WHEN ALL THINGS EVAPORATE WE'LL TALK ABOUT MINERALS


Written by DENISE CARVALHO



The Psychic Life of Minerals


Minerals are always in a state of transformation. They are fossilized matter that was once under the sea, resulting from the destruction of vegetal, human, and animal material, consolidated through millions or billions of years in a process of constant decay. Rocks and shells are compounds of unreadable inscriptions and mimetic chaos, yet scientific analysis may trace their geological information as a basis for predictions and archaeological codas. Thus, outside this system, the millennial inscription of minerals is meaningless. Its knowledge is about lengthy stratifications and microscopic destructions that act in the present, propelled to envelope time and matter, embracing without nurture, turning captive without captivating. The knowledge of minerals pre-exists human language ad infinitum, but in its infancy the exodus of humanity mirrored its own biological strata in the processes of the land, their laws of condensation and waste, compactness and induration. The echo of minerals in the human psyche is this making and unmaking, forming and unraveling, searching for beginnings, but continuously perishing. The law of decay predetermines the law of consolidation, as it sustains thresholds states, to enable openness and contingency. The echo of minerals constitutes the flute that is made with bamboo or bone or the cello made of spruce, maple, poplar or willow. The music that these instruments play, which resonates within the archaeology of sound of the natural elements (rain, thunder, wind, the waves and tides of the ocean, the sound of fire), is here transformed by the silent gesture. Equally transformed is the condensation of the elements—the chemical process needed for the formation of new rocks and operative aspects of the instruments’ materials. Memory, a negative process rooted in the past and in its projection into the future, links these other negatives: the silence of gestures and the emptiness of matter. Like minerals, memory is always in a state of precariousness. Except in its automated form, as an appendage of the machine, memory is revived by momentum, by the imaginary. As the performer’s fingers replay the musical sequence, he/she enacts a temporary intensity, changing the strata of the archive into an automated coda: the beginning of a new intensity, the tune without a tune. This is what happens when silence is played. Silence, another negative matter, preserves momentum while becoming a threshold to something yet unknown. Silence does not predict, it empties expectation, swallows desire. The silence of what is known is stronger than its expression. And the porous materiality of emptiness is the silence’s momentum.  


Rocks don’t feel dislocation. In their displacement and disintegration, they don’t reminisce in nostalgia or feel longing, they are not afraid to let go. But human land is created in memory, inherited from generation to generation, established as hierarchies, felt in the guts of its people who fought for it, died and killed for it. The land represents the possibility of being remembered. The amalgamation of humanity in the land created the myth of continuity, but the land itself never ceases to dissolve into dust, into sand, into water, decaying, dying, and reappearing in a different place. Stones, on the other hand, embrace oblivion, fully, lost in the boundary, becoming the boundary that erases itself.  But humans need solid ground. The idea of solid ground is more important than the land itself, which is in a persistent state of disintegration through its cracks and thresholds. Like the land, the human skin is also porous, but the body’s appearance as a whole gives a sense of security, of permanence. Like the land, the body is also continually perishing. There is no such thing as a whole body or a solid ground. Even silence and matter are not whole. They are also constituted by the nature of elements and their relationships as they become content and expression, form and action. The architectonics of nature is always temporary, whether it is made from millions of years of geological crystallization or from the gap of time in the disappearance of a species. Whether the polarization is heterogeneous or homogeneous, its natural elements follow certain rhythms, determined internally or externally, or both. All depends on the degree of accumulation and segregation, on the properties (temperature, density, mass, volume, etc.), and the functional complementarities impacting them. Both these natural rhythms and their expressive gestures become part of a quasi-random endurance process. Its quasi-random quality is due to the internal/external forces affecting the process in time and space. Yet, chance, unpredictability, is inevitable. It is the unpredictable that greatly affects the potential outcome. Losing a home or a land can be projected into the future, as decay or illness anticipates disintegration or death, but the exact moment of death can seldom be predicted. The return of something that once existed is also impossible. Nothing can be returned or preserved permanently.


In the psychic life of minerals, the preservation of materiality is trivial and redundant. Contrastingly, truth resonates. When something is truthful its momentum briefly echoes into idea-matter, an idea that materializes out of nothing. The moment of completion of an art piece feels truthful. No longer owned by anyone, the artwork shares the rhythms of who witnesses it and of its surroundings. It becomes the amalgamated rock, rolling down the hills, decaying into dust, subsumed by water, perishing now to be consolidated again in a different place and time. The truth of an artwork is silent and formless; its materiality is transitory. Its formal and conceptual attributes are intensities echoed beyond its appearance.


     


DENISE CARVALHO


PUBLICATIONS INCLUDE:


Art Nexus; Art in America; Sculpture Magazine; Flash Art; New York Arts; Art Papers


PUBLISHED ESSAYS IN JOURNALS OR BOOKS INCLUDE:


“Lost in Translation: The Clay Art of Peter Jones,” Ceramics, Art and Perception, Issue 83, 2011; Biographies on Cildo Meireles, Lygia Clark, Sebastião Salgado, Rivane Neuenschwander, and Ernesto Neto for Grove Contemporary Art, published by Oxford University Press, December 2009


CATALOGUE ESSAYS INCLUDE:


“Trans,” catalogue of the exhibition of Adriana Varella, Oi Futuro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; “Upstream: TheDérive within the Immersion” catalogue essay, exhibition of artists Oyvind Renberg and Miho Shimizu at the Hordaland Kunstsenter; “Minimal Differences” catalogue essay, exhibition and panel discussion at White Box, Ltd., New York; “A Part of No-Part” catalogue essay, exhibition at the Chelsea Art Museum, New York; “Preemptive Resistances: Critical Pointers in Latin American Art,” catalogue of exhibition at the Westport Arts Center


CURATORIAL PROJECTS INCLUDE:


"Lumen," Staten Island Pier; “Minimal Differences,” White Box, Ltd, New York; “Intangible Interferences," Momenta Art, Brooklyn; “Bodies of Dispersion: Mechanisms of Distention,” Arsenal Gallery, Bialystok; “Holy Holes, Absolute Stalls,”Dumbo Arts Center, Brooklyn; “Infinitu et Contini,” Smack Mellon, Brooklyn


WEBSITE:

www.denisecarvalho.com





WHEN ALL THINGS EVAPORATE WE'LL TALK ABOUT MINERALS


Written by JOVANA STOKIC



Simone Couto and JaeWook Lee: A Quattro Mania

(A Short Glossary on the Duality of Authorship)


A Quattro Mani: Piano four hands is a term frequently applied in American usage to a specific form of piano duet for a single piano with two players.


What if we think about Couto and Lee's project as a particular translation of a music form to a visual one. They both deal with time and ephemerality. They both manifest the duality of authorship. I see the event they titled “When All Things Evaporate We’ll Talk About Minerals” as a chain of echoes. But what do these echoes reflect?


Echo:  In acoustics, an echo is a reflection of sound, arriving at the listener some time after the direct sound. A true echo is a single reflection of the sound source. The time delay is the extra distance divided by the speed of sound.


What if we imagine their echoes as a complex mesh of multiple reflections of their separate sources. Refractions. Fading, and then again, crystalizing?  What are their sources? I recognize clay, hands dirtied by earth, years passed in silence, nostalgia, saudade, inaudible melody for flute, conspirationally produced sounds, eternal stones resisting entropy. Pathetic human short-lived memories vis-à-vis all-knowing never-forgetting Nature.


Text vs. Thing: I take a cue from the delicately seductive invite in Lee’s website: “How does a text become a (real) thing? You just need to close your eyes, and visualize it. You can smell or touch it. Our brain has a magical power to transform a text into a sensible thing." Let’s transform this text into a thing by imagining before and after the event that this very entity: a two-bodied, two-person show that tickles cohabitation and transcends artistic conflict.  It builds a little suspended bridge between the two authors. It is a two-headed organism that embodies the concept of intersubjectivity and brings us together in the ever-happening all-encompassing here and now: our consciousness.  It merges the opposites: the formation of minerals and the entropy of clay.


Memento: I was taken by a sentence written by Couto: “The House was smaller than I imagined.” It encapsulates years of nostalgic longing and the final juxtaposition of fantasy and reality. In her dreams, the house of her childhood was big imposing building once revisited, a decade after seeing it for the last time, the house did not appear big, it was just an ordinary farm house. But this realization was not a disappointment. It was a peaceful epilogue. What is then the process of crystallization; Is it beauty beyond change? But beauty should not be fetishized, commodified, mummified. What is a crystal if not a memento that captures longing for the past and future together, a stand against entropy? This event is about communal listening to the silence of the set of mementos.


Trans-: Both artists are involved in studying of the ontological status of the body-in-networks and trans-performances. They introduce the concept of BODILY NETWORK TRANSMISSION (BNT) as “gestures [that] can be transferred from the body to another body through memory and physical recollection, and then preserved.”  This is how the piece for four hands is supposed to transcend its dual authorship and be dispersed onto so-called co-operants and connectors forming a kind of octopus, decentralized and multi-focal, feeling with all its tentacles.  


Psychology: Couto has quoted Artaud: “The eternal conflict between reason and the heart is decided in my very flesh, but in my flesh irrigated by nerves." Then she moves away from it by claiming that the body is not stuck in psychology as it functions as a network in time and space. But what if psychology is the network – a complex settings and navigation system that allows liveliness. Contemporary psychology offers this road.  Informed by psychology, performance studies further considers how a performing body could enable unexpected subjectivities to occur. There is a tri-partite schema of intersubjectivity:  first signs of reciprocation (primary intersubjectivity), joint attention in reference to objects (secondary intersubjectivity), and then a third level of intersubjectivity, that is the emergence of values that are jointly represented and negotiated with others.


Precarity: When All Things Evaporate We’ll Talk About Minerals is one-night only event that is aboutephemerality, corporeality, precariousness, scoring, and performativity embodying critiques of representation inscribed in bodies and subjects. Its precariousness underlines the fragility of contemporary states of being. It listens and looks up to nature, human but also non-human.


Worlding:   Takings its cue from the inspired curatorial strategy of Carolyn Christov Bakargiev I see these practices as processes of worlding:  “dealing with the world at large through their embodied ‘amatorial’ artistic, social and discursive practices, even in their most inward-looking or most exquisitely crafted artworks and projects”. I see them as belonging to practices that have high emphasis on alliance,cosmopolitical, and intra-acting of human and non-human agents.



JOVANA STOKIC is a Belgrade-born, New York-based art historian and curator. She holds a PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her dissertation, “The Body Beautiful: Feminine Self-Representations 1970–2007,” analyzes works of several women artists—Marina Abramovic, Martha Rosler, Joan Jonas—since the 1970s, particularly focusing on the notions of self-representation and beauty. Stokic has curated several thematic exhibitions and performance events in the United States, Italy, Spain, and Serbia. Her essay, “The Art of Marina Abramovic: Leaving the Balkans, Entering the Other Side” appeared in the catalogue for The Artist Is Present (2010) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Stokic was a fellow at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; a researcher at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the curator of the Kimmel Center Galleries, New York University; and the performance curator at Location One, New York. She has taught art history at New York University, Fashion Institute of Technology, and is also on the faculty of the MFA Art Practice at the School of Visual Arts. Stokic is deputy chair, MA Curatorial Practice at SVA.





WHEN ALL THINGS EVAPORATE WE'LL TALK ABOUT MINERALS


Written by JOVANA STOKIC



Simone Couto and JaeWook Lee: A Quattro Mania


(A Short Glossary on the Duality of Authorship)




A Quattro Mani: Piano four hands is a term frequently applied in American usage to a specific form of piano duet for a single piano with two players.


What if we think about Couto and Lee's project as a particular translation of a music form to a visual one. They both deal with time and ephemerality. They both manifest the duality of authorship. I see the event they titled “When All Things Evaporate We’ll Talk About Minerals” as a chain of echoes. But what do these echoes reflect?



Echo:  In acoustics, an echo is a reflection of sound, arriving at the listener some time after the direct sound. A true echo is a single reflection of the sound source. The time delay is the extra distance divided by the speed of sound.


What if we imagine their echoes as a complex mesh of multiple reflections of their separate sources. Refractions. Fading, and then again, crystalizing?  What are their sources? I recognize clay, hands dirtied by earth, years passed in silence, nostalgia, saudade, inaudible melody for flute, conspirationally produced sounds, eternal stones resisting entropy. Pathetic human short-lived memories vis-à-vis all-knowing never-forgetting Nature.



Text vs. Thing: I take a cue from the delicately seductive invite in Lee’s website: “How does a text become a (real) thing? You just need to close your eyes, and visualize it. You can smell or touch it. Our brain has a magical power to transform a text into a sensible thing." Let’s transform this text into a thing by imagining before and after the event that this very entity: a two-bodied, two-person show that tickles cohabitation and transcends artistic conflict.  It builds a little suspended bridge between the two authors. It is a two-headed organism that embodies the concept of intersubjectivity and brings us together in the ever-happening all-encompassing here and now: our consciousness.  It merges the opposites: the formation of minerals and the entropy of clay.



Memento: I was taken by a sentence written by Couto: “The House was smaller than I imagined.” It encapsulates years of nostalgic longing and the final juxtaposition of fantasy and reality. In her dreams, the house of her childhood was big imposing building once revisited, a decade after seeing it for the last time, the house did not appear big, it was just an ordinary farm house. But this realization was not a disappointment. It was a peaceful epilogue. What is then the process of crystallization; Is it beauty beyond change? But beauty should not be fetishized, commodified, mummified. What is a crystal if not a memento that captures longing for the past and future together, a stand against entropy? This event is about communal listening to the silence of the set of mementos.



Trans-: Both artists are involved in studying of the ontological status of the body-in-networks and trans-performances. They introduce the concept of BODILY NETWORK TRANSMISSION (BNT) as “gestures [that] can be transferred from the body to another body through memory and physical recollection, and then preserved.”  This is how the piece for four hands is supposed to transcend its dual authorship and be dispersed onto so-called co-operants and connectors forming a kind of octopus, decentralized and multi-focal, feeling with all its tentacles.  



Psychology: Couto has quoted Artaud: “The eternal conflict between reason and the heart is decided in my very flesh, but in my flesh irrigated by nerves." Then she moves away from it by claiming that the body is not stuck in psychology as it functions as a network in time and space. But what if psychology is the network – a complex settings and navigation system that allows liveliness. Contemporary psychology offers this road.  Informed by psychology, performance studies further considers how a performing body could enable unexpected subjectivities to occur. There is a tri-partite schema of intersubjectivity:  first signs of reciprocation (primary intersubjectivity), joint attention in reference to objects (secondary intersubjectivity), and then a third level of intersubjectivity, that is the emergence of values that are jointly represented and negotiated with others.



Precarity: When All Things Evaporate We’ll Talk About Minerals is one-night only event that is aboutephemerality, corporeality, precariousness, scoring, and performativity embodying critiques of representation inscribed in bodies and subjects. Its precariousness underlines the fragility of contemporary states of being. It listens and looks up to nature, human but also non-human.



Worlding:   Takings its cue from the inspired curatorial strategy of Carolyn Christov Bakargiev I see these practices as processes of worlding:  “dealing with the world at large through their embodied ‘amatorial’ artistic, social and discursive practices, even in their most inward-looking or most exquisitely crafted artworks and projects”. I see them as belonging to practices that have high emphasis on alliance,cosmopolitical, and intra-acting of human and non-human agents.







JOVANA STOKIC is a Belgrade-born, New York-based art historian and curator. She holds a PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her dissertation, “The Body Beautiful: Feminine Self-Representations 1970–2007,” analyzes works of several women artists—Marina Abramovic, Martha Rosler, Joan Jonas—since the 1970s, particularly focusing on the notions of self-representation and beauty. Stokic has curated several thematic exhibitions and performance events in the United States, Italy, Spain, and Serbia. Her essay, “The Art of Marina Abramovic: Leaving the Balkans, Entering the Other Side” appeared in the catalogue for The Artist Is Present (2010) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Stokic was a fellow at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; a researcher at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the curator of the Kimmel Center Galleries, New York University; and the performance curator at Location One, New York. She has taught art history at New York University, Fashion Institute of Technology, and is also on the faculty of the MFA Art Practice at the School of Visual Arts. Stokic is deputy chair, MA Curatorial Practice at SVA.