Process and Ethics in Archiving the Contemporary

Hailey Loman and Saida Largaespada from Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LACA) discuss why and how they started this non-profit artists archive and what are some conceptual, methodological and ethical questions they have to negociate or resolve in its daily functionning. This discussion took place in the context of the ongoing project Hearing all sides of the story at Paris Art Lab, France.

Process and Ethics in Archiving the Contemporary, by the Big Conversation Space, produced by Paris Art Lab, Film stills, 2020 :

Hearing all sides of the story, Paris Art Lab, 2020

Installation view, Paris Art Lab, 2020.

Hearing all sides of the story, Paris Art Lab,

03/03/2020 – 03/05/ 2020.

Bienvenu.e.s / Welcome / مرحبا / Bem-vindo 

English version below

Entendre toutes les versions de l’histoire par le collectif franco-américain The Big Conversation Space, composé de Niki Korth et Clémence de Montgolfier, place au premier plan les enjeux de l’histoire orale, de l’accès et de la diffusion des ressources archivistiques, et du rôle des acteurs et actrices mêmes dans la fabrique de cette histoire. Il s’agit d’une invitation à entendre les points de vue de celles et ceux qui accepteront de participer à la conversation. La discussion et l’écoute approfondie sont des outils collaboratifs qui, à travers le degrés de confiance qu’ils présupposent, mènent les participants à devenir des témoignants, autonomes et responsables. Les questions traduites en quatre langues (français, anglais, arabe, portugais) et matérialisées dans l’espace nous entraînent dans une paresse réflexive, nous interrogeant sur notre rapport au lieu, à l’espace, à nos voisins…. « Comment vous sentez-vous dans cet espace ? » « Saviez-vous que le terrain sur lequel nous nous trouvons actuellement était autrefois une île ? » sont autant d’invitations prétextes au dialogue. L’entrecroisement des témoignages découle d’un partis-pris didactique d’adopter une démarche rigoureusement décloisonnée, de préférer la dissemblance à l’uniformisation. Au coeur de la ville, dans un quartier enclin à la désertification et par ailleurs en pleine transition urbaine, habité par une population mixte du fait de son degrés de fréquentation (touristes, passants, travailleurs, riverains), et du fait de ses diverses spécialisations (architectes, commerçants, ouvriers, institutions publiques) se trouve un microcosme de la diversité existante au sein de nos démocraties. Sommes-nous capables de regarder le point de vue de l’autre dans cette histoire partagée d’une ville et d’un lieu ? Quelles histoires du lieu devraient être préservées et intégrées au discours public et à l’histoire officielle ? Dans une société où l’urgence de la participation active des citoyennes et citoyens à la démocratie technique ne peut plus être ignorée, le regard à la marge est à préserver. Chaque vendredi après-midi, habitués et primo-visiteurs sont accueillis dans l’espace convivial du laboratoire où boissons chaudes leur sont offertes. La saison ponctuée par ces rendez-vous hebdomadaires et des événements spéciaux, permet d’enquêter sur la manière dont l’histoire d’un quartier et d’une zone urbaine est construite, l’impact de la technologie sur l’enregistrement, la connaissance du passé et de la mémoire, et s’il est possible de trouver des couches multiples du passé qui entrent en relation les unes aux autres, à la manière d’une archéologie du savoir. Les artistes regarderons comment les histoires personnelles se rapportent à l’histoire collective et à l’expérience partagée du lieu.

Leslie Veisse avec The Big Conversation Space


Hearing all side of the story by the Franco-American collective The Big Conversation Space, composed of Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier, places at the forefront the issues of oral history, access and dissemination of archival resources, and the role of the actors themselves in the making of this (hi)story. It is an invitation to hear the points of view of those who agree to take part in the conversation. Discussion and in-depth listening are collaborative tools that, through the degree of trust they presuppose, lead participants to become witnesses, autonomous and responsible. The questions translated into four languages (French, English, Arabic, Portuguese) and materialized in space lead us into a reflexive laziness, questioning us about our relationship to place, to space, to our neighbours. “How do you feel in this space? “; ” Did you know that the land on which we are now standing was once an island? ” are all pretexts for dialogue. The interweaving of testimonies stems from a didactic bias to adopt a rigorously decompartmentalized approach, to prefer dissimilarity to uniformity. In the heart of the city, in a district prone to desertification and moreover in full urban transition, inhabited by a mixed population because of its degree of frequentation (tourists, passers-by, workers, residents), and because of its various specializations (architects, shopkeepers, workers, public institutions), lies a microcosm of the diversity existing within our democracies. Are we capable of looking at the point of view of the other in this shared history of a city and a place? What histories of place should be preserved and integrated into public discourse and official history? In a society where the urgent need for active participation of citizens in technical democracy can no longer be ignored, the view from the margins must be preserved. Every Friday afternoon, regulars and first-time visitors are welcomed in the convivial area of the laboratory where hot drinks are offered to them. The season, punctuated by these weekly meetings and special events, makes it possible to investigate how the history of a neighbourhood and an urban area is constructed, the impact of technology on recording, knowledge of the past and memory, and whether it is possible to find multiple layers of the past that relate to each other, in the manner of an archaeology of knowledge. Artists will look at how personal stories relate to the collective history and shared experience of place.

Hearing all sides of the story includes three interviews visible below around archiving, space and inhabiting a place and a territory in relationship with others. We thank the generous participation of Los Angeles Contemporary Archive‘s members Hailey Loman and Saida Largaespada, of architect Sonia Vu from the Encore Heureux agency, and of artist and local resident Marta Hoskins.

Talk Show Festival, La Panacée

Ecoute ! Conversations à l’heure de la reproductibilité numérique

Listen ! Conversations in the time of digital reproducibility

Performance and video, 2018

@ Talk Show Festival, La Panacée, Montpellier, France; curated by Nicolas Bourriaud

Pour le Talk Show Festival, les artistes ont conçu une œuvre qui interroge la manière dont nous prenons part à la conversation dans le présent, à une époque où cette dernière est moins un échange entre des individus qu’un discours diffusé sur des plateformes à un public anonyme, et notre réception filtrée par des algorithmes qui montrent surtout ce qui nous est déjà familier. TBCS propose un échange avec les visiteurs de La Panacée par l’intermédiaire d’un jeu de cartes comportant des questions spécifiques au contexte du festival, où chaque interlocuteur peut réfléchir à son usage des médias et à des notions comme la vérité, la relation entre information et politique, l’art, l’empathie et le discours, montrant comment l’écoute et la tentative de se comprendre peuvent être des outils de résistance.

/////////////

How do we play the game of conversation in the contemporary moment, a time where conversation is less a direct exchange between people, and more a speech broadcast on platforms to a semi-anonymous mass whose reception and access is filtered by algorithms that show mostly what we/they want to hear and see, where ideas, images, and words can be reproduced and distributed at unprecedented scales regardless of their reliability? How does this impact the exchange of ideas and discourse about and through contemporary art, and how does this filter bubble interact with the world outside the institution of contemporary art? TBCS intervenes in today’s game of conversation through exchanges with museum visitors based on a deck of playing cards with questions made on the occasion of the Talk Show Festival. Conversations ensue where parties reflect on their use and views of media, truth, art, empathy, and discourse, showing how the work of listening and understanding can be great tool of resistance.


Image : Valérie Bonniol / champ contre champ

Editing : Alyn Divine

Conversations sur l’empathie, Salon de Montrouge, 2018

Conversations sur l’empathie, 2018
Vidéo 5’30(Production Le 149 et Triangle France)
Table de jeu sérigraphiée, chaises, cartes postales impression numérique et sérigraphie, fortune cookies personnalisés, posters impression numérique et encre de chine.

The Big Conversation Space traduit son projet en espace avec Conversations sur l’empathie un titre qui fait référence au sujet du prochain épisode de leur websérie expérimentale BCC Channel. Constitué de divers éléments se voulant les supports opportuns de l’échange et du dialogue tels qu’une table de bridge, ou des fortunes cookies aux messages personnalisés en libre-service, cet espace d’expérimentation et de recherche sera le théâtre de relations aussi sincères que perforées. Conversations sur l’empathie fait à la fois office de préambule, d’extension spatialisée, et de lieu de recherche pour préparer l’épisode éponyme de la websérie. (Mathilda Portoghese, 2018)

 

Conversations sur l’empathie avec et par des visiteurs, pendant la durée du Salon
du 28 avril au 22 mai 2018
ci-dessous : conversation sur l’empathie avec Jamel, Pierre et Anne-Françoise, 6 mai 2018 (photo courtesy des participants)

Ludi-cité, PHAKT, Rennes

Ludi-cité, PHAKT, Centre culturel Colombier, Rennes, Janvier 2017

Partie de The Big Conversation Game organisée sur une invitation de Doriane Spiteri et le collectif Contrefaçons
//
Playing of The Big Conversation Game as part of the exhibition Ludi-cité at PHAKT Cultural Center, at the invitation of Doriane Spiteri and the collective Contrefaçons.

From phakt.fr:

Du 05 janvier au 10 février 2017, Play-Full.net (Gildas Paubert, Thomas François et leurs amis) et le collectif Contrefaçons s’associent pour ouvrir au PHAKT Centre Culturel Colombier un lieu dédié à la création vidéoludique. Durant 5 semaines, venez jouer ensemble et, le temps de quelques soirées, échanger autour de ce qui fonde la culture ludique numérique.

///////////////////

From 05 January to 10 February 2017, Play-Full.net (Gildas Paubert, Thomas François and their friends) and the collective Contrefaçons join forces to open a place dedicated to video game creation at the PHAKT Colombier Cultural Center. During 5 weeks, come and play together and, for a few evenings, talk about what makes digital play culture.


JUMP, CAC BRETIGNY

JUMP, group exhibition at the CAC Brétigny, November 2016 to January 2017, France

“Le saut (JUMP) est le passage d’un plan à l’autre, d’une subjectivité à l’autre, de l’objet vers son usage possible (ou non). JUMP, dispositif spatial conçu par l’artiste Jean-Pascal Flavien, relie deux faces d’une entité—les locaux du centre d’art et son espace numérique, leur propose une traduction réciproque et incertaine. Il y a autant de types de sauts qu’il y a de combinaisons d’éléments possibles.” Commissaire d’exposition : Céline Poulin.

 

For the exhibition JUMP, The Big Conversation Space proposed the installation Conversations sur le pouvoir, composed of a video of the trailer of BCC Episode 4, a table of conversation with conversations cards meant to be activated with the audience, and question forms to be filled by the audience during the exhibition.

 

Installation views of JUMP (commissaire : Céline Poulin), CAC Brétigny, 2016. Photo : Aurélien Mole

Images from the opening of the exhibition JUMP (commissaire : Céline Poulin), CAC Brétigny, 2016. Photo : Aurélie Jacquet

Légende : Vernissage de l’exposition JUMP (commissaire : Céline Poulin), CAC Brétigny, 2016. Photo : Aurélie Jacquet

Légende : Vernissage de l’exposition JUMP (commissaire : Céline Poulin), CAC Brétigny, 2016. Photo : Aurélie Jacquet

 

Installation views of JUMP (commissaire : Céline Poulin), CAC Brétigny, 2016. Photo : Aurélien Mole

Installation views of JUMP (commissaire : Céline Poulin), CAC Brétigny, 2016. Photo : Aurélien Mole

Installation views of JUMP (commissaire : Céline Poulin), CAC Brétigny, 2016. Photo : Aurélien Mole

Installation views of JUMP (commissaire : Céline Poulin), CAC Brétigny, 2016. Photo : Aurélien Mole

Installation views of JUMP (commissaire : Céline Poulin), CAC Brétigny, 2016. Photo : Aurélien Mole

 

“For Bassel”

OVER THE EDGE
“For Bassel” 
A tribute and memorial to Syrian-Palestianian open-source software engineer Bassel Khartabil
Broadcast August 25, 2017 (Recording here)
94.1 KPFA (Berkeley, California)
Niki Korth, Jon Leidecker

Bassel Khartabil was a Syrian-Palestinian open-source software engineer and dedicated Open Internet volunteer, who greatly increased access to knowledge and online tools in Syria and beyond. After being detained and imprisoned in 2012 by Syrian authorities, he and his case became focal points for global conversations regarding freedom of speech in an era when code is speech and individual voices can be amplified online in unprecedented ways. Following confirmation on August 1st 2017 that he had been secretly sentenced and executed in October 2015, we pay tribute with a mix of sounds and interviews from many sources, including the tributary himself, his writings from prison, conversations with friends and colleagues, and music inspired by his work.

This episode of Over the Edge is a tribute to Bassel and an homage to the complexities of freedom of expression, freedom of thought, freedom of culture, and the right to live peacefully, in dignity and without fear of retribution for one’s beliefs, or the tools one builds to allow others to discuss and discern them.

Listen to a recording of the broadcast here.

Includes sampled conversations with Oussama Al-Rifai, Habib Hadad, Ryan Merkley, Danny O’Brien, Jon Phillips, Jack Rabah, Tina Salameh, and Jimmy Wales; readings by SJ Klein, Niki Korth, and Sam Sartor of Bassel’s writings from prison; and special appearance from “Self-Defense in International Law and Policy” by Javad Zarif. The conversations/interviews included here were conducted/recorded by Niki Korth from 2013 – 2016 and in August 2017. Most conducted in August 2017 took place at Wikimania 2017 in Montréal.

Links to the original pieces composed for Bassel by the Disquiet Junto can be found here.

Bassel_OTE

Bassel, Saaremaa, Beads, N. Korth (2017 / CC BY 4.0)

Bassel and Karrim

Bassel and Karrim, Bilal Randeree (2011 / CC BY 2.0)

Behind the scenes with Ma Li at the Bird Bridge in the Milky Way

In this two part video series, artist Ma Li takes us behind the scenes of her installation and performance project Meet You at the Bird Bridge in the Milky Way at Recology San Francisco’s Artist in Residence program. Built entirely using trash that was scavenged by the artist at the San Francisco dump during her residency, the tangible dimensions to this project are a marvel of repurposed beauty, coming together to re-tell The Cow Herd and the Weaver Girl, an ancient Chinese folk tale of love, community, patience, and celebration. As agents of the birds, the volunteer performers are brought together by the dynamic Ma Li to form a bridge of whimsical movement that reunites loves of all kinds.

Part I includes an interview with the artist about the project and the materials involved, interwoven with footage of the performance rehearsal. Part II includes behind the scenes footage of the performance, after which the tangible materials in the work are examined closely by the curious camera. Following this (and not shown here), the second part of the total work unfolded at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, where Ma Li led another group of volunteers in a choreographed performance to assemble the installation – Gathering Among the Stars.

Part I: Interview with Ma Li

Part II: Peering in to the Performance and around the Installation

Birds and Spaces: A Conversation with Stephanie Vidal

Documentation of the exhibition Birds and Spaces at B4BEL4B Gallery in Oakland, California and interview with curator Stephanie Vidal. Featuring the artists Caroline Delieutraz, Enora Denis, Marie-Luce Nadal, and Géraud Soulhiol, Birds and Spaces explored the notion and the tension of borders at a time when we are feeling the pervasiveness of made-man boundaries (political, technological, sociological and otherwise) by revealing their materiality and questioning the phenomena of possession/dispossession they induce. The exhibition took place October 15th – November 15th 2016.

Video produced for the BCC Channel, a collaboration with le149.net

What is a Chill Anime Beat? Conversation with Mahmoud Hashemi

What really is a Chill Anime Beat? And what role might spreadsheets and pivot tables play in defining one? Hashemi goes behind the scenes of an emerging new art form involving chill music and quality animation, tastefully paired in 6 second loops.

Immerse yourself in more Chill Anime Beats here.

Video by Niki Korth and Alyn Divine; produced for the BCC Channel, hosted by le149.net

Conversations about Power, Fear and Information @ CAC Brétigny

Letters to the Editor : Conversations about power, fear and information @ CAC Brétigny

For the exhibition JUMP, curated by Céline Poulin in the French art center CAC Brétigny, TBCS hosted conversations on the subjects of power, fear and information with visitors. Prompted by a set of question cards, the visitors speak their minds, trying to build a reflection on the spot, sharing their various points of view in the hope of adding to a collective reflection. These excerpts show highlights of several hours of discussion over two sessions.

Video produced for the BCC Channel, a collaboration with le149.net

The Televised Chomsky-Foucault Debate, On Human Nature, 1971 (excerpts)

From the Archives : The Televised Chomsky-Foucault Debate, On Human Nature, 1971 (excerpts)

Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault debate on the subjects of power, justice, knowledge, creativity and the aspiration for a fair and creative society on a Dutch television program almost 50 years ago. Their methods and approaches differ greatly, one being an American linguist, and the other a French theorist, prompting us to reflect on the current state of personal and collective creative freedom in our society, and the evolution of coercion from institutions that claim to nurture and protect such freedoms.

Video produced for the BCC Channel, a collaboration with le149.net

Memory is Built to Match our Values and Identity

Memory is Built to Match our Values and Identity: Interview with Martial Van der Linden

Martial Van der Linden, professor of neuropsychology at the University of Geneva, discusses how memory works in our brains, and how we habitually create “false memories” in accordance with our value systems.

Video produced for the BCC Channel, a collaboration with le149.net

Les Incessants (The Incessant Ones)

An exhibition review at Villa du Parc, in Annemasse, France.

Curated by Céline Poulin, Les Incessants featured artworks that play with imitations and familiar appearances to induce confusion between originals and copies, reality and fiction, exploring themes of deceit, false identities, and copycats.

Video produced for the BCC Channel, a collaboration with le149.net

Anonymous Art Show Review: Undercover at the Museum

This covert video features two anonymous visitors to the Paris Museum of Modern Art, capturing their candid conversation and reactions to the exhibition Co-workers, le réseau comme artiste / Co-Workers – the Network as Artist. Taking place in the Fall of 2015, the exhibition is described on the museum’s website as “a selection of international artists trained during the 2000s whose innovative practices are largely based on networking.”

Video produced for the BCC Channel, a collaboration with le149.net

French Prime Minister’s Speech on Surveillance (2015)

Recent laws in France regarding the scope and methods of surveillance and intelligence gathering have raised questions and weariness after the NSA revelations in 2013. Failures in the existing intelligence operations have been shown when facing a growing number of terrorist attacks on French soil from 2012 to 2015. Those threats and the fear they provoke raise many issues around the efficiency of intelligence services and at the same time the preservation of individual rights to privacy and freedom of opinion and religion. With these issues in mind, we present edited excerpts from Manuel Valls defend the law on intelligence operations in April 2015 in front of the National Assembly.

Video produced for the BCC Channel, a collaboration with le149.net

Game Show Competition – Buying & Selling Artwork

A role playing game where two art-lover participants embody a gallerist and a collector and compete to convince or be convinced to buy an artwork. Using an ephemeral piece of art from French artist Ben Vautier, our guests improvise to find arguments – logical or absurd – to define the value of the artwork, in an highly competitive and elusive market.

Video produced for the BCC Channel, a collaboration with le149.net

Vanishing Point: How to Disappear in America without a Trace

Book Review Chronicle – Vanishing Point: How to Disappear in America without a Trace

De Montgolfier reviews a book published in 2006 by Revolver and edited by Suzanne Burner after a text she found on the Internet (sic). The romantic aspects of disappearance are addressed, as well as a popular fantasy to abandon everything and one’s past, family or loved ones, to disappear and start over. We are also reminded of how many more traces of identity we leave behind today in our daily interactions, and how much more difficult it would be to disappear now, only 10 years after the book’s publication.

Video produced for the BCC Channel, a collaboration with le149.net

Tarot of Chance

The Tarot of Chance is a work performed for one person at a time. Aided by cards developed by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth, San Francisco, and Clémence de Montgolfier, Paris) in collaboration with John Mowitt (Leeds, United Kingdom), The Tarot of Chance is based on the structure and methodology of the Tarot de Marseilles (XVth century), or classical divination tarot.

The Tarot of Chance, however, neither claims nor asserts any connection to the spiritual realm, save that which comes with every human encounter, and aims to serve as a mediator between one’s desires and constraints. The artist serves as a reader and uses chance to propose directions to the participant, in the way one might flip a coin in order to help a decision-making process. It creates a moment of contact and negotiation between signification and interpretation, belief and disbelief, trust and deceit.

The cards for The Tarot of Chance are available for purchase (contact us directly if interested).

All Color Wide Sheet SMALL

Reading sessions of the Tarot of Chance with The Big Conversation Space are available in person in the San Francisco Bay Area or the Paris Metropolitan Area, and virtually anywhere with an Internet or phone connection.

Tarot of Chance reading sessions have thus far taken place at the following events/locations:

Parking Lot Art Fair | Fort Mason Center (Parking Lot) | San Francisco, USA

RADIATIONS 24 | Laptop Radio | Geneva, Switzerland

Launch of Volume Magazine, Winter 2014 | Chez Treize | Paris, France

Perform Chinatown Afterparty | Human Resources | Los Angeles, USA

Shared Feedback: Design + Technology Salon | San Francisco Art Institute | San Francisco, USA

All Color Wide Sheet SMALL with text

The Big Conversation Game

The Big Conversation Game is flexible framework designed to encourage PLAYERS to converse freely, openly, playfully, and strategically about a wide variety of topics ranging from the absurd, to the deeply personal, the the darkly pragmatic, to the confusing, and beyond. The Game functions as an interactive parody of democratic communication, consensus, and the “free” market, requiring PLAYERS to develop conversational/bartering strategies that will SATISFY the OTHER PLAYERS.

Through the adoption of the different CONVERSATION MODES described below, PLAYERS are invited to perceive the world “a little bit differently” through experimentation (both collective and individual) in different (and at times contradictory) forms of speaking, performance, decision-making, bartering, listening, arguing, and self-revelation (or denial).

img_4451

CONVERSATION MODES:

CHANCE/GAMBLING
When conversing in this mode, rely on a combination of whim, faith in the unknown, and calculated risk. Review the other Conversation Modes and consider this to be a combination of all, and yet wholly different. Remember that humor, distraction, and misleading are useful tools in shaping chance and securing a better likelihood of obtaining your objectives.

SKILLS/COMPETITION
When conversing in this mode, focus on exploiting your knowledge and talents with ruthlessness and an awareness of your opponents’ weaknesses as much as their strengths. Keep your eye on the prize and do whatever it takes to reach your objective.

EMOTIONS/INTUITIONS
When conversing in this mode, abandon all sense of rationality and focus on your immediate feelings and reactions to your opponents, while at the same time being sensitive to their needs and unconscious desires. Embrace ambiguity as a repository for subjective interpretation, and do not hesitate to discuss uncertainties, bias, passions, and fears.

LOGIC/REASON
When conversing in this mode, be cognizant of the processes by which conclusions are reached and the manner in which truth or accuracy may be proven and determined. Break down your understanding of the topic/situation into units capable of outlining cause and effect with a focus on facts, evidence, and insoluble arguments.

EXAMPLE QUESTION CARDS:
The Big Conversation Game is available for private purchase and for shared play at public or private events and exhibitions (contact us to learn more). Since its first inception in 2012, The Game has brought strangers and friends together through earnest, critical discourse and has been featured in exhibitions and public events on three continents, including:

Art Night SF | United Nations Plaza | San Francisco, USA | October 2015

Plateau de jeux : Nouveau Festival
– Centre Pompidou | Paris, France | April 2015

Cocktail Games – La Ludothèque éphémère du 8, rue Saint-Bon – 8, rue Saint-Bon | Paris, France – July 2015

What the Monkey says no one pays attention to – TCB Gallery | Melbourne, Australia | November 2012

Démons et Merveilles, le Théâtre des Valeurs – Le Village, Galerie Thébault |Bazouges la Pérousse, France | October – December 2012

Les Référents – Galerie Edouard Manet, Ecole des Beaux Arts de Gennevilliers | Gennevilliers, France | November – January 2012

The Big Conversation in Space – Residency Project at Lindre-Basse – Centre d’Art Contemporain de la Synagogue de Delme | Lindre-Basse, France | June – August 2012

The Phoenix Hotel (prototype) – Phoenix Hotel | San Francisco, USA | May 2012

Les Incessants

Les Incessants

Villa du Parc, Annemasse, France | 1 April – 29 May 2016

Curated by Céline Poulin, Les Incessants featured artworks that play with imitations and familiar appearances to induce confusion between originals and copies, reality and fiction, exploring themes of deceit, false identities, and copycats.

For Les Incessants, TBCS screened a replay of Secrets, Anonymity, and Transparency from the BCC Channel, and also documented the exhibition and on-site conversations in a video found here.

Photos by Aurélien Mole

vdp-2016-les-incessants-001

vdp-2016-les-incessants-002

vdp-2016-les-incessants-003

vdp-2016-les-incessants-004

vdp-2016-les-incessants-005

vdp-2016-les-incessants-103

Cocktail Games, La Ludothèque éphémère

Cocktail Games – La Ludothèque éphémère du 8, rue Saint-Bon, 8, rue Saint-Bon, Paris, 2015

In conjunction with the exhibition “Expanding The Field of The Game” (Espace 315, Centre Pompidou, June 18–July 20, 2015), 8 rue Saint-Bon was transformed into an artists’ games club for a couple of weeks. Between Fluxus’ playful experiments, the influence of “gamification” on contemporary occidental societies, and the artists’ desire to create parallel worlds, “Cocktail Games” gathers together all types of games: playing cards; board games; group or single-player activities; fantastical, home-made, nerdy, and cabalistic games. They are on display during the exhibition but are also there to be played, activated and reinvented during weekly events. George Brecht meets Ravensburger!

With games and participation from: Lorraine Châteaux, Amélie Dubois, Timothée Dufresne, Thomas Lannette, Olive Martin & Patrick Bernier, Eliana Otta, Olivia Plender, Matteo Rubbi, The Big Conversation Space, Elsa Werth, Carla Zaccagnini and the collective Lauenen.

Game play furniture designed by Maxime Bondu & Blaise Parmentier

Photos Aurélien Mole / 8, rue Saint-Bon (Paris)

BCC Channel

12747946_1556234878036949_7262765298837844897_o

The BCC Channel is an experimental online environment that cultivates meaningful encounters with moving-image works that transcend the screens through which they are viewed. Hosted by le149.net and produced by TBCS in special collaboration with programmer Alexander Rohbs, the BCC Channel is a platform that uses live Internet broadcasts of video works alongside real-time chat to explore new spaces for discourse, where cultural and civic engagement and debate can take place, and where contemporary history can be recorded (and challenged) using contemporary tools.

The BCC Channel aims to foster an environment that supports the creation and sharing of moving-image works that reflect on, critique, or play with contemporary cultural, political, or artistic themes and the history of media that we have inherited.

Learn more and watch the replays here, or click on the individual episodes below.  OR – find those videos created by TBCS for the broadcasts here, or just drift around this site and you are sure to run into them.


Episode 1: Love, Magic, and Misdirection
=> live broadcast on 5 November 2015

Here we explore the relationship between magicians, illusions, and inventors from the early days of cinema to the present. Through video art, film, interviews, and role playing games, we discuss collaboration, conflict, friendship, inspiration and isolation in creative practice and in daily life; the role of humor in breaking beyond our assumptions; Magic as a practice of disbelief and a development of the skeptical gaze; belief and Materialism in the visual, literary, and performing arts; and the role of bluffing, distraction, and experience in games of chance and skill. 


Episode 2: Secrets, Anonymity, and Transparency
=> live broadcast on 27 February 27 2016
How, why, and when do we decide to withhold knowledge, information, or feedback in our daily lives, both private and public, and what motivates us to share it? In Secrets, Anonymity, and Transparency we explore issues of privacy, security, and openness in an age of mass Internet surveillance. We examine the liberty to choose our own systems of governing, in states as much as museums and personal computers, and ask how citizens and governments choose to distinguish between investigative journalism, whistleblowing, and treason.


Episode 3: Dreams, Fantasies, and Desires
=>live broadcast date: 13 July 2016
Here we explore the relations between reality, perception, imagination, and wishes, pondering such questions as: what is reality, really? Are machines capable of desire? What functions do fantasy personas and alter egos serve for the players involved in contemporary society, and contemporary art? What is dream work, and how does it relate to the work of memory? In asking these questions, we will examine together the role of narratives in shaping our individual and collective ambitions, and explore the ambiguous nature of truth in shaping narratives themselves.


Episode 4: Power, Fear, and Information
=> live broadcast date: 13 January 2017
In Power, Fear, and Information, we take an orthogonal look at these concepts which evoke varied impassioned, and often defensive, reactions in the present moment, where we face political uncertainty and the rise of various forms of hypermediated nationalism in several western democracies. Arguably, we are in a moment that warrants reflection on the idea of the “tyranny of the majority,” and the influence of media on the thinking and actions of the populations that carry the potential to form majorities. It is time to unpack what power, fear, and information mean to us today, and how we might repurpose these concepts to grant us more agency as tools for us to use, rather than consent to their use on us. In particular we want to examine the coercive power practiced through educational, political, and economic institutions and the agency of human creativity and thought in society that resists this power; and the role of platforms, communities, and toolsets in fostering creative practices and maintaining safe spaces for experimentation, failure, and discussion.


Episode 5: Empathy, Knowledge and (Self) Government

=> live broadcast upcoming  : 7 November 2018 (FR) & 14 November 2018 (US)

In today’s often disembodied social space, where bonds in the private sphere face a perpetual desire for public recognition and publicity, reputation and « being seen, » the public discourse focuses on the fear of others, on new mythologies of invasion, presenting the quest for truth as a vain pursuit, and encouraging the impulse to protect oneself from a supposedly dangerous « outside » that could threaten one’s way of life. (…) In this context, we propose to explore how empathy and free knowledge could re:work institutions, ways of governing, capacities to organize, private spaces, public discourses, personal and professional relationships, and administrations, making the structural systems of self-censorship, limitation, compliance, and competition obsolete. We will look at how individual and group initiatives, authors, artists and researchers have been looking for new ways of being and working, living, loving, and being together in a complex and conflicted world.


nbc-to-bcc_the_honeymooners_show_1937-2

 

Journal Of Bureaucratic Stories, Indice 50

Journal of Bureaucratic Stories, Indice 50, Paris, 30 April – 15 June 2015

For this exhibition in the storefront artist’s space Indice 50 in Paris, Clémence de Montgolfier used the archive of JOBS that were collected by Niki Korth in the Office/Work show in San Francisco a fews day earlier. Reading the forms and notes in English of the Bureaucratic Stories that various visitors have donated, she then translated those narratives in French while rewriting them as “stories” again. The translation process included filling the gaps, missing information, and acknowledging misunderstandings with mind protocols of guessing, imagination, deduction, logic or invention.

The new stories where then made available to the French audience, while the original archive was available through a flash code online. The Bureaucratic Stories were available for reading by passersby on the street and people from the neighborhood for the duration of the show.

Before 2020, the complete set of documents, English and French, will be sent to the Los Angeles Contemporary Archive for further additions and for continued consultation.
IMG_7236 IMG_7239-e1432309224174-683x1024

IMG_7234-1024x683

 

Office Work, StoreFrontLab

Office Work

Office Work was a social practice project by Carrie Sinclair Katz, Jon Gourley, and The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clemence de Montgolfier) that took place at StoreFront Lab, in San Francisco from April 4th – 25th, 2015. Visit the official Office Work website here.

Office Work recognized the so-called Kulturkampf ongoing in the San Francisco Bay Area and aimed to use the jargon of ‘work spaces’ to forge a common understanding, welcoming visitors through asking:

“Did we put an office in the gallery, or a gallery in the office? Come see for yourself. Through events, interactive departments, and participatory archives, we repurpose the vocabulary and technology of the office and contemporary art in order to facilitate encounters with the human side of work, the absurd side of labor, and the creative side of knowledge.”

office-1024x614

Events

April 5th – Wikipedia Edit-a-thon: Art + Bureaucracy

Participants learned about Wikipedia’s guidelines and how to edit Wikipedia to help improve articles about art, offices, art and labor organizations, bureaucracy, systems, public art, workplace behavior, and more.

April 17th – Meeting About Nothing

After Samuel Beckett wrote ‘Nothing is more real than nothing,’ (Malone Dies 1959), the (f)utility of modern office meetings has undergone a dramatic shift. Or has it? In efforts to analyze the current state of Nothing, an emergency meeting has been called, which includes presentations by local experts on Nothing: Daniel Yovino, Leora Lutz, Sesh Mudumbai, Jon Gourley, and Niki Korth.

April 22nd – Office Birthday Party

The offices of Gourley and Korth are both celebrating their birthdays, and everyone is invited to the party to enjoy sheet cake and mingling around the water cooler.

reverse-card-4-up-b-w-6-25x4-25

For Office Work, TBCS commenced the Journal Of Bureaucratic Stories (JOBS), an ongoing narrative collection project. 

Concept

Every workplace has a legend, and no story is too mundane

JOBS is an interactive archive and production platform that is collecting narratives involving bureaucracy, offices, studios, libraries, and other places of work for archival purposes and eventual publication in the peer-reviewed Journal of Bureaucratic Stories.

JOBS aims to collect and grow narratives that are donated in the gallery space by willing participants. Narratives sought include stories, legends, tales, myths, or anecdotes that feature bureaucratic experiences or offices, archives, libraries, studios or other ¨places of work” (broadly defined) as element(s) of their subject matter.

How does it work, what will happen with the files?

Narratives are donated through a conversationally-based delivery system to a representative of JOBS who will transcribe them in annotated form in real time. The resulting document is then filed and made available to future participants who may help to grow them independently or through consultation with JOBS by posing new questions via written addenda.

Eventually, the collected stories will be rendered in prosaic form in the official, peer reviewed Journal of Bureaucratic Stories.

How exactly does the “donation of the narrative” work?

Someone comes in and shares a legend/story/tale with the JOBS representative. Notes are then diligently taken by the JOBS representative on the official JOBS intake form, which helps to break the story down into narrative elements for easy historical storage.

Following this is an optional “addendum stage” where viewers/readers of the archive are invited to read these notes and question “what is missing” (i.e., the protagonists age, what time of day the story happened, how big the room was, what year it was, how ripe the mango was, whatever comes to that person’s mind, etc.), and note these inquiries/comments as an addendum. These addenda will then be collected in the same file, available to be referenced by future participants, and the cycle will continue.

Here are some sample excerpts from the documents collected during Office Work:

20150411_120544-e1429365844473-640x360

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150411_120601-e1429365862889-640x360

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150411_120640-e1429365901451-640x360

20150411_120812-e1429372368472-640x360

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150411_120836-e1429372306606-640x360

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Installation and event views :


RADIATIONS 24, Laptopradio

Tarot reading on the radio, RADIATIONS 24, radio program by Emma Souarce and Alexandra Roger, LAPTOPRADIO, Geneva, Switzerland, 2014

Special Radio Program by A. Roger and E. Souarce, a two-day non-stop live broadcast with guest artists, sound artists, music and various events. Laptop Radio is an independent radio project based in Geneva that you can find more about here : laptop radio.

At this occasion, TBCS proposed to read tarot on the radio for three persons for approximately one hour total. The guests were asked to previously think about a question to ask to the tarot (in their minds).

You can download the podcast of Tarot Reading on the radio here (coming soon).

1512374_290635907772654_4358059523067392859_n-210x300

Sound as Commentary – Marc Weidenbaum and the Sonic Frame

sonic-frame-sideview-640x360

This interview was conducted via correspondence between Niki Korth and Marc Weidenbaum, a San Francisco-based writer, artist, educator, and facilitator who works in sound, media, technology, and community building. The topic of our conversation is the work Sonic Frame, which Weidenbaum was invited to produce for the San Jose Museum of Art’s Momentum exhibition (2 October – 22 February 2015). For Momentum, which marks the museum’s 45th anniversary, the SJMA invited local artists to create a new work in response to a work from the museum’s permanent collection that would be on display as part of the exhibition.

Sonic Frame is a ¨response¨ to the silent video work Untitled #8, 2004 by Josh Azzarella, which depicts a single, floating, abstract form, seemingly frozen in movement at the center of the frame. Upon reading the text on the wall, one learns that this form is that of an unidentified human figure, caught in his or her downward flight from one of the windows of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001.

But what happens if one does not read the text on the wall, what do they see in this image? What do they hear in its silence? What might a collective response sound like, and how is it altered through an awareness of the subject matter?

Fueled by these questions, the following digital conversation unfolded with Weidenbaum regarding the two works in question, and the 21 different scores from composers around the world that were produced to fill the silence of the frame. The musicians involved in Sonic Frame are Taylor Deupree, Van Stiefel, Natalia Kamia, Naoyuki Sasanami, Carlos Russell, Mark Rushton, Paolo Mascolini (Sōzu), Stephen Vitiello, Steve Roden, ævol, Marcus Fischer, Julia Mazawa, the duo of Westy Reflector and Lee Rosevere, Ezekiel Kigbo (The Atlas Room), Steiner (Stijn Hüwels), Christina Vantzou, Scanner, Inlet (Cory K.), Jean Reiki, Marco Raaphorst, and Bad Trails. Those 21 scores were selected from around 80 total, the majority of which were developed as part of a multi-year and ongoing online community of weekly experimental music projects that Weidenbaum founded and moderates. That music community is named the Disquiet Junto.

Q: The SJMA describes the Momentum exhibition as one that ¨disrupts the status quo¨ by inviting artists to ¨intervene¨ on the works from their permanent collection that are on display by responding to them through the creation of new works. Do you consider your work to function as a disruption, in this context? What do you see as the function of disruptions and interventions within art practice more generally, in particular as they pertain to sound?

A: I’m personally a bit hesitant about the specific word “disrupt” because of its current broad use, perhaps its overuse, as an adopted term of tech jargon. Even in tech jargon it’s a meaningful and useful term, but for every useful employment there are dozens that are less than informed, more received, less considered. But more generally, yeah, certainly: this work, like the other work in the Momentum exhibit, was generated as an act of disruption, as the word was specifically employed by the fine folks at the San Jose Museum of Art. I think the museum’s use of the word was a solid choice — the museum is at the heart of Silicon Valley, and this approach to the world, this upending of systems, is very much on the minds of many of the people who visit the museum, the people who drive by it every day, the people who live and work in its vicinity.

The goal of the interventions was to develop something original that influences the audience’s reception of the source work. “Intervention” is a word that the museum also employed, in addition to “disrupt,” and I personally connected a bit more to “intervention” than to “disrupt.” I like the idea of intervening between the original work and the spectator, the idea of being an “active spectator,” somewhere between the original artist and traditional spectator. I am quite engaged by the idea of appropriative musicians, those who work with pre-existing material, being what I like to call “active listeners,” and I saw this project as being something of an “active viewer” — someone who has an impression of what they view, in this case Azzarella’s video, and expresses that impression by making something in response.

I use the phrase “sound as commentary” a lot to describe this process, that there’s a non-verbal yet still sonic way to communicate ideas. The original video is silent and singular, and I worked on something that is sonorous and has myriad points of view. I think anything that reminds people that the art on the wall is the start of a process as much as the end of one is a good thing. We tend to think of art as the culmination of artistic intent, and it’s great to have an opportunity to make active and to present the idea that art builds on art, as well as the fact that our perception of a work can be influenced in many ways by external circumstances. I think that sound is a particularly useful tool in such a scenario because there is always a sonic content for work, even work that is intended to be silent, and drawing attention to that activity can be thought-provoking, informative, disorienting.

Q: Did you select Azzarella’s Untitled #8, 2004 as the work you would respond to in this project, or was it selected for you? If you did select it, describe the process of making the selection, including details about how the encounter between you and the work took place.

A: I selected the work. When I was invited by the museum to participate, I was sent a list of work from the museum’s permanent collection that would be in the exhibit and asked to select from that list. There was a work in the museum’s collection I had in mind, Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin’s magnificent “Listening Post,” but it turned out that piece wasn’t to be part of this exhibit.

My first conscious experience of this Azzarella video was as a color screen shot in a PDF sent to me by the museum. It was one piece among several dozen works to be displayed in the eventual exhibit. The shot looked familiar, but I wasn’t sure if I’d seen it before. I’m still not 100 percent sure if I had ever seen it before they sent me the PDF. I noted from the brief accompanying description that it was a video, and sound didn’t appear to be a constituent part. I could have asked the museum at that stage of the process to display the video for me, so I could preview it, but it being 2014 I just went to the artist’s website and located it, and in addition to being taken by it, I confirmed it had no score of its own. That fulfilled a desire of mine, that I could add music to something where music didn’t previously exist. I am particularly interested when art is displayed in a museum or gallery what is and isn’t listed as being a constituent part — you know, like on the wall text alongside it. Often you’ll see a video shown in a gallery, and it’ll list details about the film, but not even mention the sound, or it’ll note the composer of the score, but not mention whether or not the music was composed specifically for the piece. If you’re interested in sound, a museum or gallery setting is often filled with half-told stories.

sound-art-museum-1024x467

Q: Did you have any contact with Azzarella regarding this piece?

A: Yes, I did. We had a very long, positive and helpful — helpful for me — conversation. I received an email from him early in the production process. The museum owns the work, all the work in the Momentum exhibit, and thus has a certain freedom with it that it wouldn’t with, say, a visiting exhibit from another museum. Notifications were sent to, I believe, all the living artists who had work in the show that was going to be the subject of one or another intervention — there were ten intervention works in all. It’s quite an expansive exhibit with a lot of moving parts. The museum wasn’t, I believe, asking for the original artists’ permission, just letting them know something would be occurring.

Part of the production process for my work was engaging with a large online music community that I moderate, the Disquiet Junto, in the development of original works of music to accompany the film. When the project was underway, Azzarella apparently listened to some of the music and shot me an email saying that he felt some of it fit the video quite well, and that if I wanted to discuss his original piece, if I would find that to be of use, he was up for it. I don’t think he could have worded it any more warmly or generously. He essentially was saying that if I felt it would help, then let’s talk, but if I felt it wouldn’t, that was cool with him.

And then we had a very long conversation about his development of the original video, in which he told me an enormous amount about its conception, development, production, exhibition, and reception. The main, direct way the conversation influenced the finished work was that initially I was going to have interstitial title cards displayed between each score, but after talking with him I decided to have the video run continuously and to put the name of the composer at the bottom of the screen for a moment each time a new score began. This change was because I learned how much the continuous repetition of the work was central to his conception. I wanted to “disrupt” the original, but I didn’t want to do so in a manner that was meaninglessly, ignorantly disrespectful of it.

Q: What was your initial reaction to the subject matter in Untitled #8, 2004, given that it depicts the form of a single, unidentified person leaping from one of the collapsing towers of the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001, frozen in motion in the center of the frame? How did your feelings about the image change over the course of the composition of Sonic Frame? What was your personal experience of 9/11, in particular, your reaction to the manner in which the event was portrayed in the media?

A: I didn’t fully understand, didn’t confirm, that this was the source until well into the project. I was reared academically in the New Criticism, as an English major, where work is considered unto itself, devoid of its original context, and while I don’t really adhere to that myself — one of my great pleasures is interviewing musicians, artists, coders, which is sort of the opposite approach — I did in this case. Even before beginning to look at any of the work in that PDF overview of the exhibit, I planned to avoid learning too much about it. I wanted to respond to the work as I might in a museum setting, where you see something on a wall and, short of looking it up on your smartphone, often have little if any other information about it.

I am pretty familiar with the holdings of the San Jose Museum of Art. I am a big admirer of the museum, and when I realized that none of the few pieces I strongly associate with the museum would be in the exhibit, I wanted just to see what, among the pieces that would be in the exhibit, I had a strong, quick, positive response to. The second I saw the still frame, just one small still frame, in the PDF, it had this beauty to it, like a cold glass of water, like an open window. I had no knowledge at that moment what the source was, it was so abstract, so tiny in the initial reproduction. Then I noted the absence of sound in the original, and that absence was very welcome to me, because of my interest in the role of sound in media. I wanted to fill that void. I’m not sure my feelings changed significantly, because I’m not really sure what my feelings were. My main feeling was engagement, enthusiasm, the mix of pleasure and anxiety that accompanies such an opportunity, to work with this museum I admire, to work with these musicians I admire, to perhaps give their work a broader and different listenership than it might have otherwise.

As for my personal experience of 9/11, like many people, I saw it reported on television. I lived in New Orleans at the time, and there was a TV at the foot of the bed, which every morning, quite early, was tuned to the news. It was a clear beautiful day in New Orleans, just as it was in New York City, and suddenly it happened. That’s a pretty huge question about how it was portrayed in the media, and I’m not sure I’m really equipped to give a useful answer. It was chaos. That’s my impression: chaos. When horrible things happen, the first thought that usually occurs to me is, “Hug your loved ones.”

falling-man-google-image-screengrab-640x360

Q: Are you familiar with Hakim Bey’s Divining Violence, where he discusses the idea that art can have the same magical potency as a terrorist act, but toward life instead of death?

In the text, he writes: “Terrorism has a lot in common with magic. Of course real people suffer in terrorist events – but the telos, the ultimate end, of terrorism is usually not the actual victims but the image of the victims, which will cause fear in others and force them to act or not act in certain ways. A murdered czar may be more useful here than a dead bystander, but ultimately any death will suffice. In ritual black magic there is also a victim. You may argue that magic doesn’t work, but that’s not the issue. In both terrorism and magic, an image is produced onto a field of (un)consciousness and used to manipulate it to bring about real change in the world. The process itself need not reach anyone’s full consciousness (not even the magician’s) in order to succeed statistically.”

Does this quotation resonate with you in the context of Untitled #8, 2004 and Sonic Frame, or your work more broadly?

A: I am mostly aware of Bey because he worked with the musician Bill Laswell, whom I admire quite a bit. Bey’s focus on “magic” is a bit beyond my own skeptical optimist take on the world, but I can clearly see how what Bey says connects to essential threads in the writing of Don DeLillo, like in his novels Mao II and Libra and Cosmopolis, which are concerned with various countenances of terror, not to mention the secular-spiritual effect of the “airborne toxic event” in White Noise, the existential hot zone that results. I think that what Bey calls “magic” would, in DeLillo’s work, surface as a network effect. What Bey describes as being short of “full consciousness” would, in DeLillo’s more rationalist — un-magical — literary scenarios be a kind of ambient awareness, a systemic sensation. DeLillo’s writings about systems definitely inform my experience of and attention to bureaucracies, which I’m fascinated by, and thus my enjoyment of creating and moderating the “network” that is the Disquiet Junto community.

Q: What do you recollect about what Azzarella told you regarding the conception, development, production, exhibition, and reception of Untitled #8, 2004? Especially as they relate to the central importance of the video being played in a continuous loop?

A: We had such a good, long talk, and there was so much he shared. He confirmed that it was, indeed, footage from 9/11, the same image that DeLillo, among others, described as the “Falling Man.” I had had an idea to ask folks to use text from DeLillo as source material, but when we had such a sizable response to the first Junto assignment, it wasn’t remotely necessary, or even useful, to create any additional prompts.

Azzarella mentioned when we spoke that when he first created the work he was told, I believe in graduate school, that this video would never be subsequently shown because of the material in it. But of course time passes. I grew up watching Hogan’s Heroes and M.A.S.H., which were television situation comedies about World War II and the Korean War. There’s nothing inherently funny about Azzarella’s work or the work we did in response to it. I’m just noting that at some point, we as a culture process what was once tumultuous and we get enough distance from it that, through art and narrative, storytelling and humor, reworkings and new vantages, we address it in ways that would have been difficult to fathom at the time of the original occurrence — or perhaps more to this specific point, we connect, for example, back to the black comedy that was only really possible in the midst of the events.

Anyhow, when Azzarella and I talked, he described the technical effort to adjust the original video material so the figure is always facing up, and the decision to go without any sound — apparently he usually uses sound in his work, so this was an anomaly. And he talked about the desire that the video loop, which is two and a half minutes long, be taken to the extreme that, when possible, the piece is simply turned on when the exhibit begins and turned off when it’s over, whether that’s a day or a week or months later. Of course, I don’t think that’s entirely possible always, because the repeated image will just destroy — be burned into — the screen after some time. Maybe that’s what he was after, I suppose, though he didn’t suggest it, let alone say it, and given how detailed our discussion was, I think it would have come up.

Q: What are your thoughts on the function of scarcity as well as sharing in the context of art, in particular, sound and moving image art that is rendered digitally? For example, the fact that Untitled #8, 2004 was available to be viewed freely on Azzarella’s website, and yet the DVD of it is property of the SFMA, and they gave you a specific request to pass on to Disquiet Junto participants that they should not post online any synced videos with Azzarella’s piece and their compositions?

By owning it the museum acquires the power to determine the conditions in which it may be scored (and these scored versions shared). As an artist working in ¨intangible¨ media, and also a proponent of Creative Commons licensing and sharing culture, how do these ideas resonate with you? Do you have any tension with or between them?

A: I think the Creative Commons is great because it allows people a simple, straightforward, “turnkey” way to open the floodgates to new forms of distribution and, should they choose, collaboration, specifically the asynchronous, semi-witting collaboration we call “derivative works.” I struggle for an alternate to the word “derivative” because I think it is tonally at cross-purposes with what Creative Commons is trying to achieve, but so be it. Creative Commons exists as an amendment to, an adjustment of, a parallel path to traditional copyright. I certainly wish that more work was more freely accessible for adoption, but I don’t deny that we live in a world that is largely structured around ownership.

There is, sure, an interesting tension between the fact that the artist has it online and the museum owns one of a few official copies of it. The museum has its wishes, and I was happy to work in adherence to them. Working within constraints is at the heart of the Disquiet Junto. I’m very interested in how restraints fuel creativity. That is one of the core aspects of Oulipo, which was a big influence on the development of the Junto. That tension in Oulipo is not unlike the one you cite in regard to a museum’s possession of an infinitely reproducible item. On the one hand, Oulipo often is about adapting existing texts, about transforming them, which is to say taking possession of them, which is to say not fully respecting the concept of copyright. Yet at the same time it is about rigorous rule-based formulations, which is to say working within some sort of tidy artistic law. So on the one hand Oulipo flouts the law, and on the other hand it willfully submits itself to a kind of law — it is, in fact, defined by that submission.

Q: A majority of the scores that you selected came from responses to a prompt in your Disquiet Junto project where you invited composers to compose a score to this video, resulting in seventy different compositions. Of these, you selected 14 to be a part of Sonic Frame. How did you make these selections?

A: I had even more work to select from than I had imagined. There was one Junto project to develop original pieces to complement the film, and I think we had about 70 contributions by as many musicians, produced in just over four days. I had expected half as many, even fewer, and had prepared a second assignment to broaden the field, but the result was so rich, I felt no need to go forward with a second or third related project. For the second project I was going to be more direct, more prescriptive than with the first project. For the second project I was going to pinpoint a series of key time-coded instances in the video, and to ask the composers to emphasize those moments as transitional points in the scores they composed.

Each Junto project is different. As I respond to your questions, we’re just starting the 161st weekly such assignment, with almost 4,000 tracks by more than 500 participants, and that’s not counting all the tracks that have been removed for space requirements of individual accounts, or the participant accounts that have gone away for one reason or another. I selected the 14 Junto-produced tracks for the Sonic Frame piece based on more criteria than I am fully conscious of. I wanted variety, and I knew there would be batches of work that had a particular feel — lovely, or hallucinatory, or ecstatic — and I tried to find for each broadly defined approach some exemplary, distinct pieces.

sonic-void-screen-shot-2-640x360

Q: 7 of the scores were directly commissioned by you from composers associated with the Disquiet Junto. Please describe these works, their composers, and the manner in which they were commissioned (i.e., what sort of direction did you give to the composers?)

A: The seven scores that were directly commissioned were the result of the same simple assignment that the Junto members worked from: to create an original score to accompany the video. I should say that while 14 were selected from the Junto project and seven were requested separately, there is some grey area. It’s often the case when a Junto project goes up that I have certain participants in mind. I’ve met only a small percentage of Junto participants, but I have a feel for the work of many of them, and when a given project goes live — even when it’s under development — I have a sense of individuals I am hopeful will be receptive to it. On rare occasion I’ll even communicate with them, usually via Twitter, sometimes via individual email, to encourage participation. More often, though, I’ll just see if I was correct, if the project did connect with them. It’s a good internal test, or check, of my abilities as a community organizer. As well, some of the people who created original scores for Sonic Frame as the result of a direct commission had previously participated in the Junto, and I just reached out to give them another chance at it, if they hadn’t done so the first time around. Otherwise they were simply individuals whose work I admire and I very much wanted to see if they would participate. I contacted each by email. Six were initially engaged, and then just before the piece was due for completion, I happened to see Julia Mazawa perform at the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, and I contacted her at very close to the last minute to see if she could join in, and she did, which was great, especially because it turns out she’s from the Bay area and has fond memories of visiting the San Jose Museum of Art in her youth.

Q: The scores that you collected are divided into 3 sets of 7, which all play in loops, on separate monitors. Can you describe how the different ¨sets¨ are formed, and how the pieces contained in each relate to one another?

A: Each video has its own distinct set of seven scores. The three sets of seven scores were developed to maximize variety and audience interest. Each set, in addition, was sequenced to have the greatest possible number of distinct voices — distinct flavors of sound — in rotation, and for the start and stop of the tracks to be as distinct as possible, stylistically. That is, I wanted there to be no ambiguity when a given track ended and the next began. These may be mixtapes of a sort but they aren’t “continuous” mixtapes. And each of the three sets features at least one well-known musician, in the hopes that someone passing by the work might happen to notice the name and check out the selection.

Q: Are the individual compositions available online? If so, could you provide links for them here?

A: Most of the compositions that were used can be found here on the project page for that Disquiet Junto project, which also contains the full breadth of compositions that were not included in the final Sonic Frame. The only ones not on that page are the 7 that were commissioned directly.

writing-on-the-wall-726x1024

 

Creative Commons DIY Salon – I Can Do Anything Badly, 2015

DIY Salon – I Can Do Anything Badly

On Friday 13 February 2015, TBCS organized a Creative Commons DIY salon at Park Life Gallery. The salon featured local artists who celebrate inexperience, sharing culture, and self-taught expertise in projects ranging from publishing and printmaking, to web-based collaborative music communities, to building open source libraries and visualizations.

The salon also celebrated the San Francisco launch of I Can Do Anything Badly 2: Learning By Doing is a Shared Responsibility, a Creative Commons licensed artist’s book by Hoël Duret & The Big Conversation Space, designed by Frédéric Teschner, which features conversational interviews in English and French about DIY culture; from computer programming and independent publishing, to Wikipedia and furniture design. Read the book online here.

image_manager__w805h535_icdab2_2

Featured speakers at the Salon:

Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996. It focuses on the intersection of sound, art, and technology. His book Selected Ambient Works Volume II, about the Aphex Twin album of that name, was published by Bloomsbury in 2014 as part of the 33 1/3 series. He has written for Nature, the website of The Atlantic, Boing Boing, Down Beat, and numerous other publications. His artwork has been exhibited in the San Jose Museum of Art; Gallery of Light DUCTAC, Dubai; Crewest Gallery, Los Angeles; and apex art gallery, Manhattan. He initiated and moderates the Disquiet Junto group, where since 2012 musicians respond on SoundCloud to weekly Oulipo-style restrictive compositional projects. Since 2012 he has taught a course he developed on the role of sound in the media landscape at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, where he lives.

Originally from Minneapolis, Carissa Potter lives and works in Oakland, California. Her prints and small-scale objects reflect her hopeless romanticism through their investigations into public and private intimacy. Speaking both humorously and poignantly to the human condition, Carissa’s work touches chords we all can relate to – exploring situations we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives and conveying messages we simply long to hear. Carissa Potter is a founding member of Colpa Press and founder of People I’ve Loved. Since 2010, she has been an artist in residence at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, where she teaches letter­press. She also serves as a mentor in Southern Exposure’s One-on-One Mentorship Program. Carissa received her MFA in Printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2010.

Mahmoud Hashemi is lead developer of the Python Infrastructure team at eBay/PayPal, where he focuses his development and instruction energies on service frameworks, API design, and system resiliency. Outside of work, he enjoys coding on his open-source projects, as well as creating and maintaining several Wikipedia-based projects, such as Listen To Wikipedia and The Weeklypedia.

Luca Nino Antonucci lives and works in San Francisco, California. He received his MFA from the San Fracisco Art Institute in 2010 and is a resident artist at Basement. He is editor and co-founder of Colpa Press, an independent publishing company specializing in art books. He has exhibited his own work widely in San Francisco, New York and Berlin.

Channeling the media

Channeling the media, pour une hantologie de la télévision

A lecture and screening of videos by The Big Conversation Space

Channeling the media was originally created on the invitation of artists Adrien Guillet and Camille Tsvetoukhine, for their performance series Hanter Belleville, Biennale de Belleville III, 2014.

It is a proposition to consider our relationship with the media today as hauntologic, after Derrida’s concept of hauntology.

For technical reasons the performance was cancelled within the Biennale and was then hosted by A Constructed World’s “Salon Jackie”, an informal lecture series in their studio in Paris.

Videos screened during the lecture available below.
channeling_salon_jackie

channeling3

I Can Do Anything Badly 2

I Can Do Anything Badly 2: Learning by doing is a shared responsibility

An editorial project by Hoël Duret, with The Big Conversation Space and Frédéric Teschner.

Through conversations with artists, designers, publishers, lawyers, a sociologist, a programmer, and a filmmaker, this book aims to put in common the strategies, methodologies, motivations, and experiences of a wide range of young creators in order to document the spirit of DIY in the digital age.

In so doing, we aim also to put the conversations and methodologies of open source and free culture in dialogue with contemporary art and design practice.

Printed version released in June 2014 in Paris, and February 2015 in San Francisco. The San Francisco launch took place at the Creative Commons DIY Salon.

Printed in Montreuil, France on risograph: 200 copies. Available on request.

ICDAB II is also an online publication available HERE

image_manager__w805h535_icdab2_2 image_manager__w805h535_icdab2_4 image_manager__w805h535_icdab2_1_1

 

 

 

The Tarot of Chance : une lecture en différé

The Tarot of Chance : une lecture en différé

Lancement de la revue VOLUME numéro spécial, Hiver 2014 / Launch of Volume magazine, Winter 2014

chez Treize, Paris | 17 January 2014

In the performance The Tarot of Chance : une lecture en différé, the tarot is read to a visitor by one performer in English in San Francisco via Skype and another performer translating to the visitor in French in the gallery space in Paris. A delay is created, both in time and in language, and the mediation of the discourse plays with its own limits. Through this display of tarot, we question the process of making choices and how interactions with others and with media can constitute them.

 

volume

IMG_0623-764x1024
photo-640x360

IMG_0620-640x360

 

Robot Demos – A Script for Two Actors

Robot Demos – A Script for Two Actors

We are betrayed by technology. The media is trying to conceal our fundamental and structural inability to communicate. The story of Robot Demos deals with a robot, a plot, a psychoanalyst, a scientist, a double-agent, a librarian, philosophy, chess, an art manifesto, a young revolutionary, prophesied profits, real-dolls, a joke, and what robots might have to say about democracy.

Robot Demos – A Script for Two Actors was printed in an edition of 50 posters screen-printed by artist Quentin Lannes in December 2013, on a proposition by Lannes at the occasion of the event Ouverture d’atelier, artiste invité Quentin Lannes, Chez Julie Fortier, Studio Prouff, Rennes, France, 12 December 2013.

The poster/booklet is available to print at home here.

2013-12-03-16.00.17-764x1024

unfolding sharpened
last page cropped

Robot IPO brighter_764x1024

Shared Feedback : Design + Technology Salon

The first launch of  The Tarot of (Technological) Chance took place at the San Francisco Art Institute during the Shared Feedback Design + Technology Salon in April 2013.

On this occasion, TBCS collaborated with scholar John Mowitt from the University of Leeds to develop the Tarot of Chance card deck and experimental tarot reading structure, depicted in the graphic below:

tarot-diagram-1024x843

This first manifestation of the Tarot of Chance initially harbored more satire than what has come to be the standard earnestness of most readings. Prior to the salon, TBCS described their plans as follows:

Due to the powerful and untested nature of the psychic rays that will be exchanged between the cards and the players, the readings will be mediated through what I’m calling an analog Skype set-up involving TV monitors, rotary phones, and closed circuit cameras. For everyone’s safety, reader and seeker will not have visual or acoustic contact outside of system which also requires a distance of at least 100 feet during time of reading.

The tarot itself is a spin on conventional tarot, with a focus on technology and its role in decision making and psychical well-being. Note that “technology” is a concept we approach very broadly with special emphasis on the technology of language, writing systems, the alphabet, etc.

As the salon unfolded, however, it became clear that what the audience sought were face-to-face conversations, where the symbology of the cards and ritual of calling The Great Beyond provided sufficient abstraction to protect all involved from the untested psychic rays. The closed circuit video system, rather then serving as the mechanism through which the reading takes place, became a tool of extension for the reading – broadcasting the image to another room while keeping the substance, the speech of the conversation, in the private space shared between seeker and reader.

Photos by Alyn Divine

dsc_3208

dsc_3212

dsc_3225

dsc_3245

dsc_3247

yael-hand

What the Monkey says no one pays attention to

What the Monkey says no one pays attention to

Exhibition curated by Marie Gautier and Clémence de Montgolfier @ TCB Gallery, Melbourne, Australia, November 2012

Through What the Monkey says no one pays attention to, Gautier and de Montgolfier aimed to address the issues of absurd imitation, bodily embarrassment, disregarded discourses, and to embrace the ridicule as a practice in itself.

Some historians argue that the figure of Harlequin in European theater was not inspired by ancient Greece but was a re-make of the traditional figure of the monkey from the Middle Ages in China (based on records of travels at the time). One of the most famous monkeys being Sun Wukong, the Monkey King who appeared prominently as a main character in the 16th century classical Chinese novel Journey to the West. The monkey in these contexts was used as a critic of political authority and power relations. In French, the word “singer”, literally means acting like a monkey, and is used to evoke an action of mimicking to turn something or someone into ridicule. The mask of the Harlequin in Venice becomes a declination of a monkey mask where the figure of the artist-monkey uses mimicry to reveal the shortcomings of the authority in power, becoming a common trope in western theater and cinema.

In this context, What the Monkey says no one pays attention to invites artists, poets, writers, thinkers, singers to take a hold of what they want to say and how they want to move, using already-known forms, formats and bodies to make them say something else. The body is political; the body is shaped by language. By giving legitimacy to illegitimate practices, by taking seriously what is frivolous and by considering the scientific in what is absurd, we want to think again what we believed was already thought through, as only the Monkey can remind us to do.

With A Constructed World, Raul Paulino Baltazar, Chris Corrente, Arthur Fléchard, Dora Garcia, Sharon Goodwin, Anna Hess, Niki Korth, Laith Mc Gregor, Elsa Philippe, Matthew Rana & Eric Garduno, Yann Sérandour, Fabrice Reymond, Speech and What Archive, The Big Conversation Space, Fabien Vallos, and Daniel Yovino

For What the monkey says… TBCS hosted sessions of The Big Conversation Game, inviting visitors to come together and speak freely, whether as Monkeys, dilettantes, or anything in between.

img_4947-1024x683

TBCS also contributed a video reading from Franz Kafka’s Report for an Academy (1917)

The Big Conversation Paper

FR//
Pouvez-vous ne pas m’oublier
 ? THE BIG CONVERSATION PAPER #1 est le premier numéro d’un journal indépendant, à parution irrégulière, publié par The Big Conversation Space et auto-financé. Il est bilingue, chacune ne parlant pas complètement la langue de l’autre. Il propose des textes, au sein d’un espace discursif, des traces de conversations passées; mais il est aussi une tentative de diffuser, d’engager, de reprendre la conversation. Au sein d’un espace artistique saturé, nous tentons de résister contre le sentiment d’illégitimité dans la prise de parole. Nous n’en savons pas beaucoup plus que vous, et nous n’avons pas quelque chose de particulier à dire. Nous pensons que la conversation n’est possible que dans l’espace qui est laissé à l’autre. Nous pensons que l’œuvre peut exister au sein de cet espace.

De quoi voulez-vous parler ?

EN//
Can you not forget me
? THE BIG CONVERSATION PAPER # 1 is the first, and thus far only, issue of an independent newspaper with an irregular publication schedule, created and self-funded by The Big Conversation Space. The paper is bilingual,  since its editors are each unable to speak the language of the other completely. It offers texts and a discursive space laden with traces of past conversations, but it is also an attempt to distribute, initiate, and resume the conversation. In an artistic climate that is closed to free and tangible discourse, we aim to resist against the sense of illegitimacy in speaking. We do not know any more than you, and we do not have anything special to say. We believe that the conversation is only possible in the space that is left to another. We believe that the work can exist within this space.

What do you want talk about?

Printed in an edition of 20 in 2011 in Angers, France. The printed version of The Big Conversation Paper #1 is no longer available to give, but you can download the PDF version here.

p1010611

BIG CONVERSATION PAPER EXCERPT 1big conversation paper excerpt 2

big conversation paper excerpt 3

Phoenix Hotel

Phoenix Hotel Conversations

A video document of conversations hosted by Niki Korth at the Phoenix Hotel in San Francisco, May 2012. Korth asked visitors questions about art, politics, philosophy, everyday life, fantasies, and various other topics and recorded their replies and ensuing conversation. Questions were written down on cards that then formed the base for The Big Conversation Game which, unbeknownst at the time, TBCS would develop the following summer.

This video-documentation was edited and sub-titled in French by Clémence de Montgolfier mere days after it was recorded and files were sent to her in France. The video has similarly been exhibited in France, but not yet in California where it was recorded. It was projected in Mulhouse, France, as parts of the Mulhouse 012 Biennale in 2012, and was shown in Paris during the Jeune Creation exhibition at Cent Quatre in 2014, in a video screening curated by Kevin Senant.

 

TASTE! Food. Art. Conversation.

In April of 2010, TBCS* was invited by curator Crystal Nelson to participate via conversation performances in TASTE! Food. Art. Conversation at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. 

TASTE! was described as  “an exclusive, all-sensory tour that is certain to give you something to talk about. Three Bay Area-based artists converge in YBCA’s Grand Lobby for a site-specific, collaborative installation using food, art and conversation to respond to the exhibitions on view in the first floor galleries TASTE!  includes an interactive salon hosted by The Big Conversation Space, hand-crafted spring lemon elixirs by Dori Latman and a global papaya excursion with Chef Ta-Wei Lincurator of the “cultural liberation” brunch at Doc’s Clock.”

4_img0050 4_img0052 4_img0061 4_img0070

*For the record: TBCS had not yet formed at the time of this invitation, and subsequently materialized/concretized during the exhibition.

Teaser

The Big Conversation Space Teaser, 2010

We talk, a tape recording is made, diligent secretaries listen to our words to refine, transcribe and punctuate them, creating a first draft that we can tidy up afresh before it goes on to publication, a book eternity. Haven’t we just gone through the “toilet of the dead” ?

Robot Demos

Robot Demos

a collection of scenarios, ongoing

Robot Demos will be a series of mini videos, based on the eponymous play/scenario written by TBCS in 2011.

We are betrayed by technology. The media is trying to conceal our fundamental and structural inability to communicate. The story deals with a robot, a plot, a psychoanalyst, a scientist, a double-agent, philosophy, chess, an art manifesto, a young revolutionary, prophesized profits, real-dolls, a joke, and what robots might have to say about democracy.

Episode 1 :

with Daniel Yovino, and Alyn Divine as Filmmaker

24 Questions Concerning Manifestoes


5.83x8.26_Front_ENOK_SMALLER
24 Questions Concerning Manifestoes

Self published in 2011, print-on-demand, available as a soft cover publication at here or a free PDF here.

This book was written at the occasion of the exhibition MANIFESTOES, curated by Melanie Kress at Concrete Utopia Project Space in Brooklyn, New York in 2011.

 

In 24 Questions Concerning Manifestoes, TBCS creates a discursive manifesto about/against manifestoes through discussing a range of questions on the topic, including:

Could a Manifesto exist without words? What do we want from a Manifesto? To change the world? Proclaim the self? Glory? Feedback? Do we need to define what we want and what we claim in order to be a group? Do we even need to want and claim anything? Could a non-dogmatic Manifesto possibly emerge in the quasimilitary social structure of a starship crew? Could space travelers/space travel be the antidote to the restless, revolutionary-focused (and thereby unfocused) energy of our generation?

 

 

The Green Book

background_web-white-640x360

The Green Book of The Big Conversation Space, 2012

50 copies printed in Nancy, FR, August 2012 (funded by CAC Synagogue de Delme)

self-edited and available at print-on-demand here or download the entire volume here (large file)

REGARDING THE GREEN BOOK
The Green Book of the Big Conversation Space is a hybrid of non-fiction and science-fiction, composed of transcribed interviews and imaginary conversations with artists, parents, and clones. As a French-English text, its structure and form emphasize the role of interpretation in translation and transcription and embrace the impossibility of flawless transmission.

À PROPOS DU LIVRE VERT (THE GREEN BOOK)
Le Livre Vert de TBCS (The Green Book of The Big Conversation Space) est un hybride de document réel et de fiction voir science-fiction, composé de retranscriptions d’interviews et de conversations imaginaires avec des artistes, des parents, et des clones. En tant que texte franco-anglais, sa structure et sa forme mettent en évidence le rôle de l’interprétation propre aux actes de traduction et transcription, et embrasse l’impossibilité d’une transmission sans failles.

With/Avec :
A Constructed WorldJean-Baptiste FarkasTony Labat, anonymous parents, Daniel YovinoLaura Hyunhee Kim.

 Green Book excerpt green book excerpt 2 green book excerpt 3

Speech Objects

Speech Objects

cur. Etienne Bernard & A Constructed World,

Pavillon du Musée de l’Objet, Blois, France

Conversations took place on 28 May and 17 September 2011 within the Paper Room by Speech and What Archive, upon an invitation by Marie Gautier.

DSC00910-1024x576

DSC00918-1024x576

DSC01051-640x360

DSC00987-640x360