[-empyre-] the paradox between control and losing control - isaac mao

Melinda Rackham melinda.rackham at rmit.edu.au
Tue Nov 23 18:21:25 EST 2010

Robin and all hi,

I'm interested in talking more about labour relations and the post
studio practitioners. Artists move to China/HK to work as it makes for
easy access to fabrication and electronics. I recall squealing with
delight when someone sent me pic of the Prêt-à-Porter electronics shop
they were in. And it puts the Spectacle art we see from China and other
countries in the Biennial trail sort of exoticised no brainers...  eg
the 17th Biennale of Sydney showed Cai Guo-Qiang’s ‘Inopportune: Stage
One’ ( suspended cars in an animated sequence of explosion).

The previous Biennale had a french artist  filling the inside Sydney
Opera house concert hall with a real misty humid forrest, and had a car
being slowly crushed by a huge rock out front. Maybe we can generalize
to say Mad Max films have penetrated our cultural proclivities - so
australians like seeing simulated crashed cars...
The idea of (intimate?) nuanced intellectually engaging work is
alluring.. and for clarity i useually use the term "emerging practices"
or "emerging artforms" to cover a wealth and breath of mediated, 
distributed and constructed concepts environments and objects eg the
parallel conceptual and material merging of media art and diy
traditional craft practices. Could you post an example of the sort of
emerging practices you are speaking of?

I iwas speaking today of the sort of aesthetic judgements curators make
at a research event today at RMITspecifically refering to the cntent of
the Dreamworlds exhibition i curated for Sanlitun in Beijing. - Most
curators work across a range of mediums and levels of engagement so as
to speak to a diverse audience on many levels, and i think its almost
obligatory to include works that may not be aligned to my personal
taste, but that form a crucial example of a larger whole or thematic. My
concept of what curation is, is to engage in a dialogue with viewers and
participants; to create affective experiences, to explore visual and
corporeal polarities and to illustrate a middle ground. 

Stephi suggested that we fetishize and commodify dissidenence - i assume
in relation to Ai WeiWe - an important observation that no one touched.
and you are  suggesting that specific curators fetishize and comodify
work creating a cultural hegemony that looks like new media, without
actually engaging/observing with the underlying and grounding principles
that the practices have grown from. 

Which i think brings me back to the authentic nature of art? Is it only
the unique bringing into being of the unimaginable that can be art, and
is everything else a fake/copy? Can Casey Reas and Ben Fry be the only
people who ever use processing authentically?

 And i tend to agree with you however find myself in a conundrum.. The
digital era was supposed to break us away from the worship of the
discreet object, and i simultaneously find myself yearning for the
uniquely crafted object?

best wishes


Melinda Rackham

Melinda Rackham
Adjunct Professor
School of Media and Communications
RMIT University

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