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techne

thoughts on kneeling (an art project)

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i'm generating some lists/ ideas for an upcoming exhibition. if you'd like to participate, please respond to the following:

what does the phrase "recipes for kneeling" bring to your mind? what thoughts? what feelings?

your response(s) can be as generic or specific as you wish.

thank you for participating

Edited by techne

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i'm generating some lists/ ideas for an upcoming exhibition. if you'd like to participate, please respond to the following:

what does the phrase "recipes for kneeling" bring to your mind? what thoughts? what feelings?

your response(s) can be as generic or specific as you wish.

thank you for participating

The recipes does nothing for me and seems a bit silly. But the idea of an exploration of kneeling is very interesting. I instantly thought of the submissive act of prayer juxtaposed with the assumed position of captors being tortured, questioned, or executed. And then we kneel to speak to children or to talk to someone who is on the ground (weeping, homeless, displaced, injured).

There's all sorts of questions about condescension, submission, authority and surrender in there. Furtile ground for an art project for sure.

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The recipes does nothing for me and seems a bit silly.

why? is it the dissonance between the associations you have with "recipes" and "kneeling"? i'd be curious to know...

But the idea of an exploration of kneeling is very interesting. I instantly thought of the submissive act of prayer juxtaposed with the assumed position of captors being tortured, questioned, or executed. And then we kneel to speak to children or to talk to someone who is on the ground (weeping, homeless, displaced, injured).

There's all sorts of questions about condescension, submission, authority and surrender in there. Furtile ground for an art project for sure.

i hope so...thanks for your thoughts

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The recipes does nothing for me and seems a bit silly.

why? is it the dissonance between the associations you have with "recipes" and "kneeling"? i'd be curious to know...

But the idea of an exploration of kneeling is very interesting. I instantly thought of the submissive act of prayer juxtaposed with the assumed position of captors being tortured, questioned, or executed. And then we kneel to speak to children or to talk to someone who is on the ground (weeping, homeless, displaced, injured).

There's all sorts of questions about condescension, submission, authority and surrender in there. Furtile ground for an art project for sure.

i hope so...thanks for your thoughts

Sorry to be glib. When I read that again it felt mean.

Anyway, I think "recipes" sounds like "What makes us go to our knees?" and that limits the scope of the piece to cause(s).

It also smacks of a suburban construct, whereas kneeling is an international gesture/postrure with striking similarities and differences of meaning depending upon the culture. "Recipe" sounds like a soccer mom word.

But hey, it's your art, right? :)

What medium are you think of?

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the exhibition is installed, or the installation is exhibited

for more information and some images, please visit my blog at edStuff

that means you, DanBuck ;)

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the exhibition is installed, or the installation is exhibited

for more information and some images, please visit my blog at edStuff

that means you, DanBuck ;)

The photos make me want to be IN the space to experience the exhibition. Thanks for sharing.

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As a hand-bookbinder and artists bookmaker I am happy to see someone using the book form in such a creative manner. I can't get a complete sense of the installation from the photos, but they are very intriguing. Could you possible post some closer shots of the books?

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As a hand-bookbinder and artists bookmaker I am happy to see someone using the book form in such a creative manner. I can't get a complete sense of the installation from the photos, but they are very intriguing. Could you possible post some closer shots of the books?

sure. as soon as i can -- the exhibition is about 500 km away, so i have a gang of people taking shots for me as they can.

would you like to see the various images (with collage, drawing and text elements) that were transferred onto the plexi for the lightboxbooks, or would you like to see the images in situ?

(and where can i see your books?)

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would you like to see the various images (with collage, drawing and text elements) that were transferred onto the plexi for the lightboxbooks, or would you like to see the images in situ?

Whatever works best for you. Seeing the actual books in detail would be nice, but I can see how that would be difficult.

(and where can i see your books?)

I have no exhibitions coming up, but would be happy to post some shots from the last one.

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(and where can i see your books?)

I've seen his books, and I love what he does. (Never mind that he was my best friend while we were in closer proximity.) ;)

Someday I'm hoping to write a book to my children using m's ideas to wrap it and make it real. I lost the original manuscript when my PC recently burned out, but I hope to get time to start over and rebuild from scratch.

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As a hand-bookbinder and artists bookmaker I am happy to see someone using the book form in such a creative manner. I can't get a complete sense of the installation from the photos, but they are very intriguing. Could you possible post some closer shots of the books?

i have posted the images that were actually placed inside the books -- i'm still waiting on some other images.

i will certainly endeavour to post some images that will give a sense of how they function in the space. eventually.

in the meantime, there are some images (though of somewhat uneven quality) here at bodycreativenetwork

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Those photos are very helpful. I like the physicality of the exhibit, and the intimacy related to getting up and down and peering into the small amount of light each object seems to have. I like the way the book form and their contents turn all this kneeling into a thoughtful narrative. And I am a sucker for collage, so that all works really well. We may have to get in touch with you when this exhibition is over about showing a few of these at a gallery I participate in here.

Someday I'm hoping to write a book to my children using m's ideas to wrap it and make it real. I lost the original manuscript when my PC recently burned out, but I hope to get time to start over and rebuild from scratch.

This would be excellent. We can collaborate.

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Those photos are very helpful. I like the physicality of the exhibit, and the intimacy related to getting up and down and peering into the small amount of light each object seems to have. I like the way the book form and their contents turn all this kneeling into a thoughtful narrative. And I am a sucker for collage, so that all works really well. We may have to get in touch with you when this exhibition is over about showing a few of these at a gallery I participate in here.

the entire exhibition actually fits inside a single banker's box (except for the pillows, which i might suggest the exhibiting venue procure - i haven't decided yet) so it's pretty compact. at present the pieces are all linked together -- i know i'm going to have to figure out a way to exhibit them singly with the option of stringing them together in larger groupings. i'm not an electrician or very electronics savvy so that will take some research and experimentation (again) to determine the best way to do that.

thanks for the comments - hopefully there will be an opportunity to exhibit at the same gallery.

Edited by techne

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I posted photos of the last crop here. This set is made entirely of found materials and scraps. The materials range from 18th century vellums, leathers, and papers to aluminum plating. All of the text blocks are hand sewn, a lot of the exposed stitching has shifted a bit by having been handled now in two shows.

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Sorry I didn't see this thread sooner, techne. I would have helped you out with some non-Dan-Buck-ian feedback.

Just looked at some of the documentation. Nice work!

I recently did an exploration with book format too. I built/bound a book but the pages were replaced with a white, wooden box/casing that housed a portable DVD player playing a performative video piece.

I loved that people had to hunch over the book, get in close to be able see the screen properly. Just as I love that viewers have to kneel to view yours.

2945802839_4012d0785b.jpg

2945801243_8459024eed.jpg

What I'm most interested in with your piece is the empty space in the room in the middle of the books. It is sort of roped off by the cord connecting the circle of books and it's just this empty space. Did anyone walk through that space? I imagine that most would have walked sequentially from book to book around the perimeter, perhaps unaware that they were ritually bowing before this empty--at least physically--space in the middle of the room.

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Sorry I didn't see this thread sooner, techne. I would have helped you out with some non-Dan-Buck-ian feedback.

it's okay -- dan came around ;)

What I'm most interested in with your piece is the empty space in the room in the middle of the books. It is sort of roped off by the cord connecting the circle of books and it's just this empty space. Did anyone walk through that space? I imagine that most would have walked sequentially from book to book around the perimeter, perhaps unaware that they were ritually bowing before this empty--at least physically--space in the middle of the room.

the only people who broke the circle were children, and even they stayed close to the perimeter. i didn't see anyone cross the space during the opening, though it's certainly conceivable that people have over the course of the exhibit. i'm not recording it, so i really have no way of knowing. originally, all the pieces were intended to be plugged into a central power source, with the books radiating from that center. i think that the darkness, and the way the circle fills the room, as well as the very specific distance between the books (they're not so far away from each that it feels like there's room to walk between them and cross the circle) all help to keep people moving around the circle. it's an interesting dance to watch...

Edited by techne

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I recently did an exploration with book format too. I built/bound a book but the pages were replaced with a white, wooden box/casing that housed a portable DVD player playing a performative video piece.

what did the performance involve? is it online anywhere? was there an audio/ aural/ oral component? at first glance, it seems a bit voyeuristic and perhaps a bit invasive (watching what might be a private, or at least solitary, activity). i'd like to know more about the piece (not an explanation but a description) as well as your work.

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I recently did an exploration with book format too. I built/bound a book but the pages were replaced with a white, wooden box/casing that housed a portable DVD player playing a performative video piece.

There have been some good attempts at this in the past as well -Minsky did an interesting one a few years ago. FWIW, LCD and DVD screens haven't made many inroads into artists books because the size involved so distorts book forms that it becomes difficult to make them work. It is one thing to sew up a 2x10 in spine. It is an entirely different affair to needle through a spine three or four times that. I wonder what will happen when these new thin and flexible screens become cheaper.

Do you have a link to the actual video? That man looks very sad.

"i think that the darkness, and the way the circle fills the room, as well as the very specific distance between the books (they're not so far away from each that it feels like there's room to walk between them and cross the circle) all help to keep people moving around the circle. it's an interesting dance to watch...

That and I had in mind that precarious social balance that happens at book store displays. You have to stand and flip through a book until the person next to you is done looking at the one you really want to peruse. Meanwhile, someone else is wanting to look at your book. And I have always been interested in the dynamics of displays like techne's. Each spot in the cycle is obviously an intimate, physical moment that will require different amounts of time for different people to digest. Do people tend to limit themselves so they aren't forcing other people to wait?

And as far as the aural component is concerned - there must be a nice rustle as people have kneel down and get back up at each book.

Interesting that three people here have had book-form related exhibitions recently.

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"i think that the darkness, and the way the circle fills the room, as well as the very specific distance between the books (they're not so far away from each that it feels like there's room to walk between them and cross the circle) all help to keep people moving around the circle. it's an interesting dance to watch...

That and I had in mind that precarious social balance that happens at book store displays. You have to stand and flip through a book until the person next to you is done looking at the one you really want to peruse. Meanwhile, someone else is wanting to look at your book. And I have always been interested in the dynamics of displays like techne's. Each spot in the cycle is obviously an intimate, physical moment that will require different amounts of time for different people to digest. Do people tend to limit themselves so they aren't forcing other people to wait?

yes, an important considersation was ensuring that an individual's interaction with an individual book was a private and intimate one, but not so private and intimate that there was a disconnect from all the other pieces and the whole installation. it's amazing what moving a circle of books 6 inches inward does to one's physical and bodily awareness in relation to a space and other objects in that space. it's an interesting tension (and yes, i am invoking the spectre of phenomenology).

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yes, an important considersation was ensuring that an individual's interaction with an individual book was a private and intimate one, but not so private and intimate that there was a disconnect from all the other pieces and the whole installation. it's amazing what moving a circle of books 6 inches inward does to one's physical and bodily awareness in relation to a space and other objects in that space. it's an interesting tension (and yes, i am invoking the spectre of phenomenology).

So the thought was to provide a more shared experience for people looking at different pieces? Which would establish an almost liturgical environment.

I can't look into Duchamp's Etant Donnes for more than a flash (yes, yes, it is lurid) because I can't handle the echo chamber it puts you in - people looking at people watching you peep through the peephole. That piece destroys the kind of intimacy I often enjoy in gallery spaces. I get a different feeling though at the Holocaust Museum in DC, where video screens are set at the bottom of boxes about four and a half feet tall and a few feet wide. It is basically to keep kids from being able to see the Holocaust footage playing on these screens, as you have to lean over the edge of these boxes to see them. But there is a kinship you feel with other strangers there, physically leaning across from you or next to you to see the screens. The odd way they have set up the viewing process creates a compassionate spectatorship.

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yes, an important considersation was ensuring that an individual's interaction with an individual book was a private and intimate one, but not so private and intimate that there was a disconnect from all the other pieces and the whole installation. it's amazing what moving a circle of books 6 inches inward does to one's physical and bodily awareness in relation to a space and other objects in that space. it's an interesting tension (and yes, i am invoking the spectre of phenomenology).

So the thought was to provide a more shared experience for people looking at different pieces? Which would establish an almost liturgical environment.

yes. private or, better, intimate (not individual) and communal.

I can't look into Duchamp's Etant Donnes for more than a flash (yes, yes, it is lurid) because I can't handle the echo chamber it puts you in - people looking at people watching you peep through the peephole. That piece destroys the kind of intimacy I often enjoy in gallery spaces. I get a different feeling though at the Holocaust Museum in DC, where video screens are set at the bottom of boxes about four and a half feet tall and a few feet wide. It is basically to keep kids from being able to see the Holocaust footage playing on these screens, as you have to lean over the edge of these boxes to see them. But there is a kinship you feel with other strangers there, physically leaning across from you or next to you to see the screens. The odd way they have set up the viewing process creates a compassionate spectatorship.

that's lovely - not the duchamp or the holocaust museum but the idea of "a compassionate spectatorship". yes yes yes.

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There's something about the images in the books that strike me as similar to Marshall McLuhan's book "The Medium is the Message". I just revisited it a few weeks ago and was reminded how enjoyable it is.

You images are cleaner and more deliberate than McLuhan's. But it's interesting that your project is an example of McLuhan's primary idea, your medium is almost all of the message. Or if you're as uncomfortable with the word "message" as I am about my art, you medium holds the meaning, the images are almost secondary. (Evidenced by the fact that the initial photos you posted didn't even show us the insides of the books.)

Interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing it here.

(and yes, i am invoking the spectre of phenomenology).

mmmmm... phenomenology. My theatre senses are tingling. I'm reading a lot right now about experiemental art's forrays into performance and how that impacts phenomenology. In fact, the essay I just read talks about how a significant effort of contemporary art is to remove the art object and instead document the creative act. In fact, some art's whole purpose is to represent the absence of the art object.

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There's something about the images in the books that strike me as similar to Marshall McLuhan's book "The Medium is the Message". I just revisited it a few weeks ago and was reminded how enjoyable it is.

i also quite enjoy mcluhan's gutenberg elegies, as well as david carson's the book of probes, which tries to visualize some of mcluhan's texts.

You images are cleaner and more deliberate than McLuhan's. But it's interesting that your project is an example of McLuhan's primary idea, your medium is almost all of the message. Or if you're as uncomfortable with the word "message" as I am about my art, you medium holds the meaning, the images are almost secondary. (Evidenced by the fact that the initial photos you posted didn't even show us the insides of the books.)

well, certainly the medium, or the materials, shape and direct the content. they definitely push the message in a particular direction. i mean, come on, light and books? however, those initial images were the initial images only because they were the only images i had at that point. still, it's an interesting reading. one visitor mentioned that they almost didn't need the images inside the books as the whole idea of kneeling and opening the books and being exposed to the light (and thereby transgressing gallery "rules" as well as giving in to their own curiosity/ temptation) would have been enough - the 2 primary elements may have been enough to carry the message.

(and yes, i am invoking the spectre of phenomenology).

mmmmm... phenomenology. My theatre senses are tingling. I'm reading a lot right now about experiemental art's forrays into performance and how that impacts phenomenology. In fact, the essay I just read talks about how a significant effort of contemporary art is to remove the art object and instead document the creative act. In fact, some art's whole purpose is to represent the absence of the art object.

are you talking about "relational aesthetics"? i find it interesting that there are a lot of artists out there right now whose work revolves around social interaction, which is not some much about an object as it is about a project, or a personal exchange. there have been several such events recently here in my neck of the woods artcity and mountain standard time performative art festival. some very interesting work. as for phenomenology, so much critical thinking over the past 30 years has focussed on the body as a contested terrain, and that has made the body as a locus for identity, meaning-making and social/ political/ cultural actitivty. the "personal is political" and such. it is not only a feminist strategy, but also a queer strategy and a postcolonial one. and then - perhaps- it's a way to bring things back to the basest level, our bodily experience of the world, and to try to shuck off all these politicised interpretations...

Edited by techne

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i posted a friend's wonderful 3 minute video of the piece/ space, as well as some correspondence i have had with someone about the piece and the process of 'reading' it. just so's ya know...

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