THE NEXT ART-OF-PEACE BIENNALE 2015-17

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August, 2017 Monthly archive

 

Performance-presentation, ‘Video Breakfasting Together, If You Wish (after Robert Filliou)’ at ‘Learning From The CRUMB Method Over A Cup Of Tea: Reflections On Creating And Exhibiting Digital Arts’ panel, ISEA2013: 19th International Symposium on Electronic Art, Sydney.

As part of a conference panel alongside fellow CRUMB researchers at ISEA 2013 (Learning From The CRUMB Method Over A Cup Of Tea: Reflections On Creating And Exhibiting Digital Arts), I outlined my research in identifying and developing curatorial models of practice after globalisation that articulate the principles of The Eternal Network, created by artists Robert Filliou and George Brecht in 1968, in which the network itself is the artwork. More than solely a means of distribution or medium of production, The Eternal Network became a conceptual context for ‘permanent creation’ [1]. My research explores the attractiveness of networks as decentralized or distributed environments bypassing institutional curatorial spaces. There is often a political as well as aesthetic dimension to the attractiveness of networks-as-artworks. This may now be undermined by a dependence of these networks upon the Internet, argued to be ‘the most material and visible sign of globalisation’ [2].  Lovink [3] observes that the ‘pace [of globalisation] has increased with the advent of new technologies, especially in the area of telecommunications’ and so artists, activists and commercial, corporate players alike have employed online networks in search of their respective ‘utopias’. Lovink elaborates that ‘we need to develop a long-term view on how networked technologies should and should not be embedded in political and cultural practices’ [4].

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I founded The School of Human Activity when developing a workshop for the School of Performance at The Days of Performance Art, Dzyga Art Association, L’viv, Ukraine, 5-7 September, 2013. The School is a temporary, non-institutional gathering of diverse participants exploring relationships between (performance) art, pedagogy and everyday life. Over three days in L’viv we explored relationships between (performance) art and human activity as cultural, political and social practice. The work of the School contributes towards Robert Filliou’s conceptualization of the ‘Art-of-Peace’ (Filliou 1970), as ‘work by artists that deals with the specific problem of making the world a world with peace and harmony.’ (Thompson 2011). This led to the 1985 exhibition ‘Towards an Art-of-Peace Biennale’, a project resumed now as series of collaborative offline/online events entitled ‘The Next Art-of-Peace Biennale 2015-17’. (www.peacebiennale.info). Filliou, author of ‘Teaching and Learning as Performing Arts’ (Filliou 1970b) was also co-creator of the ‘Non-École de Villefranche’ whose motto ‘carefree exchange of information and experience / no student, no teacher / perfect license, at times to talk, at times to listen” (Filliou 1970b) is of central inspiration to this project. The visual identity of the School, disseminated through its stamp, posters and postcard created in an edition of 100, borrowed heavily in its graphic presentation from both Filliou’s stamp establishing the conceptual, ambulant, itinerant institution of the ‘La Galerie légitime’ and the letterhead for the ‘Non-École de Villefranche’.

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Robert Filliou declared that Art was 1,000,000 years old on 17 January 1963, the date of his own 37th birthday. Filliou has been said to suggest that on 17 January 998037 BC, Art was born ‘when someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water.’ A global network of artists and friends have since celebrated Filliou’s vision of undifferentiated ‘art’ and ‘creativity’ annually on this day. Art’s Birthday epitomises the capacity of the The Eternal Network for shared creativity and play, for the celebration of ‘art’ and ‘life’. This global event has also been a context for developments in networked art practice over the last fifty years. Local meetings of artists and friends across The Eternal Network have been connected through forms of conceptual, postal, fax, telecommunication and online art practice. It is then an important opportunity to maintain continuity with practices of the past while developing new creative strategies to our own times globally. Art’s Birthday is significant to this research in providing opportunity to research an unusually long-term annual networked art event involving a wide range of people, practices and media. It is also continues to offer a context for practice-based curatorial experimentation during the research period itself.

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Mail artist H.R. Fricker declared the Decentralised World-Wide Networker Congress would occur wherever and whenever ‘two or more artists/networkers meet in the course of 1992’. He elaborated ‘The Decentralized World-Wide Networker Congress will serve as a meeting point for all kinds of networkers. The meaning of the common role as networkers should be the focus of the discussion.’ (source – TBC) In the end, a reported 500 artists from 25 countries and over 250 events took part in the congress according to this model. To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Fricker’s event five artists’ organisations in Cornwall (UK), Odzaci (Serbia), Ponte Nossa (Italy), La Plata (Argentina), and Roanoke (USA) organised exhibitions/events which were connected one to the other largely through social media.

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