Tag Archives: Albert M Fine

archive sohm – stuttgart

In November 2003, Jane and I went to Stuttgart and look at the Archive Sohm (which was bloody amazing)…
Dr Sohm was a dentist who tended to the teeth of many of the Fluxus/Happenings/Vienna Aktionists artists. There are letters to him from George Maciunas, for example, begging him to accept a bunch of flux objects in exchange for 1000 US dollars so he can look after the health of his mother (I hope i have that story right). Or maybe it was so that George himself could pay his medical costs after he was beaten by thugs who broke into his house (he was having problems with the city authorities). Anyway, Sohm always accepted these objects and sent the money. He now has the largest collection of Fluxus stuff in the world. He died a few years ago.
[If anyone intends to visit the archive in Stuttgart, I recommend calling to arrange an appointment a few weeks in advance. We emailed but got no reply, and just showed up. Luckily they accomodated us, but we were told to book ahead next time.]
My interest in fluxus was ignited when I went to Adelaide’s Experimental Art Foundation in 2002, looking through their fab fab artist book archive. I think that the old Irish fella Noel Sheridon who helped to set up the EAF must have collected it, either him or Donald Brook.
In the EAF I found a beautiful flux-event-score by Albert M Fine called Piece for Fluxorchestra, and I conducted its “re-enactment” in the small cinema attatched to the Mercury, the Iris Cinema. I became fascinated with the legacy they had left, which was – very little tangible documentation of actual events, but indeed the recipes for the events themselves, which you, I, anyone, could recreate – thus experiencing DIRECTLY the “original” work for ourselves! This is why I was so interested to embark on the expanded cinema stuff.
…and also why i was excited to find out about the Carolee Schneeman
re-performance, and indeed all the Whitechapel Gallery
pieces I looked at and wrote about on my blog.

Nicolas Bourriaud

wow have just started reading a conversation with nicholas bourriaud and karen moss… here’s an extract:

NB: Avant gardes were about utopias. How is it possible to transform the world from scratch and rebuild a society which would be totally different. I think that is totally impossible and what artists are trying to do now is to create micro-utopias, neighborhood utopias, like talking to your neighbor, just what’s happening when you shake hands with somebody. This is all super political when you think about it. That’s micro-politics.

Stretcher: It’s very demanding of the artist.

NB: What’s an artwork? Any artwork materializes a relation to the world; if you see a Vermeer or a Mondrian, it’s concretized, materialized, visible in relation to the world that they had. You can decode and interpret for yourself and use it for your own life. Or for your work if you’re an artist. It’s a chain of relations. History of art is about that — a chain of relations to the world. So, any artwork is a relation to the world made visible.

Stretcher: About this new relationship between the artist and their audience, Christine Hill, one of the artists in TOUCH, said the other night. “I really wanted to be there to hear what my audience had to say.” I know so many artists who are working in their studios who feel that after they put their work out there they’re completely removed from it. They never hear anything back. It’s as if you throw it into the void ….

KM: It’s true for curators as well. You do have a certain voyeuristic opportunity when you are in a space and you can watch spectators viewing the work, or you receive response back if there’s a publication. But often you don’t get feedback. That’s why having the artist present [Ed. note: three of the artists in TOUCH spent time in the gallery as part of their work] is so intriguing. It’s not an artist shipping a work, you have people actually here. This was also true with some other exhibitions I’ve personally been involved with like In the Spirit of Fluxus at the Walker. Or the John Cage exhibition at MOCA in LA. The live action becomes really important to the beginning of the exhibition. It is also interesting how few of the artists in this exhibition are involved with technology. While their work may somehow comment on the technological, they are not much involved with technology, which is refreshing.

…so interesting, its amazing to find people who think in the same ways…what he is saying about technology, about Post-Production, is so what i am into at the moment.

Last year at the EAF, among other activities, I dug up an old score for a performance by Albert M Fine called “Piece for Fluxorchestra”. Each participant (there are 24) has a card with his/her score, a set of numbers from 1 to 15 down the left hand side of the card. these numbers refer to the passing of minutes. maybe on your card there is nothing listed until minute 4, when you have to stand up, declare loudly “i cant take it any more!” and storm out of the room. and so on. there is plenty of muttering, balloon popping, theorising and local referencing. nobody in the room knows anything about what anybody else has to do. each just takes care of his/her own role. in sum, the piece is like a big, rambunctious orchestra of chaos. hilarious. he wrote it in 1967.

the next “re-contextualisations” i am thinking of doing are from “expanded cinema”, a “movement” from early 1970s in london (and vienna too), where filmmakers began to think about the ways that their pieces were presented in space, not just experimenting with the content of the film. there were cool things like billows of smoke in the cinema to illuminate the cone of light, physical presence of performers, spaces set up in a particular way. kind of a pre-decessor of video-installation stuff., but hardly anyone knows of it. hopefully later in the year i will get to london to do some reseach, then bring a programme of this stuff out here mid next year, also to perth (peter mudie obviously very supportive). the important thing for me is that the films come with sets of instructions about how to “re-stage” them, specific, but always relying on the local resources and enthusiasts to bring it off…there is stuff in this project to do with technology, sure, and its partly about going back to that obselete tech and checking out how you dont need all this whizz bang digital shit, in fact, much of what is happening today is a kinda techno-fetishism,,,the “relational” part of “relational aesthetics” is fairly impoverished…