Contemporaneous Extension


I’ve been wondering about the capacities that make us human and our relations to one another in the world recently. It’s really stunning to think about the ability to even think about such existential questions. I guess that’s sort of the theme of today’s post…

I am a nerd for space, and this list was right up my alley. Although its entitled ‘10 Strange Things about the Universe,’ its definitely mostly about time travel. Frame Dragging, Relativity of Simultaneity, and Black Strings proved the most intriguing for me. I like the thought of Space-Time being affected outside of our control. Can you imagine seeing the effect of something before the cause?

(Rapture timelapse by Tom Lowe, 2010 Astronomy Photographer of the Year according to National Geographic. Minute 1:46 and 1:55 are my favorite.)

e-flux is a great outlet for extended thoughts on the arts and where they factor into the grander scheme of society, of change, of evolution. I’m particularly intrigued by Nato Thompson’s essay discussing the emergence of slowness in the art world, found in long-term projects and relational aesthetics that have become much more mainstream. There is a direct contradiction yet correlation between the rapid, schizo-spazz art that has sprung from recent generations simultaneously, that brazenly tweaks viewers with tempered spaces or disco balls. Tino Sehgal and Marina Abramovic’s practice in the past 2 years serves as a large point of departure for him.

“This kind of shifted aesthetic disposition resists not only the pace of the information economy, but, perhaps more importantly, our very ability to consume our experience. If we are frantic, it is only because we need to be so in order to keep up. Slowness does not only characterize a mode of consumption, but also a mode of behavior. To that end, we now find numerous forms of contemporary art that gain resonance by tweaking behavioral codes with regard to the body and temporality. Some projects comprise bite-sized moments that are quickly consumed, context-specific chunks of experience that enter the mind and dissipate quickly, in harmony with the frantic and the contingent. They are brain candy and they are meant to be delicious. While there is nothing new in describing numerous forms of participatory art as mere products of an information economy that caters to the needs of power, their temporal qualities certainly play a role as pithy and poetic correspondences to capitalist consumption.”

Thompson’s essay is called Contractions of Time: On Social Practice from a Temporal Perspective, published 2010.

Really digging the show currently up at Anthony Greaney in Boston. Entitled The Workers, these photographs, drawings and film by Louisa Conrad are an attempt to unite art with work/practice/task. Conrad tracks the banality and grace of farming in Vermont with her husband, utilizing a herd of goats as her prime subject. Its open til January, check it out if you’re in with the Red Coats up North.


Louisa Conrad, '10 Workers (ewes),' graphite on paper, 48 x 60 inches

Louisa Conrad, '10 Workers (ewes),' graphite on paper, 48 x 60 inches

Louisa Conrad, 'Worker II,' 2010, 30 x 30 inches, C-Print mounted and laminated on dibond

Louisa Conrad, 'Worker II,' 2010, 30 x 30 inches, C-Print mounted and laminated on dibond

Here’s an opalescent interview with John Maeda, the president of RISD who is trained in graphic design and computer sciences. He talks about the connection between the arts and technology, the need for flexible thinking, and evolution necessitating all parts of our brains and not just technology/science.

“…leaders now are facing a very chaotic landscape, things are no longer black and white, things are harder to predict. What better mindset to adopt than the artist’s, who is very used to living in an ambiguous space?”


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