I am not finding it easy to identify and organise the contextual influences for this first assignment. Mainly so because I didn’t explicitly seek out new sources, artists, works but in some sense went back to earlier encountered art practices and traced these back into the work.
There is a first one, obvious one when I encountered the gap between the two filing cabinets: it’s Gordon Matta Clark‘s architectural, sculptural practice of re-organising (mainly: by removing, cutting, taking away) various empty, disused buildings (often: constructed for habitation). The one piece that strongly resonates is the 1974 Splitting. I write about it in this post here.
I discuss with my course colleague both Matta Clark as well as Francesca Woodman and both their interest of actively transforming into absence, nothing, (Woodman through long exposure photography, where her own body is being absented within the frame).
When I turn towards the production of the prints on photocopy paper and assembling them, there is Noemie Goudal‘s installation work that is a direct influence, which I pick up again after having encountered Goudal early on in Digital Image and Culture (DIC). Les Amants was an early series Goudal produced (I think as her degree show): it is documents here.
At a different scale there sits Alexandra Leykauf’s Spanische Wand which works with spatial illusions by presenting a photograph on a card which folds into space. I had written about her too during DIC.
— Besides these visual works, I hear a reading by Mira Mattar of her recent short story Soft Close [available through this link here], and realise how her writing and my own writing resonate in their concerns of spatial construction, inhabitation, the boundaries that exists between and within indoor and outdoor spaces and a notion of secrecy. It seems a bit far fetched at the moment, but I want to include this as a contextual reference too. My FB note about it reads:
she read it out, only half of it, until the ‘we begin’. i almost perish in anticipation on how it will end, that story of suburbian summer space, teenage desire remembered, anticipation and a locked bathroom door.
b. afterwards looks at me expectantly, did you like it? it reminds me of your stuff.
i did like, a lot. liked the revisioned drafts, the two accompanying texts, and above all being left hanging.
now i took my notes, read the remaining part and still wonder why i thought part of the story was based in Beirut.
During the same event, the Artist Moving Image Festival, where Mira reads, I watch Jacquie Duckworth’ Home-made melodrama (1982, 55mins, 16mm) as well as b.u.c.k.l.e. by Catherine Gund and Julie Tolentino (1994, 11mins, VHS).
— both of the moving image works are highly performative, situated in indoor spaces and in varying degrees educational or didactic while at the same time serious about their protagonists’ desire and the exploration of these.
Duckworth’s film is almost absent from the internet, amif reproduced one of its stills (in b&w while the film is in colour), but it captures well the domestic claustrophobia in which the whole film is situated. And so is b.u.c.k.l.e., but there is a short reference here. The full programme for amif has a little bit more in terms of context and visuals too, here.
[this is experimental to include in here, it’s a working note but I don’t want to lose it]