a performance + (implied)
An empty pedestal sits in a gallery
The artist enters a gallery space everyday to photographically document the installation
Afterwards, the artist leaves the space; leaving the documentation equipment posed
The artist returns at close to take down the equipment as to prepare for the next day
The performance's duration lasts for the span of the exhibition
A docu-mentation documentation video and photo album are made
Inspired by metaphysical notions surrounding the role of the observer-participator, media theorist Walter Benjamin’s insights into the 'aura' of an art-object, Allan Kaprow's 'happenings' in the art of everyday life, the long-form performative works of Tehching Hsieh and Olafur Eliasson's perception-questioning installations; this piece attempts to document the mentation process of the spectator. The art-object becomes the spectators sensorial and perceptual experience of viewing this nothingness-somethingness.
We live in interesting times where NFTs, virtual galleries, the nearly infinite technological reproducibility of art, and our mediated viewing experiences of art have seemingly diminished our pleasure of perception. Docu-mentation intends to question the intrinsic value of the spectators gaze in the context of a gallery space by installing an empty pedestal and documentation equipment as the implied work of art
Don’t forget to take a picture!
an iterative installation
Each time the piece is 'installed' in novel locations, the docu-mentation process becomes iterative. Often accompanied by a screen displaying the initial docu-mentation video as part of the installation, the piece emerges for the spectator as a self-referential and unavoidable fractalized paradox. Though the amount of cameras/lights and their style may change (which is a notion towards the evolution of sensing and capturing technologies), the spectator and the space they find themselves in (the gallery space) still occupy the same role - being the catalyst for making this precarious experiment an 'art piece'.
Mentation (noun) - "the process of using your mind to consider something carefully; the process or result of mental activity". Documentation (noun) - "material that provides official information or evidence or that serves as a record." "Form is Emptiness and Emptiness is Form. Therefore, Form is not other than Emptiness and Emptiness is not other than Form. The same is true of Feelings, Perceptions, Mental Formations, and Consciousness." - The Heart Sutra, from Zen Buddhist writings. Why, when, where and how does mentation start and end? Can mentation occur without an object to observe - can the observed object be an object of nothingness, and at that point - does the object become the subject (the human mind - the 'who' that is observing)? Can sensing technologies (the camera and a strobe light in this case, electron particle accelerators in other cases) enhance or detract from this process? Is mediated mentation through a piece of technology still mentation? That's to ask, would this art piece exist without a spectator to see it? Would 'reality' exist if there were no one there to observe it? Might one's notion of reality be the outcome of a coherent mental contruction, made by the collective Mind? As it seems there is a speculative start and end to the process of mentation, Docu-mentation intends to evoke such questions of perception. Only the observer can provide their subjective answers through their direct experience of reality. "The human observer constitutes the final link in the chain of observational processes, and the properties of any atomic object can only be understood in terms of the object's interaction with the observer. This means that the classical ideal of objective description of nature is no longer valid. The Cartesian partition between the I and the world, between the observer and the observed, cannot be made when dealing with atomic matter. In quantum physics, we can never speak about nature without, at the same time, speaking about ourselves" - The Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra