Wednesday, 8 July 2009

The Provisional Texture of Reality - Susan Hiller

Installation shot of Psi Girls by Susan Hiller, I saw this at Tate Modern. Just wanted to put it in as uses excerpts from films.

Automatic drawing by Masson.


'If talking and thinking were sufficient, and working with ideas was enough, why make art?'


[...]about the relationship between science and art. I can only approach this elliptically. I'm a big worrier and one of the things I tend to worry about periodically is the problem for artists, in particular, of pinning down thoughts and intuitions in ways that have nothing to do with the fluid movement of awareness. The emerging category science-art (lecture given in 1999) troubles me along these lines. I don't want to use up things by prematurely 'understanding' them, and thereby blocking the potential for creating unpredictable new things. I definitely don't want to make work that illustrates what's already known and in place.

pg. 28

One of the world's leading experts on Leonardo [da Vinci] [...] Paintings interested him as depictions of mental images, feelings, states of mind. In other words, what interested him was beyond representation, what could not be conventionally annotated or illustrated. He admonished the true thinker not 'to boast of knowing the laws of nature but to find satisfaction in understanding the new things he invents within his own mind'.

The conditions of consciousness mean that humans desire periodically to exit from language. We seek release from the representational networks which constitute the ego at any given moment. Biologically and existentially the exits from language work to relieve 'the overload of memory' (which Freud named the unconscious) 'by which consciousness is constantly threatened' [...] The great absences where language stops, of course, are death, ecstasy and unconsciousness, but absence in this sense is experienced every day in sleep [...] The scientific account [of dreaming] is at odds with what we feel 'really' happens when we dream.

I suppose I would position artistic practice just here on the borders or edges of conscious experience - interfacing between the social/cultural world and the individual's subjectivity, formed by her experiences in that world. The lucidity of dreamers is the lucidity of artists.

pg. 55

[Yves] Klein's practice shows that there need be no contradiction between objects and events, since objects are just the manifestation of events, falling apart or disappearing at a slower pace.


(Question in an interview - noted simply for the phrasing of the question)
The aspects of memory and forgetting we are discussing seem not so far removed from another element of consequence in your work, namely your attention to those things that lie outside of consciousness - what might be called gaps in the cover of the rational, a kind of shifting ground between the conscious, the unconscious, the rational, the irrational. In other pieces you've worked directly with unconscious elements of subjectivity in your explorations of dream mapping and automatic writing, for instance. Extending our discussion of memory and forgetting, it seems that a consideration of unconscious elements is also relevant to this work, though in a different way. (talking about the J street project).

pg. 176
The Dreamachine.

In an Interview about the exhibition Dream Machines:

One of the things that really interested me in putting together this show was to look at the ways that artists investigate these psychological borderlands where areas of unconscious intersect with what we think of as ordinary, everyday consciousness. Or another way of looking at it woul be to describe these states of mind as altered states of consciousness, but whether they are consciousness or unconsciousness is not really something I want to debate; I am just interested in the fact that there are these very different ways of perceiving reality that many artist are interested in.

NEED to do a whole separate post on the Dream Machines touring exhibition, have the catalogue - where to start...

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