Provocation 2: materials or materiality?(alive or dead)
The aim of this lecture was to investigate how we are entangled amongst non-human material and ecological worlds and temporalities.
The first topic of the lecture was the idea that if the containment of a material breaks, the wildness comes alive, for example in its wild state paint is a watery liquid but once placed in a container it becomes domesticated, if the pot is spilt then the paints wildness is revealed. Tim Ingold argues that material things are not solid, they are processes that are defined by the fact that they can’t always be controlled. There real agency lies precisely in the fact that ‘they cannot always be captured and contained.’ (Tim Ingold, 2010. p.8)
Part 2: From object to thing
The word ‘object’ comes with baggage because it removes the items association with other things in the world. The world is not cut up into sections, therefore the idea of ‘objects’ and ‘things’ as being separate is a fallacy. Language and semantics cuts the world up and alters out visual perception. This is known as a Fait Accompli; something which is presented as finished and taken out of its processes of life.
What do there Anthropological ideas do for our practices? How can we use them?
In his paper ‘bringing things to life’ Ingold says that “the real house is a gathering of lives” meaning that the art gallery is an ‘eco-system’ of interacting art works. Paintings and installations should not be looked at as ‘islands’ on the gallery wall, but are in fact interconnected. For example Adam Linder’s Some strands of support’ is a performance reacting to the statue of Apollo Sauroktonos in the Tate Liverpool. “Our most fundamental architectural experiences…consist not of encounters…but of acts of approaching and entering.” (p.5) meaning that the at gallery is experienced as a ‘thing’ with deep connections and interactions.
Ingold also comments that “the real house is never finished…rainwater drips through the roof…feeding a fungal growth that threatens to decompose the timbers.” This raises the question of whether art works should be preserved or if they should be left open to change from the elements, preserving them may or may not be what the artist wanted. Keeping artworks in a preserved state seems to be part of human nature’s need to maintain; like the co-dependency between a dry stone wall and the need for its maker to maintain the wall’s state. However taking a painting out of the context of the gallery can alter its meaning; even the gallery space itself protects and preserves paintings, this is why paintings are shown in galleries and not within non-anthropocentric ecologies. If paintings were to be shown in woodland for example, they would have a different context and the meaning would change. In first year constellation with Jon Clarkson we were shown an artwork consisting of an unbroken painted line running from inside an abandoned building to the outer wall on the street. The line on the inside of the building was preserved but the outside weathered. There is room for painting to re-contextualize itself outside of the gallery space. The theory of the gallery being restrictive becomes impractical quite quickly, if all works of art were positioned outdoors, in public spaces it would become difficult to account for them all. The Yorkshire Sculpture Park works along these principals but art works that are fragile are still housed within a white cube space. Most artists would want there works to be preserved unless the purpose of the piece is for it to decay. No one would be paid for the upkeep of artworks and it would become difficult for the majority of people to access if they were kept outdoors.