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the dialogues (scratching surfaces and moving in circles)

2015

evolving dialogues between a puppet and an artist

various locations: on the train, while shopping, in the gallery, during workshops...

In spring 2015 the dialogues revolved around questions such as: What do you think is art? What is it good for? Tea and cookies.
The Dialogues express the wish to engage with an audience on several levels. A sense of humour is important to me. The puppet often utters opinions contrary to my own. She is able to provoke surprising moments and encounters. This project is evolving, carrying notions of the fool at medival courts, who was the only person to speak the truth to the king.

material: puppet with a wooden head carved by Christof Rieder, Lötschental, Switzerland
custom-made folding chair, steel and canvas, headphones
mp3 recording of the dialogues

excerpt from their conversations:

[the sound of birds, mainly sparrows, fading out, then a monologue]

the Artist: Being an artist is a lonely job full of responsibilities.

Sometime ago I joined a conference on art and the environment. It was lovely. We were a group of people from various countries. We went on excursions together, had breakfast, lunch and dinner together. The sun was shining every day. We enjoyed wine on the terrace. And we talked ail the time, critically, reflective, discursive, until late at night.
Now I’m all alone.

Some artists work in groups. They call it a collective. I don't want to be member of a collective, yet I'd like somebody to discuss and develop ideas with, to give each other critique. And simply to have fun together.

I'm so glad I met you. [appearing from below: the puppet]

the Puppet: Oh, thanks a lot. The pleasure is on my side.

[…]

P: Yes, I'd love to help you. But I don't quite understand. First of all: How can you work site-specific when you're not on site? We're away from that place, so I don't think we can work at all.

A: That's so typical of you, to stop before the start. There are many ways to develop a project. If we cannot be on site, let's work off-site, at least in the beginning.

[…]

P: O.k. Let's look at strategies then. [She sticks the next sheet to the wall. It shows colorful diagrams, and flow charts.]

My question is: What needs to be done in order to create a piece of art these days? I've been checking many journals, books and newsletters and found out:

1.The right attitude: Go big or go home.

2. Be male, or at least a diva. The perfect solution could be an artist couple.

3. Keep it simple.

4. Be funny and eloquent. It doesn't hurt to look good either.

5. Make it bigger and more expensive.

6. Make something impossible to sell and then sell it.

7. Be secretive but feed social media.

8. Have a heavily loaded theoretical frame.

9. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate - with technicians, experts, fellow artists, and together make something participatory.

A: You seem a little cynical there. I think art can be different than that, and that is exactly what they ask from us!

P: Don't you like my artistic strategy? [offended] I'm only trying to help.

A: I appreciate your help. But I don't think you can simply add all these ingredients to achieve 'the perfect practice'. There is no such formula as 'artist collective' + 'participants' ='research events and display of skill and material'.

By the way, do you remember I told you about Claire Bishop's lecture? There she said that a project is considered successful if it leads to another project.

P: If that is your only criteria?

A: Not at all. (...)