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« Imagine My Distress | Main | Friday Ephemera »

August 20, 2014

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Connor

Worst. Pillow fight. Ever.

David

Oh, it’s wasn’t a complete failure. Two or three people, possibly friends of the artists, do applaud when the performance reaches its, um, thrilling climax. And one passing pedestrian, a lady in a hat and red jacket, does pause momentarily, perhaps wondering why two women are bashing themselves with pillows at a busy roadside. But she then seems to realise she has better things to do.

Mike

This Chicago duo tells us that their work “exhibits a strategically refracted or misrepresented view of current political and philosophical discourse, creating a space where viewers are challenged to think critically about their own relationships with feminism, consumerism, and representational visuality.”

Do they actually think the bollocks they say relates to anything they're doing?

peter horne

David, you are a bad man. Stop posting stuff like this.

I almost bust my representational visuality by crying with laughter. And as for my strategically refracted discourse, well, thank god for Savlon, I say.

Have you no mercy?

David

David, you are a bad man. Stop posting stuff like this.

Hey, I’m just trying to nail some culture into you heathens. [ Tilts head, does innocent face. ]


Do they actually think the bollocks they say relates to anything they’re doing?

I’m not privy to the full scope of their delusions, but it’s often the case that the flimsier and more vacuous a piece of supposed art is, the more comically pretentious its written justification has to be. And if no-one is going to call you out on this – none of your friends and peers, for instance – if none of your peers have that kind of integrity - then I suppose the mismatch doesn’t matter. To them, at least.

Lancastrian Oik

The strategic refraction and ambiguity have succeeded, because anybody who watched that witless, talent-free exhibition would have thought "What the f*** are those two doing?"

Paul Nottingham

When you get to my age you realise that you haven't got 28 minutes to spare watchin edited highlights of performance art.

However, if I might make a suggestion as an aesthete and patron of the arts, I think that the point might be put across more effectively and succinctly with naked mud wrestling. Failing that, the addition of a few monkeys trained to lob half bricks at the participants would help encapsulate a zeitgeist of desperation and debauchery in a post-modern (yet curiously pre-modern) age.

Doubting Rich

To translate: they are frustrated at inability to change things they dislike, so like small, intemperate children then make random movements, imitating self-harm, in frustration.

Stuck-Record

This is a shocking wasted opportunity.

There's a lovely green space there. If they'd put those damn fool pillows down and beat the crap out of each other, they'd have no trouble stopping the traffic.

They could even charge to watch.

RobANZ

Gumbys ?

David

The spam filter is acting up again. If anyone has trouble with comments not appearing, email me and I’ll shake them loose.

R. Sherman

Do these people use the Postmodern Essay Generator to write their press releases?

Stu the Limey

The one on the right is not putting nearly enough effort into hitting herself in the face with a pillow. Ruins the whole thing for me.

Kevin B

They're taking the piss, aren't they?

I mean, fair play to them and all, but in the paraphrased words of a great philosopher: "They cannot be serious!"

Joan

The duo describes the piece as “a physical act of frustration

Frustration caused by a lack of talent and the feeling they've wasted years on pretentious crap? I could believe that.

Sadistic Eristic

Think how much stronger a statement would have been made about our culture's excessive materialism if the artists had displayed a big sign listing the total of the tax dollars and private donations that were needed in order to stage this 'durational performance'.

Mark

It's amazing what you can learn for only $67,000 tuition.

Gheri

It's time we call imbeciles, imbeciles.

rabbit

Would someone find out what drugs they were on and where I can get some?

wtp

Failing that, the addition of a few monkeys trained to lob half bricks at the participants would help encapsulate a zeitgeist of desperation and debauchery in a post-modern (yet curiously pre-modern) age.

I see people are beginning to grasp the genius of my "Simia ex machina". I'd also throw in bikinis...and tighter abs.

wtp

ooh...or teddies...and a trampoline. Damn, this work has so much untapped potential.

Lorne Russell

Reminds me of this Python sketch:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_Nq3xuHkgE

mojo

"...we see the ladies beating themselves around the head and face with large feather pillows. Thereby enlightening passers-by, obviously."

Or, at the very least, making their commute amusing for a few seconds.

mojo

PS: Is the "Do not enter" sign part of the act?

Hal

Leessseee . . .

. . . “durational performance” . . . “exhibits a strategically refracted or misrepresented view of current political and philosophical discourse, creating a space where viewers are challenged to think critically about their own relationships with feminism, consumerism, and representational visuality.” . . . . “a physical act of frustration - an ambiguous response to the implicit guilt of inaction and the weight of overwhelming knowledge.” . . . “The lack of clarity serves two purposes: to show the expansiveness of war and to allow [the] audience to access the image first and the meaning second.”

Oh, well of course you Philistines are completely missing the point of the exercise, but then it's clearly too subtle for y'all . . . What the Great Artistes are obviously doing is a preliminary start on learning about writing press releases while reading from a thesaurus.

The bit about flailing about in front of a camera is merely the publicity support for the actual presentation.

DensityDuck

This seems like something Andy Kaufman would do as a joke.

Marcopohlo

I liked the Less Filling/Great Taste fight in the fountain better.

Ray

Okay, I'm no artist, but I think I see where they went wrong here.
Instead of pillows, they should have been using claw-hammers.
It would have made more sense.

Hal

Of the following, I mentally flipped a coin to see if it'd be OT, and the coin landed edge on; If nothing else, I think we do definitely have a match for the level of functional I.Q. and demanding that everyone else is just required to play along . . . .

Father of "affluenza" teen arrested for impersonating police and other related headlines . . . .

From one story . . .

Frederick Couch, whose son is on 10 years probation for killing four people while driving under the influence, was arrested for impersonating a police officer. (Photo : Twitter). The father of Ethan Couch, the 16-year-old who made headlines last year for being ...

David Gillies

I assume you are using the word 'enormity' in the sense of 'atrocious offence against decency' and not in its catachrestic sense of 'very large in size'.

Street mimes and those clumsy jugglers you see at traffic intersections are missing a trick. Instead of passing round the hat for loose change, if they gussied up their act with a few references to the transgressive hermeneutics of post-capitalist societisation or whathaveyou they could go pan-handling to the Arts Council and get a nice fat grant.

matt

mojo, i thought the same thing. Subversive placement in the video designed to further enhance a "strategically refracted or misrepresented view of current political and philosophical discourse..." or unintentional hilarity. Given the amazing amount of set construction and complexity of staging this production, if it was unintentional, it's not like they could have gone out and re-filmed it.

Martin W

A couple of hits with a solid object would have been much more artistic

the wolf

Worst Doritos advertisement ever.

Elrond Hubbard

I had better pillow fights when I was ten years old, sadly my brother and I failed to make videos of them, not realizing we were making profound art.

present & correct

@Ray
Instead of pillows, they should have been using claw-hammers.

yes indeed... and then they could have been 'creating a space' in the cranial cavities of their skulls.
but i'm still doubting whether the view would be strategically refracted or not.

Franklin

Reminds me of this Python sketch

Lorne Russell wins the thread.

Jon Powers

I'd be even more impressed if they used bricks instead of pillows.

mojo

Matt: "Subversive placement in the video designed to further enhance a "strategically refracted or misrepresented view of current political and philosophical discourse...""

Uh, yeah. That too. Paging Mr. Staker, Mr. P Staker...

Darleen

I noticed they disabled the comments on the Vimeo post

I suppose us unenlightened, uncultured viewers are only to be self-critical, the mothergirls artists having already arrived and beyond the need for any response.

or, IOW, Shut-up.

David

From the ladies’ joint CV:

2010 M.Phil Theatre and Performance, Trinity College Dublin. Thesis: The Subversive Potential of Humour in Selected Clown Theatre Pieces by Female Artists.

Employers take heed.

Sam

2009 BA Theatre Arts, Western Washington University
2010 M.Phil Theatre and Performance, Trinity College Dublin
2009 BA Theatre Arts, Western Washington University

Or "Unemployable".

The Subversive Potential of Humour in Selected Clown Theatre Pieces by Female Artists.

Wow. Is that what I've just been watching for 30 minutes?

David

Or “Unemployable”.

Well, with people like this – and there are thousands of people just like this – you have to wonder what the long-term plan is. How, exactly, were they hoping to entice employers and repay the cost of their education? Is pretentious pillow flailing – sorry, “strategic refraction” - a skill in demand? Is it something the public cries out for and will rush to throw money at?

What do the ladies plan to do when they’re, say, forty, or fifty? Given the improbability of such people being self-supporting in later life, at least in their chosen line, do they have wealthy parents who will indulge them indefinitely? Or do they expect their talents, such as they are, to be rewarded with other people’s earnings, confiscated forcibly by the state? And is self-inflicted dependency a thing to encourage?

I ask because the ladies say they want us to “think critically.”

Greg Allan

From the Mothergirl CV...

"2013 Stop Performing Lecture, Waterloo Arts Centre, Waterloo, IA"

Could it be that they weren't taking notice?

Jonathan

Where's a Cop with a gun when you need one?

Jimmy

Speaking of unemployable artists, the school I graduated from in 2013 has created a walk-through video of the end-of-year exhibition (in which I submitted). I was thinking of perhaps including a link to it in my online portfolio to show potential employers where I studied. And then I actually watched the video, and it's quite horrifying. They decided on a musical style which I can only describe as deeply melancholic. The camera work makes things worse by being purposefully obtuse and uninformative very arty. I felt the overall effect to be one of confused despair - because that's exactly the kind of impression you'd want to give people who are interested in the school.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/81468652

It's quite long, but there are some highlights.

3:15 - the chunks of rusted metal are things you're supposed to wear. I think it's called jewellery. The research and concept behind this work involved complaining about the west because it's bad and polluting and therefore you should wear things that will probably give you tetanus, you dirty westerners.

5:27 - believe it or not, more jewellery.

5:51 - damn whitey and their oppressive chocolate!

6:38 - observe, you dirty philistines, a doorway!

8:30 - behold a glimpse of true genius. Did I mention this is the result of three years of study at what used to be a traditional art school? (the countries first!)

David

They decided on a musical style which I can only describe as deeply melancholic.

It is a bit “will my oncoming mental breakdown lead me to murder the children?” Which is perhaps not the happiest evocation.

GR

I'm aware that defining 'art' may be considered hideously complex. Like defining 'love,' one might say, when grasping for comparisons.

But if this is 'art,' then surely 'love' is just a man masturbating at a bus stop.

David Gillies

GR, consider that line stolen. There is very much a sense of public masturbation about what passes for avant garde art i.e. it's deeply unedifying to watch, exhibitionist, requiring no skill or talent, and is designed merely to shock rather than provoke any deeper thought.

Mags

I ask because the ladies say they want us to “think critically.”

*applauds*

ac1

I wonder is there a website challenging interwebbers to tell the difference between "performance" "artists" and meth-heads?

Hal

I wonder is there a website challenging interwebbers to tell the difference between "performance" "artists" and meth-heads?

Hmmm.

In low doses, methamphetamine can cause an elevated mood and increase alertness, concentration, and energy in fatigued individuals. At higher doses, it can induce psychosis, rhabdomyolysis and cerebral hemorrhage

. . . . Valium, mebbe?

It possesses anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, hypnotic, sedative, skeletal muscle relaxant, and amnestic properties. . . Adverse effects of diazepam include anterograde amnesia (especially at higher doses) and sedation, as well as paradoxical effects such as excitement, rage, or worsening of seizures in epileptics.

Hal

And come to think of it, there is Michael Caine

Dr Bryant, I don't think you're listening to me.

Mr Collins, I don't think you're saying anything to me.

- Doctor, are you drunk?

- Drunk? Of course I'm drunk. You don't really expect me to teach this when I'm sober?

Hal

Oh, and Dear All, I'm currently reading Clive James.

Regarding these Greate Artisticke Wonders, and just having read James's commentary on a particular observer of theatre, imagine what Kenneth Tynan would have to say about them . . .

Here he is on Vivien Leigh's Cleopatra: "Taking a deep breath and resolutely focusing her periwinkle charm, she launches another of her careful readings; ably and passionlessly she picks her way among its great challenges, presenting a glibly mown lawn where her author had imagined a jungle."

ac1
Lemuel Garcia

This is what happens when the younguns don't get boned with regularity. The glands get clogged, and need to be beaten with pillows.

Hiraethin

To the principle that, to be art, a work must be not easily confused with rubbish, we must now add the principle that, to be performance art, performances must not be easily confused with crazy people having an episode.

jimmy

Did someone say Rubbish?

to the tune of fifteen_thousand_dollars

http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/arts/2844191/Waikato-art-award-winner-just-rubbish-artists

David

Jimmy,

But Waikato Museum director Kate Vusoniwailala leapt to the defence of judge Charlotte Huddleston, saying it was “an excellent decision” which had helped achieve the objective of getting people talking about art.

You have to wonder exactly how many times these hustlers are going to wheel out the same old dishonesties:

“It’s brilliant because it’s got the public talking about art.”

“Yes, but they’re all saying it’s shit.”

“But it’s got the public talking about art.”

“Yes. But – and this is rather important - they’re all saying it’s shit. Some people have suggested that you and your fellow parasites should be hunted down with blow darts.”

“But it’s got the public talking about art.”


And so on, and so forth.

jimmy

It's not even anything new. The other contestants, upon hearing of the result, should have taken the liberty of pinching off a few logs right on top of the winning entry. Now that would generate 'discussion'!

Sadly, this 'piece' does fit into the still contemporary notion of 'sustainability' in NZ, which is literally part of art curricula at the national level (along with diversity). This is art for public bureaucrats and politicians.

clazy

When did it become common for artists to include a "statement"? A statement seems to acknowledge that art fails; why else explain? However, that assumes the statement is directed at the public. It seems more likely to be aimed at fellow artists, and to be less an explanation than a gesture of solidarity. It's hard to believe these people want to communicate. They mainly want to be seen, and to be seen as different, and they'll do whatever it takes. But no one wants to be different alone, and the statement, by alluding to whatever mish-mash of justifications is currently popular among their fellow exhibitionists demonstrates their belonging.

David

Clazy,

A statement seems to acknowledge that art fails; why else explain? [...] It’s hard to believe these people want to communicate.

Much of the time it seems to be little more than in-group signalling – usually of their imagined superiority. Nothing of consequence. Though as I said elsewhere, it does communicate something, albeit inadvertently. And artists would do well to bear in mind that when they exhibit something they’re effectively saying, “This is what I think is good enough for you.” Which, given the above and much else like it, is kind of insulting.

jimmy

It is very in-group, but at some point it was all for their tutors benefit. Because curriculum.

David

It is very in-group, but at some point it was all for their tutors’ benefit.

As I wrote in one of my very first posts,

The results of this conceptual approach are not so much art as a commentary on art - and, inadvertently, a commentary on the shortcomings of art education… Whereas creative genius is, by definition, unequally distributed and often expensive to develop, theoretical facility is cheap to disseminate and all too easy to regurgitate. While very few of us can hope to create things of extraordinary beauty, rather more of us can learn to “reference” things of beauty or, better yet, to say why beauty doesn’t matter.

I don’t think I could paint, sculpt or design something beautiful, something people might travel to look at. But I’m pretty sure I could mouth the kind of bollocks that quite a few artists and students use to excuse their own inadequacy.

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