Monday, December 6, 2010

emancipation in four dimensions

Female same-sex experience is a powerful lens through which to seek out the parameters of contemporary emancipation.

How might the practice of making art enable individuals and groups to seek out, understand or catalyse contemporary modes of emancipation? Each light box in All the Cunning Stunts is a working through and an instance of this question as art practice.

When my friend [ ] saw light box pair [14/15] she said ‘there’s a safari in Courtenay Place and I’m invited.’

A street-level safari involves hunting, hiding, looking, wearing camouflage, distracting and being distracted by the extraordinary, or something that stands out, or just the strangeness of the ordinary – the things we take for granted, that we want, or need to own, buy, sell, hold, touch, and believe in.

In these works emancipation resides in a resolve to find alternatives to all-purpose philosophies, behaviours, voices, despotic sub-clauses, even colourful and persuasive bureaucracies that substitute their own Modus operandi in place of emancipation, while still working in its name.

In fact, objects and images in these light boxes work as depots in which voices jostle for attention, sometimes in alignment, in altercation, in curiosity and more often than not in rigorous party-mode.

The traces and out-loud splashes of everyday hedonism reveal emancipation to be always up ahead, in effect celebrating without us. We can’t possibly shake emancipation’s hand, congratulate it on a good year or, as advertising would have us believe, bask in its ‘Out now’ status.

All the Cunning Stunts validates a second look at hedonism because the works readily acknowledge that emancipation is not a place, just as Courtenay Place is not strictly a safari, it merely prompts the conditions of life to make an appearance, to dance, to reveal spectacular fallibility and unbelievable nuance.

The 16 light boxes can further be read as one undulating work. All the Cunning Stunts uses the knowledge and practice of four individuals to track what it is like to ride in the wake of an emancipation that can’t be seen, or even accurately imagined, translated or put to trial, but that is a condition for the perception, declaration and artful practice of everyday extraordinary communal, if not common, life.

What can be said of All the Cunning Stunts is that emancipation is very much something that we are able to play ball with through the practice of art.

1 comment:

  1. So we can catalyse them contemporary modes of emancipation even though they are always ahead of us??
    We are always in their wake?
    I am getting confused about where we are now!

    CAMP LEADER!!!!! Where are ya???? Oh, hang on, I brought an army knife, no, I think I’m ok, ill figure it out thanks, oh, but yeah, thanks, didn’t realise it was one of those easy open cans (readymade?)…. Is that us?

    Contemporary and struggling less, on a societal level, than those who lived in the dark ages of the criminalisation and medicalisation of their lives? But still navigating, negotiating the stumbling blocks of heteronormative expectations, assumptions and misunderstandings (nice word for bigotry?) and always maybe seeking out what you said,, Rach, common understandings of specialness (aw!!!)