Thursday, April 8, 2010

Consciousness, art and processes

I just came back from a study circle (lesesirkel) hosted by Bergen performance artist Kurt Johannessen. A little less than 20 people with connection to the art environment (mostly artists) in Bergen attended what became a very in depth and interesting discussion on the text "Maxwells meg" ("Maxwells me") - about consciousness, sub consciousness, the thinking me, the sublime me, artistic processes & art, roles and so on (for about three hours).

It brought me closer to understanding my own intentions of bringing art into the process of making architecture. A process that is means in itself, not that comes to life only once "finished". In a way it is about attitude to work, how you see it, how you listen to everything you do in every moment. In art - often the art comes first, then the understanding of its concept. Art is, among other explanations, immediate presence manifested in every step of the process of making. Kurt explained that he started doing performance art in the early 80s because he found the process more interesting than the finished art product/object; the involvement of the body, raw, immediate, sudden, ephemeral. Art is the process, art is also where the process stops, whether when the performance has to end (time), or which brush stroke finishes the painting. I am interested in using the "tool" of performance, art processes in general, to approach the process of making architecture.

In this context I would like to share an excerpt from Kurt Johannessens article "Verda, kunsten og teorien" (Bergens Tidende, 2007).

"In an article in BT in 2005, Per Boye Hansen talked about art as something that confronted and challenged culture. Art is not a part of the culture, but comes at it and challenges it. Culture hangs stuck in the past. Art is breaking boundaries precisely when it is able to tear itself away from the past and move into new unknown space. Take chances, be uncertain, not knowing.The French philosopher Henri Bergson saw the intellect as an observer to what it recognizes, while intuition penetrates as it acknowledges, in an undivided creative process. Intuition has an immediate and not conceptual character. The intellect measures the time and create symbols in order to understand the world. Instructions, or a map if you wish. The intellect analyzes, sorts out and divides. The intellect can therefore never perceive the whole, but only the different symbols and parts, according to Bergson. The intellect has boundaries. Intuition has no boundaries."

"I ein kronikk i BT i 2005 fortalde Per Boye Hansen om kunsten som noko som konfronterte og utfordra kulturen. Kunsten var ikkje ein del av kulturen, men kjem mot den og utfordrar den. Kulturen heng fast i fortida. Kunsten bryt grenser nettopp når den klarer å rive seg laus frå fortida og gå inn i nye ukjente rom. Ta sjansar, vere usikker, ikkje vite. Den franske filosofen Henri Bergson såg på intellektet som ein observatør til det den erkjenner, medan intuisjonen trenger inn i det den erkjenner, i ein uoppdeleleg kreativ prosess. Intuisjonen har ein umiddelbar og ikkje begrepmessig karakter. Intellektet måler tida og lager symbol for å forstå verda. Ein bruksanvising, eller eit kart om ein vil. Intellektet analyserer, sorterer og deler opp. Intellektet kan derfor heller aldri sanse det heile, men berre dei ulike symbola og delane, i følgje Bergson. Intellektet har avgrensing. Intuisjonen har inga avgrensing."

Words have the power to expand space, also to contact it. Michael Reynolds calls himself a biotect, doing biotecture, though many might call him an architect - it looks like he is doing architecture, however unusual is is constructing houses. Reynolds underlines his different position by saying "no, fuch architects!" (Dagbladet, March 28th). What he is denying is the idea the word architect characterizes today, and he expands space by making up this new word. We don't need to call architecture "sculpture", "song"... or by any other words for it to be art, but maybe the word architecture has to be redefined or new words used or invented for the perception of it to change. Words are only important when you use them - your thought is free, potentially manifested through precise articulation of words.

Sven-Eric Liedman in his book "Stenarna i själen. Form och materia från antiken till idag". Freely translated to English:

"Hegel always gave thought and thinking priority over language. Language is apparently the undeniable medium of thought, but it means that the language expresses thoughts, but are not thoughts in themselves. It is not language but thoughts that separates man from animals"

("Hegel ga alltid tanken og tenkning prioritet framfor språket. Språket er visstnok tankens ubenektelige medium, men det innebærer at språket uttrykker tanker men selv ikke er tanker. Det er ikke språket men tanken som skiller mennesket fra dyrene.")


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