Newcall Gallery

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

25-03-08 | Episodes from an online conversation, Martyn Reynolds and Marnie Slater

Martyn Reynolds and Marnie Slater

Episodes from an online conversation 25 March 2008

Marnie Slater: … I was listening to a pod-cast of a lecture Jacques Ranciere gave about art, politics and popularity, and he began by defining his idea of politics as what we can say about what we see that is shared, and that aesthetics is what frames this shared given.

Martyn Reynolds: I think that is an excellent way of expressing what I was struggling to in the talk last Thursday [at Enjoy Gallery, Wellington], in terms of my use of the notion of politics.

Marnie: Ranciere talked about art as a potential re-distribution of the aesthetics of politics, which I think is a tad problematic because it assumes that art suspends power.

I'm not sure that I understand art or aesthetics having such a direct relationship with a concrete notion of politics.

Does the assertion that 'aesthetics is what frames the shared given' assume a shared experience maybe? I would suggest that these things have much more to do with an interaction of things that are at odds.

Marnie: I think it is claiming a level of shared experience, like a language, or a commonality. But he was very careful to acknowledge that the network of politics is one of power.

I wonder if there is no political discourse necessary if experience is shared, but maybe I’m missing the point.

If I could bring it back to the work, I would consider how this may operate in your intended work for the exhibition, in the sense that the tension between a desire for a shared experience and the apparent distance that this reveals is the reality of our situation.

Marnie: I think that there is something worth pausing on in that process of tension. Could that be something that both of our works do? I don't mean to strive overly for common ground, but is there a kind of arrest we are interested in? Like when Fiona Connor talks about freezing architecture or objects through a process of replication.

Like the art experience has a great potential for slowing things down.

Marnie: But what can it slow down?

Perhaps it slows down our assumed relationships with things. I mean that when something is known we relate to it in an almost instantaneous way, unless we are children. But if something has been altered then we are forced to generate new associations, and therefore our absorbing it as a part of our experience has a potential to be spaced out differently.

Marnie: I have always had in the back of my mind some really big questions about how ‘art’ and ‘life’ mingle in the exhibiting of objects and the engaging of architecture. Mostly I decide that those kinds of questions fail to acknowledge the specific and the particular.

Do you mean that to seek an intermingling of art and life is a utopian desire? I suppose it is mostly for this that Beuys is derided.

Well, perhaps the seeking not so much, but perhaps the presumption that it is possible… or actually that those lines exist at all might be the problem!

Such as how in a pragmatic way, art always exists within life.

Marnie: Enjoy is a good space like that, i.e. the wall of windows, particularly in relation to your recent solo project.

I guess that art’s existence within life is a simple point which relational practices have gone to some lengths to elucidate.

Marnie: Yeah. I think for this project we are posing works that let you sneak in unannounced and leave like nothing happened.

Nick Austin speaks eloquently about art viewing being a solitary experience and excellent for that reason. Judy Millar’s recent interview in Art New Zealand also touches on this.

Marnie: I was reading a text about Daniel Buren and the writer was talking about how the museum as public space addresses you as a singular agent, unlike the potential for the ‘mass’ in urban public space.

Martyn: I think the gallery is a public space as equally as a square, or mall. We negotiate each place with the same experience of community and isolation I think…