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For his interview, Irish artist Andrew Duggan, switched the role of ‘the interviewee’ to that of ‘the interviewer’ shifting the historical focus and legacy of the artist interview genre.
The nature of an interview is to pose a series of questions to clarify, elaborate and provide a verbal description of a certain issue. In this case ‘the certain issue’ is one which has risen out of Andrew Duggan’s encounters with some of the New York art world he has met.
Andrew interviewed a number of persons with whom he has conversations with during his 10 month residency.
These interviews were conducted via e mail. Transcripts were made into a script and were handed to and read by auditioning actors. The recording is presented alongside images of ‘interview props’. The artist and the interviewer have been removed from ‘The Artist Interview.
Special thanks to Claire Montgomery, Diego Fasciati, Drazen Pantic, Dan Cameron, Pieranna Cavalchini, Sebastien Delot, Heather Wagner, Nick Normal, Barry Dunne and Sebastien Sanz de Santamaria.
Interviewer – Some artists, when they spend time in different places ‘relocate’ their practice. That is the ‘local’ changes, but not the practice. What do yo think happens when if artist ‘dislocates’ themselves in the new local thus working with the language of that local?
Interviewee #1 – I first mention the much-remarked-upon emergence of a kind of “international art” that seems to prevail these days – a kind of homogenous, global perspective, whereby everyone is trying very hard NOT to be local and end by making blurry references to the same ideas (be they the French theorists or American irony and contingency crowd). Artists develop a method and re-employ that method in whatever locale they arrive- not so interesting.
Interviewee #2 – I think, nowadays that all artists are ‘international’. We all communicate, because of technology, internationally. But maybe a new situation is called for, and maybe what is needed is to look at how an artist is ‘interlocal’, in that the local is what becomes important.
Interviewer – So how do you think the the phrase “all politics are local”, applies to artists’ practice with this idea of all artists being international but not all being ‘interlocal’?
Interviewee #2 – More general question about politics and globalization is what is “local” now? Any single political issue (however local it is) bounces back to the global discussion, one way or another. And is the re-appropriated by different political groups, for different political purposes. And law of unexpected consequences works every time …
So, yes all artist are international, some are “interlocal” but all issues are global either way. And the less prominent political signifier in their work, the more it might be suitable for reinterpretation and (inverse) contexulization. One consequence of what is that we see now lots of very politically transparent work, using art as a political megaphon. I’m trying not to put value judgment here, but I kind of like art political agit-prop. Except that it is so often unclear what are the political premises and values brought to the table. If any.
Interviewee #1 – Most interesting to me is an artist who takes some part of his/her perspective on the world and, looking very carefully at the particular locale, examines the new locale with new eyes. So, perhaps relocation is simply geographic; dislocation takes you out of both time and space. It is a real letting go, and is truly unnerving, but a brave and important thing to do.
Interviewer – I’d like to move on and discuss the perception of the word �America� and ‘the United States of America’ within this context of the building of the wall along the southern border of the United Stated with plans for surveillance web cams.
The United States of America builds a defensive structure along it’s border, posts a military presence and employs new surveillance technology to maintain that border.
What do you think the legacy of such a structure and action will be on the psychology of America?
Interviewee #2 – The current hysteria over the US/Mexican border plays to the very worst aspects of our national xenophobia, while revealing how little of the discourse over ‘security’ has anything to do with making our borders secure. No terrorist has ever been shown to have entered our country through the US/Mexico border, which is quite amazine if you consider how many undocumented workers, contraband narcotics, etc do slip through every single day. It is also worth pointing out that virtually all of the border territory under discussion was sovereign Mexican territory little more than a hundred years ago. My strong belief is that the Bush administration’s fear-mongering is almost entirely motivated by the desire to generate enough dread and anxiety in the citizenry that we will submit to their increasingly dictatorial aims. Having said that, I also think there is good reason to hope that the congressional elections this fall will put the brakes on the some of their most extremist policies, and that by the end of 08 they will have so disgraced themselves on every other front that voters will be ready to throw the whole crowd out (and lock a few up for good measure).
So, to answer your question: I believe it is vital that our next president, Al Gore, begin dismantling the border wall immediately after taking office, recall the National Guard, and diarm the Minutemen. The security apparatus, which is probably inseparable from our national objectives in technology and information, would remain.
Interviewee #1 – It is incredible the Berlin Wall came down in 89 and here we are building new ones. When I use the “we” I am thinking transnationally. Our surveilling exploits have not improved our ability to see or to think critically…and then there is the very frightening issue of WHO surveils those doing the surveillance.
Interviewer – …and perception of ‘America’?”
Interviewee #2 – Unfortunately, our national self-image as ‘America’ and us as ‘Americans’ will most likely never be addressed along the way, and we will probably find soon enough that many of our neighbors no longer wish to have that word associated with their own identities anyway. So, despite my own personal discomfort about using the word ‘America’ to describe the USA, when its proper reference belongs to the two continents of North America and South America, getting people in this country to examine that imperialist habit more closely is probably a lost cause.
Interviewee #1 – Back to your question…..Will “to America” become synonymous with “to surveil”. I most sincerely hope not. The positive thing about an action (no matter how blind and stupid) is that sooner or later it brings a reaction. Nothing stays still no wall can stop the flow.
Interviewer – President Bush during a recent speech to the Press at the Rose garden after his surprise visit to Iraq said that the war in Iraq was not THE war on Terror but part of the THEATRE. How do you think this ‘theatre’ is perceived
Interviewee #2 – It seems that politics is a series of “coup de théâtre!” and he needs some as he is in a weaker political position. It is interesting to make this connection with terror though the civil war is not taking place on the american soil and cannot have the same impact as the french terreur. It feels that terror will grow as more and more american will die and public opinion might shake things. Despite growing tensions, scandals nothing has been done and it is amaizing to watch this puppet show going on.
On the other hand the use of the term can be understood as part of Hollywood vocabulary. As America has had actors in strategic position, the star wars was an interesting choice.The axis of evil is an other good title for a science fiction movie. Though the device of “Theatre” appears as a way to introduce a necessary distance with the real. Actors on stage are only performing though here people are dying, anger is growing and shall linger for decades.The cycle of violence is not nearly at an end. The future between western/ arab diplomatic relation has been damaged severely. And here we can also blame Europe for not finding a way to be an altrenative voice in that concert of discontent and to sink into mediocrity. I wander when the political consciousness awakening in Europe is going to take place.
Interviewer – AND how does it relate to the ‘theatre’ of the gallery?
Interviewee #2 – Interestingly enough the use of the word to refer to military operation with President Bush as the cast director. Actors have enterred politics and we have watched already the star wars and amaizing declaration in CA recently. Theatre is away to bring illusion to distort and recreate reality, it is also a way of mastering things since you can control them. It is a way to put things in a space and time frame that you control but in an art gallery you might play with the illusion of the White cube in order to create that spce of wonder and make people feel they enter a sacred space. In real life the theatre can not be that illusion, it is way too unresponsible to act as if there were no difference, politics is about playing with events and issues in such a way that you may bring emphasis or silence them. Here it would not be so much of a white cube theatre but maybe a new concept a red cube theatre.
Interviewer – So could the red cube be a shift from say the corporate clean white cube to one which art engages with politics in a gallery context?
Interviewee #2 – it would be very interesting, as politics can be bloody and the gallery is the prefect stage ou theatre…Red tape strategies.