ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: DOG LOVERS SPECIAL

4 May

doge

Dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism. All real! Oh how I wish they weren’t. In this super special edition with added PERFORMANCE ART that will make Marina admit defeat, pack her money bags and retire at last:

Q: Does your promotional material and critical text need to have any relation to or mention of what is actually in the exhibition?

A: Apparently not. Just write about looking at a dog in a sort of vaguely prose poem that reads like some stoned high school kid’s notebook scribbles. Apart from listing the names of the artists and mentioning that it’s an MA degree show, there is no mention whatsoever of what we might see, what’s interesting about it, what media the artists are working in, or why we might want to go. So it’s not just a horrible, pretentious piece of writing, it’s also a complete failure in terms of promotion and as a way of documenting or describing the exhibition for those of us (i.e. 99% of us) who will never see it.

In keeping with the bogus stoner profundity of the text, I made some impromptu, dog-related interpretive performance art that you can also “enjoy” in this video.

They face off in the room. He looks into her eyes and she looks into his. She sees him looking at her looking at him looking at her looking at him looking at her and she feels self-conscious so focuses on the detail. The brown that pretends to be black and the nostril that pretends to be still. She tries not to blink, but it’s hard work. She blinks.

She tries to maintain the kind of eye contact you might have when your eyeballs don’t actually touch. But with or without contact, the in-between-ness remains, even if it is only as membranous liquid or coagulated tears or the crust that separates wet from dry. The space between prevails with an unknown exchange rate. She wonders how long they would have to touch before they would conglomerate…or was the still, stale air of judgment and opinion already mattering between them.

She looks again, imagining a bird’s eye view and a hind sight too. She tries to allow the image to surprise her: tiny hairs and the space behind the ears and the eyelid twitch and the nervous tick.

Is this what an encounter feels like? I try to find words to say but this moment escapes language. Are you, too, intoxicated with life? It all rises viscously around us, like an ocean storm and meaty tiptoes and a packet of midnight howls.

Are we feeling something together? Are we becoming something and then meaning something and then all the magic sensations in our bodily pits…We dance on the threshold of a primal immediacy, and weigh each other against the wild and untamed. A half sunken waltz to an ensemble of smells, crystallizing endlessly between offering and protecting ourselves.

Still I wonder if my vision is stubbornly dogged, or worse, dogmatic. Tell me if I am seeing you or just an actor performing the real you.

What does he stand for? What have I made him stand for? He sits but his size is not reduced…broad shoulders and square jaw.

I want to sing to him but he stands. And lifts a leg. In lieu of mine, he is suddenly estranged from this romantic fiction. He flees with his fleas and his nervous tick too. A diagonal escape into his own self-referential future, going blind, making me invisible as he madly gnaws at his own tale.

His trace is brutal, and yet the space has shifted. And in the end, making art and meeting a dog can be much the same thing.

ThisIsDog

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2 Responses to “ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: DOG LOVERS SPECIAL”

  1. Alistair 21/05/2015 at 2:59 PM #

    Reblogged this on Alistair Gentry.

  2. Alistair 31/05/2015 at 1:17 PM #

    Quite apart from being horrible prose throughout, this text also makes the high school error of mixing up tick and tic. A tick is (1) the written symbol of something being correct, or (2) a parasitic, bloodsucking arachnid. A tic (as in “the eyelid twitch and the nervous tick”, [sic]) is an involuntary muscle contraction.

    It’s a particularly egregious error given that the writer was obviously very happy about juxtaposing flees and fleas, but then confusingly (and accidentally) presents us with the image of a slightly different type of bloodsucking parasite suffering from anxiety.

    This is not just grammar nazi pedantry. Getting tic/tick wrong fudges the clarity and meaning of the writing. When the subject is a dog and fleas have already been mentioned, getting tick/tic wrong leads to a kind of semiotic diarrhoea; this writer is not in control of their message so it’s all just gushing out. Regardless of whether the writing is factual or poetic, a confused reader forced to stop and untangle your garbled syntax or imagery is a reader who is not paying attention to your message. Although this particular text has no discernable message anyway.

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