Co-existing with the Formative (2)

Draft 2 February 5th 2018

gordondouglas.wordpress.com is the blog I actively published writing, video, image and sound on from September 2008 – March 2012. It formed a major part of my thought-process and public outlet during my years at Edinburgh’s Telford College (now Edinburgh College), and the first half of my time at Glasgow School of Art. It also briefly covered my exchange semester at CalArts, but at this point I was losing sight of the merits of publishing an outlet of practice online and was posting less. I still don’t really know why this blog was so important to that development, and what it’s neglect signified in the understanding of my work and its relationship to publics. Co-existing with the Formative is a written attempt to share space with the distracted, experimental and somewhat naive archive of thoughts from formative years.

Around the time I stopped using the blog, I produced a performance work where I slept in House for an Art Lover, a Mackintosh heritage project in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow. The piece, formerly known as Z, was the outcome of a relationship to administrative staff who had, through staffing shortages and organisational ambitions, been delegated the responsibility of arts programming. Through four months of silent emails between the organisation and my student e-mail account, my ambitions for the project were chipped away. Eventually a work that was originally planned to manifest a profound dream whilst sleeping under the plastic of an informative museological panel, was distilled into the work, Z. 

The video above features thirty seconds of footage lifted from the five-hour document from the performance. It shares the moment where the CEO of the organisation forgets that I am sleeping in the room, and wanders in to survey the space. He doesn’t appear to see me at first. Then off camera we can assume he has a sudden encounter with the work, he hastens from the room, switches off lights, and draws the door behind him.

seems now, in retrospect, like the beginning of a real groove in my work that limited live audience numbers and instead, looked towards distant publics whose knowledge of works came through informal modes of communication extending beyond the live event or action (1). The work, formerly known as Z, seems like the optimum point from which to actively unpick a moment where my work followed a logic that merited itself outside of public appearance. Draft 2 intends to finally publish Z, currently known as I don’t think it has a name now (2012-2018), as the most recent (and final) addition to the blog’s chronological timeline of thought. 

 

(1)In Every Drop, a Memory, an Instruction (Platform, 2013), where two separate audiences built a picture of the work together by comparing their experiences in two separate rooms; The Garden is Our Wall (Intermedia, 2014-15), where information was selectively distributed to the collaborators, funders and supporting bodies in the project, who became audience members to my performance as an interface; and A Social Report (The NewBridge Project 2016), an attempt at criticism of and for The NewBridge Project, saved as a 3MB pdf document and distributed to studio holders and associate members through the organisation’s administrative systems.

 

Draft 1 August 26th 2016

gordondouglas.wordpress.com is the blog I actively published writing, video, image and sound on from September 2008 – March 2012. It formed a major part of my thought-process and public outlet during my years at Edinburgh’s Telford College (now Edinburgh College), and the first half of my time at Glasgow School of Art. It also briefly covered my exchange semester at CalArts, but at this point I was losing sight of the merits of publishing an outlet of practice online and was posting less. I still don’t really know why this blog was so important to that development, and what it’s neglect meant in relationship to my understanding of my work and a public. I’m interested in mining this resource and publishing interviews, podcasts, analyses and documentation over the period of the project Habits of the Coexistent, in partnership with Edinburgh College and Platform, Easterhouse.

As part of the work I will be doing with Edinburgh College, I will be looking into the labours I am unaware I’m performing as an alumni of the HND Contemporary Art Practice course. Thinking through the moment of alumni as the point when friends and collaborators, unbound from a project or institutional container, begin to neglect their performed connections to one another. Negligence will be key to this research. I will actively seek the labours that we do not necessarily choose to exert, but are located in behaviours, mannerisms and habits that we inherit from commitment and submission to collaborative identities.

This blog will actively be weighted down by my formative years, and the educational platform that the original blog served, whilst performing an outlet for me to understand this research in a public and open manner. Over this time I will be in residence with Edinburgh College as part of their AiRETC programme, as well as continuing close discussion with Platform around the organisational model of their building ‘The Bridge’. Some key texts I will be looking at are Chus Martinez’s The Octopus in Love, Jacques Derrida’s The Politics of Friendship, John Boswell’s The Kindness of Strangers, Eve Sedgwick’s Between Men, and Friedrich Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality.

Coexisting with the (per)Formative. Living together with the (per)forming of the self.

 

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Author: gordondouglas

Performance artist and curator based in Glasgow, Scotland.

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