Station?"   In  Participation,   edited   by   Claire   Bishop,   138-­‐143.   London:   Whitechapel,  2006.  
  11. 11. North,  Ryan.  "Comic2-­‐2056."  Web  comic.,  2011.  ———.  "Comic2-­‐2282."  Web  comic.,  2012.  ———.  "Comic2-­‐2306."  Web  comic.,  2012.  Piper,   Adrian(1983-­‐85)   "Notes   on   Funk,   I-­‐II,   1983-­‐85.”   In  Participation,   edited   by   Claire  Bishop,  130-­‐134.  London:  Whitechapel,  2006.  Plagiarism:   Art   as   Commodity   and   Strategies   for   Its   Negation.   Edited   by   Stewart     Home.  Aporia  Press,  1987.  Tiravanija,  Rirkrit.  (2004)  "No  Ghosts  in  the  Wall."  In  Participation,  edited  by  Claire   Bishop,  149-­‐153.  London:  Whitechapel,  2006.  Smith,   Sarah.   "Lip  and  Love:   Subversive   Repetition   in   the   Pastiche   Films   of   Tracey   Moffatt."  Screen  49,  no.  2  (2008):  209-­‐15.  Ulmer,   Gregory   L.   "The   Object   of   Post-­‐Criticism."   In  The   Anti-­‐Aesthetic:   Essays   on   Postmodern  Culture,  edited  by  Hal  Foster,  83-­‐110.  New  York:  The  New  Press,   2002.