Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Carey Young -Donor Card
Frieze 2009

Impossible Exchange (curated by Filipa Oliveira + Miguel Amado) Frieze Projects

“Carey Young once wrote that she explores ‘how the artist’s role, agency and identity could or might need to change in response to the collapsing categories between business, politics and culture’. She has been appropriating corporate ideology and manipulating it in order to examine the era of global capitalism. Recently, she has focused on the law apparatus and its realtionship to civil government. For example, with the assistance of a legal team, she once created a United-States-Constitution-free zone within a New York-based gallery. Contractual agreements with the visitor have been one fo Young’s major strategies, and Donorcard (2005 –ongoing) is one of the works that better represents this aspect of her practice. Wallet-size human organ donor cards in general, and the design of such a document issued by the British NHS in particular, inspired Young in the making of this work. Each time it is on view, Young previously signs a limited edition of Donorcards copies, which are free to take and also have to be signed by the viewer in order to become art, a status that will last only while both of them are alive. In a new instalment of its preservation, for Frieze Projects Young is signing the work at the booth during the VIP preview of FAF. bringing together the language of jurisdiction, authorship, and rituals of collecting, Young comments on the forms of power ruling the art world.

Donorcard was created with the assistance of a legal team comprising Robert Lands of Finers Stephens Innocent LLP and Dr. Jaime Stapleton of Birkbeck College.”

"Mining institutional critique, community-based movements, self-organization traditions, and activism, their proposals address the production of symbolic value in the “age of questioned capitalism” – an expression suggested by the global financial crises. Through their socially engaged practice “impossible exchange” establishes a counter-public sphere that radically envisions change on the economic, political, and cultural levels."

Carey Young Donor Card

By principle in Portugal everyone is an organ donor unless one manifests the will against it to the health ministry (RENNDA) in a system of contracting/out, thus taking advantage of people's natural inertia the country has an enormous potential donors list . In the UK we have a completely different approach, one has to join organ donation. Hence the former has a non donors card, while the latter a donor card.

uk donor card
Politically, we can say in the Portuguese case that the state (even though one has the possibility to sign out) is taking the decision for the citizens by presuming that everyone would want to be an organ donor, whilst in the UK the citizens are accounted for the decision, but then the state has to campaign for people to meet that responsibility. Uk's example seems the most democratic to me, in an horizon of a social responsible society were our relation to others - human beings and not - is constantly being activated and reevaluated, but I also know that most of the time we function in automatic pilot, and that's why the Portuguese example might be more effective for the case presented, but then what does that tell us about a more general political engagement?

Monday, October 26, 2009


photo taken from here

in Germany it is not allowed to have a stall on the street to sell, but if you actually don't have anything on the ground you can make your own business, as this Grill Walkers do. I find interesting the ways people bend the laws :-) and reclaim the public space for their benefit.

see also


Royal Observatory - Greenwich

card from the time and society gallery to stick on the board.

this post is under construction

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Sancho Silva

His work for the 2007 exhibition Depósito. Anotações sobre Densidade e Conhecimento at Reitoria da Universidade do Porto, curated by Paulo Cunha e Silva, was a Street Museum (I am searching the web for information, but it is difficult to find, text or images on the specific piece). I remember calling it a generous piece of art. Basically it was a shelf made of wood, that stood on four legs. On the one side a transparent acrylic surface, on the other a wooden plate, that could be lifted up. Passers-by were suppose to place on the self compartiments whatever they might find interesting, or just happen to have in their pockets, and this would be there on exhibition. The piece was outside the University building, in the public space. It mimicked the academy selves, but had a democratic use.This street furniture or invitation was also close to the famous student Cafe Piolho, so it had plenty use, and also vandalism, it did not last until the end of the exhibition. Still it was a similiar proposition to those I have been doing in my own practice. Invited for an exhibition that dealt with the depot of the Science University, and questions of displaying, preserving and educating, Sancho Silva takes the question to the streets, what is worth to present, protect and discuss?

image of the inside - by MSM

Arte Capital - text (pt)

the photos of the piece are a courtesy of Sancho Silva (see more here)

this post is under construction


Heath Bunting orchard project

Orchard of Avon

I met Heath last summer in Bristol and went on one of his triming tours. He keeps track of the apple trees (which are mainly along the Avon Gorge) and cleans them from parasitical plants. At some point a map of these trees is made public so people can harvest them. I guess this is part of his commitment to nature but also reclaiming this common space - natural ground in the interstices of private and state property. By taking the fruit of the "blind" farmers planting, people are picking the fruit of their own doing :-) for this trees are most probably there because people throw away the apple cores after eating them. There are several phases in this project: the unintentional planting; the identification, listing and nurture of the apple trees and finally the publication of their location and invitation for a public harvest. The public enters first in this last bit, harvesting the fruits of heaths labour, but clearly is invited as well to 'adopt' his own orchard.

Heath Bunting - Avon Orchard map

see also
Irational website

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Felix Gonzales-Torres 1993

The Art of Participation from 1950 to now

"this exhibition examines how artists have engaged members of the public as essential collaborators in the art-making process"

Abramović/Ulay, Vito Acconci, Francis Alÿs, John Baldessari, Joseph Beuys, Blank & Jeron and Gerrit Gohlke, George Brecht, Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Mike Bennett, John Cage, c a l c and Johannes Gees, Janet Cardiff, Lygia Clark, Minerva Cuevas, Maria Eichhorn, VALIE EXPORT, Harrell Fletcher and Jon Rubin, Fluxus Collective, Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, Jochen Gerz, Matthias Gommel, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Dan Graham, Hans Haacke, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Allan Kaprow, Henning Lohner and Van Carlson, Chip Lord, Curtis Schreier, and Bruce Tomb, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer ,Tom Marioni, MTAA (M.River and T.Whid Art Associates), Antoni Muntadas, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Dan Phiffer and Mushon Zer-Aviv, Raqs Media Collective, Robert Rauschenberg, Warren Sack, Mieko Shiomi, Torolab, Wolf Vostell, Andy Warhol, Stephen Willats, Erwin Wurm.

under construction --- will be looking at this SFMOMA exhibition closely ... more soon


Felix Gonzales-Torres (at the SFMOMA show)
Photo: Brita d'Agostino/Wired.com


Erwin Wurm One Minute Sculptures

I remember striking a pose for a polaroid camera at Museu do Chiado, while pressuring a chair sideways to my body with my right upper warm. I stuck that polaroid photograph inside a dictionary, not to lose it, and maybe as a way to revisite the action. Together with that chair I was a sculpture, the polaroid photo attest to that, with no need of being signed by the author, as 1961 Manzioni's Living Sculptures did. But did I really felt like a scupture? I just remember the desire of wanting to take part of Wurm's work, much out of a fan feeling more than wanting to experience being a sculpture. The museum surroundings, a low broad white plinth - if I remember correctly, a chair, a bucket, and maybe some other object. Those objects are there to trigger our action, to potentiate our becoming, they were not themselves the sculpture - or ready-mades, neither would we be it alone. The combination of both, body and object, were the sculpture, the action itself. Still I recall this experience just as a curious episode. Mere participation is not what is at stake for me, but its relation to politics.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jeremy Deller and Matthew Killip in collaboration with Richard Wiseman

(in the corridor)

"In After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions, major artists and writers exhibit newly-commissioned and existing work, inspired by Charles Darwin's book, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Their pieces explore Darwin's theory that expressing emotion is not unique to humans, but is shared with animals." See NHM website

"The exhibition itself starts outside the gallery with an installation involving mirrors by Jeremy Deller and Matthew Killip in collaboration with psychologist Richard Wiseman. Not only does the reflection employ the viewer as part of the installation, but the instructions – through image and word – to display certain behaviours make this a compelling installation. The installation includes a twist that gestures to practices of surveillance and observation of the chimp and human world alike."


Gustav Metzger

"The exhibition draws together the themes and methodologies that have informed the London-based artist’s practice from 1959 until the present day. The broad cross-section of works on view include Metzger’s auto-destructive and auto-creative works of the 1960s, such as his pioneering liquid crystal projections; the ongoing Historic Photographs series, which responds to major events and catastrophes; and later works exploring ecological issues, globalisation and commercialisation. Film footage of seminal performances and actions are exhibited, as well as a new, participative
installation using the archive of newspapers Metzger has been collecting since 1995."
see serpentine gallery website


I was particularly interested in the following piece, Historic Photographs: To Crawl Into - Anschluss Vienna March 1938 1996 (here above), where one had to crawl under a big piece of fabric to be able to see a photograph on the floor and on how that changes our relation/interpretation to its content. A grainy photograph of people kneeled down, the association with the horrors of the second world war is immediate, even before reading the title, Anschluss, the annexation of Austria. I looked for the image on google images today, and realized the importance it had to involve my whole body in the experience of this art work, how fragile and pathetic I felt and how strange it was to realise that those portrayed on the image were looking much more confused and anxious... the privacy of my gaze and the impossibility of seeing the whole image...

Forth Plinth

see Antony Gormley's Forth Plinth

"We saw sea monsters, Nazis, and – inevitably – plenty of nudity. But was Antony Gormley's One and Other actually any good?" see guardian

yes, it is not exactly the speakers corner.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Pato Donald

As necessidades quotidianas são de extrema importância, apesar de quase sempre eliminadas das expressões maiores :-) das artes. Tornam-se rotineiras e servem de fundo, pedestal as nossas actividades, aquelas dignas de nota. A importância de que sejam quase mecânicas permitem realmente produzir outras coisas que não sobreviver. É isso mesmo que tenho feito nas últimas duas semanas sobreviver, aprender quase tudo de novo, como se compra um bilhete de autocarro, faz uma cópia na biblioteca, abre a porta do estúdio A; onde se toma um café razoável, compra boa fruta ou um vaso; estar à espera da nova conta bancária, como pagar as propinas ou perceber a forma mais barata e rápida de ir ao centro de Londres. Enfim, mas em breve, passada a instrução, posso voltar a por a cabeça no lugar :-)

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