This discussive performance piece documents the arguments and discussion surrounding the work of art itself. It moves from cafe to cafe arranging in different formations of number and people, but centrally revolves around the critique of the artwork.
Many issues arose from the discussion: The use of a grid to determine where to eat was seen to be not all-controlling enough. Many other variables where mentioned to be put into practice during the meal and meeting.
The question of audience was also a vital strand amongst the research. Who was the audience? Was it the people involved in the discussion, or was it the outsiders of the group who may be happening to listen in.
The choice of candidates we were eating with all had a grounding in arts practice being mainly students of the subject itself, although this may have been beneficial to the conversation as we all had a basic knowledge of the topic, and could understand the questions.
It all boiled down really to the relationships you can establish whilst eating and what kind of discussion can arise out of it.
The conversation that was put forward to the diners was the questioning of the artwork. They were asked to discuss and delve into the makings of the artwork and think of ways in which it could be improved or where the work was.
I took the chairman position of the table, asking questions to encourage the conversation to grow and develop into a formal critique of what was happening and of themselves.
It was decided that it was art in the end but mainly due to two separate dogmas that I dislike. The first was that I was an artist so therefore made art. This questions everything else do. For an example, I do not find this blog a piece of art yet I am still creating it word by word, forming words together like they were brush strokes on a canvas. I am no literary genius either. The second, is the idea that if you make something that is intended to be art then it is. This makes it very difficult to decide if a work of art is a piece of art without knowledge from the artist. It also means that anyone can present anything as art, which I feel is too broad a selection of objects and ideas. In other words having the possibility of intending to make anything art ruins the exclusivity in material and in concept to other genres of anything, including culture, political views, scientific theorums, teaching methods etc etc.
Sorry, I feel I’m using this as a ranting space but are we any more creative than other professions? Maybe we have just given ourselves such an unlimited medium to create things in that it is hard to not think we are more ingenious than others. The idea of the artistic enlightenment being so sought after and important to society isn’t really true. I’m not saying that art can’t benefit people but can what is expressed through art not be shown through different media, or simplified to the .. right okay this needs more thought but I’m still not convinced that as artists we have more of an insight to the universe than anyone else.
So basically this performance questioned notions of the artist as an insightful person who can see everything. If you listen to the recordings (which I’m not posting here due to the length of them) my arguments are not concise or strong enough to be of “artist” merit. It belittled the power of the artist and made the people involved in the discussion have a lot to say. This was not really the intention but I liked it yeah I did.
One other thing that came out of the experience was the meeting was interrupted by incoming food, toilet breaks, waitresses taking orders and paying. Also the concentration of people on their food was taken into account.
SO from this I would like to head to a new role as the artist, questioning further the artist’s role in any performance. And also look at table manners, the generosity of giving food, recipes, and foods relationship to relational aesthetics, as in the work of Rirkrit Tirivanija.
The Grid and instructions for the system:
- Start at square (0,0), origin square
- Find the closest restaurant or cafe in that square or near to it
- Discuss the possibility that what you are doing could be art
- Buy food from menu
- Collect receipt
- The price you paid at the restaurant/cafe is the coordinates for the next destination ie. £5.20 = coordinates (05,20). Pounds are representative of the y-axis whilst the pence is indicative of the x-axis
- repeat the process