[-empyre-] curating the faith that can move mountains

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Thu Apr 12 01:57:31 EST 2012

Ana, you have the best stories!

I am delighted to hear that Jaar's "The Lament of the Images" has been collected into a safe vault
in Salt Lake City! This must be a good investment. 

Pedro,  interesting story you tell, as well.
The "reading" of the text always happens, of course, and then again, i wondered how the readings are
constructed (apart from the receptions that always take place by people coming and hearing seeing tasting
and smelling the obects or the performances or the event) by whom and for whom and through what
channels and when do such texts become "directed" at reception and collection?  All museum catalogues are curated, and directed at reception. 

You mention "Espai de l'Intent"  and Alys, and my story then would be a reminiscence, something i had felt troubled by
(possibly sharing the beforementioned Robert Smithson's scepticism). 

I remember coming across conceptual artistic gestures that I find hugely poetic, but also immensely futile. 
Francis Alÿs’s "Cuando la fe mueve montaña" [When faith moves mountains] is one of these futile gestures, enacted on 11 April 2002 
by five hundred volunteers forming a single line across a sand dune on the outskirts of Lima, Peru.  
As the day was progressing they worked to move the sand just one shovel forward across the entire dune. 
The gesture was filmed and photographed, and later exhibited at a biennial.  
The seemingly meaningless earthwork was then “read” into the context of the city’s recent history and socio-economic situation [which i do not
know] and is said to have created an urban legend that is still performing work today [which i cannot ascertain]. 

But it didn’t change the rules of the game, how could it?

The work also did not exist, well, it only existed through and for its photographs, film, and "oral legend" or narrativization  (in good earth-work style), the latter partly probably constructed
by the artist himself (or his curators and agents).

I attach a photo I had saved when i first came across "Cuando la fe mueve montaña"
and it is befitting the catholic easter holidays, wouldn't you think? 

no one has mentioned the role of religion and the spiritual yet, in connection with curating, so the Church, powerful patron and curator of the arts, is forgotten?
faith forgotten?

But faith does move mountains. 

Ah, and Pedro, you said something charming in regard to literature and dance: 

 interesting what you say about writing -- i actually feel that literature, like anarchism, is still largely unexplored : a narrative can organise a universe and only dancers can compare in the minimal equipment required

i'd like to probe into the anarchist side, with you,  but i can tell you when you come to my dance performances, we need
a long time to set up our laptops, projectors, sensors, cameras, and prepare the system design for an interactive piece....... no minimalism anymore i am afraid.


Johannes Birringer

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