Event: The Attrium Project
4 July - 25 July 2008
Event: The Attrium Project
What do you think of these words of Bergson's: "What is the point of time? Time is what prevents everything from being present all at once. It delays or rather it is delay"? Asked Pierre Sterckx to Paul Virilio. Virilio replied - that space is what prevents everything from being together, all piled up. That might be a truism, but that's what's good about it.
p.26 "Paul Virilio: Landscape seen at speed" Interview with Paul Virilio by Pierre Streckx. Translated by PC. Penwarden. Art Press number 216, Paris, October 1996 pp.19-26.
Both time and space are active not static in these quotes. They have the quality of verbs not nouns. They are processes not things. The intention of the Event: The Attrium Project has a similar purpose to be an ongoing process, a means not an end. Event: The Attrium Project is a collaborative cross disciplinary research project between the School of Art RMIT and the School of Art & Design AUT, New Zealand. The participating artists and academics from RMIT are Martine Corompt, Greg Creek, Sally Mannall and David Thomas, and from AUT are Ron Left, Nova Paul, Monique Redmond and Jonty Valentine. Event: The Attrium Project explores the themes of time and the event through video, painting, installation, photography, site-specific works and artist book form.
The event can be conceived as an encounter preceding thought that gives rise to new knowledge and experience. Things are different after an event. There is recognition through the experience that something has changed or our perception of something has changed. The event in this regard can be thought of as the moment of recognition, or the point of change in our understanding of something. Our experience of being alive is one where we are part of a continuum of experiencing, made up of many events and recognitions over time. Framed within an art context the event is encompassed in a work of art not only as representation but also an event of making and the act of reception. This gives rise to a multiplicity of times operating within the art works.
There is the time of the actual making, the cultural and physical times that inform the context of work and the duration involved in moments of recognition by the viewer. The complexity of times within the works becomes an extended series of events, a series of recognitions that pulse between the inside and the outside the actual and the virtual to use a Bergsonian metaphor. This pulsing generates a constant sense of the deferral of knowledge, into one of experience of becoming. Fixed readings dissolve to become a series of relational references.
All of the works in this exhibition have an embedded slippage that defers meaning into a broad ongoing range of possibilities. This procedure in some way reveals a common heritage to what constitutes a diverse body of works, a heritage located in the deconstructionist tendencies of late 20th century art practice where the deferral of meaning and the principle of the audience completing the work became key strategies of practice. This practice was the forerunner of much contemporary art that deals with relational practice, with complexity and multiplicity.
The Attrium Project, through its different forms, as book, seminar presentation or exhibition of artworks asks us to consider what constitutes time, event, experience and representation. It is a project where questions around what constitutes knowledge and research and the nature of formal and informal collaboration are proposed. The exhibition and attendant events act as an umbrella that enables researchers to propose and manifest ideas for discussion in a tangible form. This process has ramifications for the future not only for the creation of artworks but upon our thinking about teaching and research in university art schools. It is a multi-layered project that embraces a critical self-reflexivity at its core.
If the event is considered as the moment of disjunction or as a moment of rupture in our experience that precedes thought, then this exhibition and its attendant activities are the moments of consciousness of these disjunctures. It is in these moments and spaces where one becomes aware of the artworks' ability to generate meaning, enabling the experience of being to be consciously reflected upon, and of learning something new.
Transcribed and edited from a conversation between Sally Mannall and David Thomas about Event: The Attrium Project.