Monday, October 15, 2012

Framing the frame, considering fish

There has been an on-going conversation on Martha Rosler & Nato Thompson's FB pages, partly in response to Mira Schor's blog about the Creative Time Summit, which I refer to here as CT.  I linked to Mira's blog on CT in my last post here. On Martha's page the discourse has been about value. On Nato's, it has been about framing. But I think they are the same question about where, as artists, we direct the gaze and what means we use to get there. My take away is that we still aren't thinking clearly about our relationships to the world we live in, which is why I'm looking at fish in Memphis for "Fish Story." I've added some clarification in parens.

Large-mouthed bass have been over-fished in the Mississippi and have to
be artificially stocked to satisfy sports fishermen. The fish are also affected by
contaminants, which are under study:

What I wrote on Nato's page, who invited critique, was as follows:

I think the key issue is framing (which I partially addressed in a previous blog here as the horizontal conference), which is initially set by the organizers and focus (confronting inequity as the stated CT conference topic). There were many wonderful aspects to the "Summit," which I thoroughly enjoyed but some were not as well-thought out as they might have been, for example, what I commented on in my own blog over the BDS protests and how Mosireen co-opted some of the frame. Also what came up in Mira's blog and on Martha's FB page last night about audience interaction.

Conferences have become a far more vital venue for artists than most galleries and therefore the framing/ curatorial issues become more complex than TED. Altho I respect CT's decision, as Anne (Pasternak) described it to me of letting the artists speak for themselves, I think the frame evolved from Friday to Sunday and perhaps, is still evolving here. What still seemed most problematic to me at CT was the (absence of a) group platform to discuss the question of how we determine, who determines inequity. For example, as an ecological artist & environmental activist, I think it's an outdated red herring to discuss capitalism as the overall critique of power, dominance and inequity, when from my point of view, the problem is our anthropocentric presumptions. I would have liked to have seen a more assertive engagement between the organizers, the artists and the wider audience to address those perceptual gaps.

And, may I add here, about why people fish for the vanishing large-mouthed bass, according to the University of Iowa, is how much "fun" it is to see them fight for their survival.

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