Jul 12, 2006

Conversation with Daedalus

Conversation between Daedalus and Daniel Pryde-Jarman, Fri 30th June

You reacted to the invitation to submit work on the theme of an ‘Extenuating Circumstance’ with a piece that involved creating an artwork in front of a live audience at the show’s Private View. Do you consider yourself to be a performance artist?

I am not a performer, but my work is performative. I am interested in the error and chance inherent in a performative framework, whereby that frame can become distorted and how that may affect purpose and the practical completion of a work. The image that I made on the wall of the gallery required that I map out a grid, but error altered this grid during the work. A square of the grid could be missed or a line slanted, and that requires that I adapt. The image that I made was not intended to overlap, but it did, and that was ok because it was relevant to the physical process of this specific work. Unintentional things may occur but I decide what to alter and what to pursue.

You didn’t speak to anybody during the act of making the work, even though guests spoke to you out of curiosity. Is this because you didn’t want to compromise what seemed to be a performative ritual?

Yeah, it didn’t seem relevant to talk or communicate with anybody as I was doing something else. It required a concentration and a removal of everything that was irrelevant to the task at hand. There are things that I cannot control, particularly with live art, but I can choose whether I actively invite distractions or not. For that piece everything that did not involve sticking pieces of code to the wall to create an image was unimportant. I am fascinated by the purposes of ritualism, and how cultural rituals have become emptied by industry. Like how traditional Native American performances have become drained of meaning in their original sense and consumer-altered for the tourist industry.

You came back to the gallery to continue working on the image left behind after the Private View. To what extent was this return to the piece equivalent to your prior process? Was it comparable, or removed like a kind of tourism?

I actually don’t think that the image left in the gallery was an artwork in the show. The performative act of putting it together may have been, but the image was not complete. I returned to finish the grid of paper squares. This was not equivalent to art, but a practical task with a definitive objective. There are monument heads on Easter Island that were not finished. They were not left to be effective when compared to the other completed heads. They were simply not completed. I halted the creative act after 2 hours, and came back to complete the image purely out of curiosity. I wanted to see what it would look like.

You saw it fitting to leave the work after 2 hours because this was the original remit of the work’s design, but can you imagine a point at which it would have been unacceptable to leave the work? Is completing an image like this in a given time an accomplishment or an arbitrary occurrence?

I think it is acceptable to leave a performative process after its planned duration, whether or not the act or image being made is as complete as intended. My guesstimate of what was possible in that period was informed by past works and assumptions made about parameters that surround the work. All of which can be seen as extenuating circumstances.

The ephemeral nature of the materials you use such as torn squares of paper, further add to the play between your laborious work ethic and the worth of the object left in the gallery, which has the dichotomy of being seemingly monumentalized and transient. Perhaps what was left in the gallery was a vestige of your act?

My work makes apparent its process and materials, and I am interested in the boundaries of what is showable, or what may be considered ‘hidden’ in ritualism and the time I take.

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