4 thoughts on “diagram of artist/work/audience relationship for PTSL (after stephen willats)

  1. multimodalme

    the idea of constant feedback, albeit unconscious or conscious, can be diluting for a concept? Not necessarily a positive or negative thing, but sometimes daunting

    1. bonicairncross Post author

      “the idea of constant feedback, albeit unconscious or conscious, can be diluting for a concept? Not necessarily a positive or negative thing, but sometimes daunting”

      I was thinking more about the differences in relationship that the artist and audience both have to the work of art, including live performance or real-time documentation. So performance art tends to argue that the live encounter brings artist and audience together in a present space and therefore in direct dialogue with each other, a position that I’ve been critical of. Specifically in relation to Performing the Situated Line, I’ve been asking a series of questions about this relationship.

      What was the audience’s relationship to the public performance that generated a form of real-time documentation?

      I undertook an individual process and therefore underwent a very different form of experience than the live audience to the gallery during that time. I don’t have accessibility to their experience and vice versa. The central role of the performance as to produce the real-time documentation – was it necessary to produce it publicly?

      Instead the object became the mediator between these two forms of experience. Most of the time this one-sided – either me attempting to communicate my experience of the situation to the live audience, or me attempting to communicate my experience to the future audience (as in the cases where I was alone in the gallery, or no one was paying any attention to my writing).

      There were a few exceptions to this –
      Annie, a gallery volunteer, wrote a two page response to the task that explored her perception of the work as well as a mini experiment of performing it herself.
      Emma, who spent most of the opening reading each new page. This developed into an actual interaction where Emma and I were conversing in a slow, drawn out way – partly documented on the pages.
      Along with a few other interactions where the audience directly engaged in conversation, or with the task, such as Louise asking a rapid-fire stream of questions (must of which aren’t recorded in the document), or the other exhibiting artists asking questions that needed direct responses too.

      The document has recently been exhibited as an art object/form of real-time documentation. Its the first time I’ve exhibited real-time documentation without a live iteration. Whilst I’ve manly been working in cyclical live/mediated formats, this was a one-off performance. So part of what the diagram is trying to articulate is the relationship this new audience has to the artwork.

      Its also a point we’ve I’ve started to think about who the audience actually is. Arguably, the audience is an ever changing presence they may never have contact with my(the artists) work again – what is the affect/effect? Is the artwork, such as process-based work, primarily for the artist? Is it diluting for the concept? Shouldn’t each iteration of the work hold its own so that isn’t the case? Does an audience want to critically engage with the premise of the work, or is it too dry, too academic, too boring?

      Perhaps, through questioning the relationship between artist/audience, I’m questioning the role of art and trying to find my own position on this.

  2. bonicairncross Post author

    And so to fold Ed’s comment back in – yes the diagrams probably at the core of my aesthetic (aesthetic, process or both?). My recent work seems to be engaged in a series of questions – answering questions with new questions. Recently I’ve just been thinking that my practice is entirely built around a constant shifting of problematics with no real end-game in sight. My state of anxiety about this is perhaps produced from a thought that I should have a end goal, a core reason for doing anything (because everyone keeps asking me why I want to do things… a pretty important when considering the audience’s experience).

    The diagrams are important because they attempt to articulate and hypothesis the problematics in a condensed and visual way (rather than a massive chunk of writing, or list of questions which is the more general way I work through things)

    The public presentations are necessary, as they facilitate and move through the problematics within form (people and experience are the mediums). The works are tests. experiments. propositions.

    So they compliment each other really. There still isn’t really an end-game though. Does the audience need one?


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