Como ilustração fica aqui uma entrevista informal que o autor fez com Carlos Noronha Feio em finais de 2008 por altura da inauguração da exposição na 111 em Lisboa.
CARLOS NORONHA FEIO E EU FALAMOS MAIS OU MENOS EM PORTUGUES no GOOGLE à um mes, e depois no dia da vernissage eu editei o que dissemos. – Gabriel Abrantes
me: temos que falar de
2-sculpture in the expanded field - or cinema set as sculpture (or why the gallery is all dark)
3 - Politics – (or what is the meaning of the work - who is the public - what am I saying)
cnoronhafeio: ok, Então fala-me um pouco da colaboração com o Benjamin e de onde ela começou. Estudaram juntos, certo?
me: Nós conhecemos à um ano, dois americanos expatriados em franca num sitio terivel - 'Tourcoing' - cidade pós industrial fora de lille, outro sitio horrivel, numa escola de cinema/arte contemporanea que te da 8000 euros para fazer o projecto
me: Nao tinhamos nada para fazer lá - por isso pediamos - im going to speak in English - Portuguese is hard.
me: So - we had nothing to do in this literal shithole (if you took out one or two satellite dishes and took a black and white photo- you couldn’t tell the difference from 1945) and the school has cameras/sound studios/ bluescreen studios so we started messing around - and started a pseudo-cult called OOFMMOF - office of media moguls of mankind something coming from rem koolhas OMA interests - and we made oversized t-shirts with faces painted on them as our cult/office wear. Our office mostly produced photography and maquetes for public sculpture proposals (we would also photograph the maquetes).
cnoronhafeio: esse foi o vosso primeiro projecto conjunto então?
me: Yeah - then we proposed our final project together where our two installations were connected by a tunnel. I mean, that year is a blur of boredom and all these projects Ben and I did together, which are sort of one project culminating in this tunnel which physically links our two works (which only topically have anything to do with each other) So its this democratic tunnel - two unlinked things get linked - I mean this all comes from Thomas Hirshhorn and a tunnel he didn’t build. I was interested in finishing a project another artist couldn’t do.
cnoronhafeio: e que topicos são esses que ligam os vossos trabalhos?
Me: I think the most important link in between our work is A. WE ARE AMERICAN (or relationship to the popular media is competitive not in opposition) and B. we are POST-IRONIC artists (as in we want to laugh about how usually artists just make fun of stuff, and start taking things seriously). That option B. has been a bit of a rocky road... but we’re getting there. Our common interest is "NO POSTMODERN TRASHCAN" and “”
cnoronhafeio: lol. A expo na 111 do Porto é um culminar dessa relação ou é simplesmente o mais recente projecto.
me: Nós trabalhamos projecto a projecto – este é o mais recente … nós gostamos do pop media da america porque nao é ironica or - it takes people seriously - or rather - the mass public and its buying potential seriously
cnoronhafeio: tem piada porque para mim o vosso trabalho é mega pós moderno
me: for sure- its a compilation of elements that are referenced which are mashed together, but what is the PRODUCT? I think the product is not a parodic monster, but something closer to surrealism or creating 'another world', but lets get back to that when we talk about the messageof the work and politics.
Finishing on colaboration.... FRIENDSHIP
So there is Joao Ribas - who is the curator at the drawing center in NYC and he wrote a great essay for a show called VAGINAL REJUVINATION at a gallery called GUILD & GREYSCHKULL –
did you get that last chat
me: ok hold on i have to write it again
so you have all these Post-Marxist artists collaborating - everywhere - and its become a cliché somewhat - like working with architecture in art - ... and their relationship with the 'death of the author' and the negation of the male hero artist... but its all turning out to be a very non-rigorous exploration of collaboration - or rather how working in art together can be analogous to working in society together. And they are all friends anyway (like Hans Ulrich Obrist and his friends at the relational aesthetics palace – now in a Guggenheim show that bookends this chain of experimentalism in the 90’s, ‘theanyspacewhatever’). So that was the turn of the century and then you have Joao Ribas who quotes aristotle saying, "When men are friends they have no need of justice," (when we are friends we don’t need the LAW) So... friendship has this troubled relationship with democracy or the blindness of liberty “but collaboration is its close and filial kin - and these two 'wills working together' " (quote from Ribas) For me thats what working with Ben is. Its two people working together (or our first audience for the work) it makes working more social.. in the friendly and political sense
...ok enough on collabing?
cnoronhafeio: this is not by request my friend.. ok so tell me about the show and explain to me why do you usas a familia para mostrar futilidade moral da sociadade. Reduzes os problemas todos ao seio familioar e inpoes dentro de um clima intimista ideias politicas, criticas politicas sem dar soluções
me: So i totally forgot about this- but this is something Ben and I talked about ... which is the end of the grand social utopian movements of the 20thcentury...which the BAUHAUS - stopped making cities and started making kitchens - this was the beginning of the devaluing of architecture as a social designer and more of a utilitarian designer - how can they make the kitchen more efficient. This is a movement from the SOCIAL to the DOMESTIC as a reaction to the totalitarian impulses of grand scale social designing. What we are attempting to do is NOT give a POLITICAL MESSAGE. We are not trying to say - iraq war=bad. We are recontextualizing the current political crisis (i guess now its financial - but in june it was still the mideast and georgia)
So how are we being political? - We are saying:
#1. Lets imagine portugal more involved in the middle east – kids volunteering – parents profiting
#2 Lets imagine a nuclear family entirely made up of two transvestite males.
#3. lets imagine contemporary pop-charity efforts (collecting art/adopting children from third world countries)
this is somewhat related to the political ambitions of the Portuguese photographer Augusto Alves da Silva, his photographs of Bush, Blair and the Spanish guys planes landing in the Açores to meet Baroso about the, war and using Açores as American military bases. I was really impressed when I saw this work.
cnoronhafeio: mas como é que inceres a extrema disfuncionalidade familiar como o incesto, ou o ir e dar enfase a detalhes ainda mais intimos
detro do mesmo
me: ou o ir e dar enfase a detalhes ainda mais intimos
detro do mesmo? I dont get that…enfase? ... haha … my limited Portuguese
me: So the first line of the movie is the Portuguese son in bed with his adopted Angolan sister, they have just made love - and she says 'My clit is a bit difficult sometimes'. So how does this make sense with Iraq... and her saying 'democracy is just so many lies'? This is the crux of one of the main dynamics of the film, which is this sincere political message - 'democracy is just so many lies' - and this stupidly blunt sexual awkwardness - ''My clit is a bit difficult sometimes'. I think the political intentions of the dialogue are in building up this hyperreality - or capitalistic and schizophrenic world - which is the political intent of the whole work. We immediately remove ourselves from the world of ‘realism’. We are in a constructed weird room overlooking Lisbon with two transvestites - one in blackface, talking about their recent sexual troubles. The music is important and the filtered light is important. All of these elements compiled together ... dialogue, blackface, cross-dressing, visionary architecture, Portugal, Iraq could easily give way to a monstrous post modern trash can of referenced elements making one great big absurd joke about the world... like 'look how funny it is when we put all this shit together' but... this is where we get back to the POST-IRONIC thing, which is the filtered light creates a world that you don’t have to see as realist. You can begin seeing it as another world, one which isn't parodic and isn't ironic. It uses irony, which is probably one of the most important parts of the work – is its use of irony as a technique, the use of kitch as a technique - or rather – irony as strategy – but not as an end. The end message is not – oh lets have a laugh at all this crazy shit about iraq and transvestites – I guess you can say its ironic irony – where the work is asking the viewer 'lets have a laugh about how usually we just make fun of all this crazy shit, and then lets take it seriously'. I mean when 'Ginga' the adopted angolan daughter is in Iraq and says 'democracy is just so many lies' … she is seriously referencing Edward Said about how democracy is … the Edward Said thing is important, but I can’t remember it … but to paraphrase - how democracy has been distorted by the need for efficiency/ organization/ clarity' or whatever politicians say to validate why they didn’t ask the people if they wanted something or not
cnoronhafeio: ok, diz-me então, o porque de mostrar os filmes dentro do proprio cenario em que foram filmados o porque de usar um "white cube" e transformalo num estudio de produção cinematografica.
me: O precurso do espectador e pela narrativa do filme - a tres capitulos 'HOME' (quando os putos vao para o iraq) "GALLERY" (Quando os pais compram arte e precebese que o Pai esta a financiar algo no iraq) e 'IRAQ' (Quando os dois putos se reunem no iraq e falam sobre o pai, ele lucrar da guerra, e as mentiras da democracia) cada capitulo foi filmado numa das tres salas da galleria e cada filme esta projectado a frente de cada scenario aonde foi filmado tipo - capitulo HOME a frente da instalacao de HOME a mensagem disto é um pouco 'MOVIE SET AS SCULPTURE - ' .. shit i forgot i was talking Portuguese … so much harder, so.... I mean this all comes from the Rosalyn KRAUSS 'sculpture in the expanded field' and also conceptual arts friction with the 'object' in the 60s/70s. Conceptual art says 'its not the object thats important, its the concept' - then philosophy says (derrida/barthes/deleuze)- ' there is no outside text' or rather.. everything is subjective (There is no rigid concept) - so philosophers are basically really smart prose poets. So here we have a sort of equation .... Conceptual Art = Critical Theory = Prose Poetry. So subjective narrative ends up being what is important.... or rather why we are making sculpture the size of movie sets and making narratives or 'prose poetry philosophies' inside of them and projecting them in front of the sets. It is not the installation that matters, it’s the narrative. The reason all this is filmed expensively on 16mm is because it forces you and me (artist and spectator) to take this narrative seriously somehow
im already embarassed about what i said
cnoronhafeio: Vais ter mais uma expo este ano em portugal , esta de pintura e em Lisboa
me: I have a highly contentious relationship to the practice of painting… but I think that just means I wasn’t quite sure what to paint. All these paintings have something to do with Iraq and Lisbon. Icons from both places presented equally, and some other elements, like segways. The point of these paintings was to try to be direct. In the last exhibition the paintings were so full of big dicks, snickers and these splatters of red paint. It was also supposed to represent this hightened or schitzo reality, but these I meant to do the opposite, to just have a juxtaposition in each painting in between a digital icon and what I paint around it. I wanted the paintings to just be about two things… This was a technique to try to have them mean something more easily readable….I don’t know how successful that was, but …. I think a Google earth shrimp cocktail and martini floating in an American Folk solar system is pretty funny. I’m extremely cynical about painting... i don’t see what its purpose socially is except as a market (even in my own practice - it is the funding mechanism for my films, but right now I’m painting 20-40 paintings so there is this value of exploring cynicism. I’m not just bullshitting... when I go into the studio I literally think,,,, what is the point of me being this cynical … so the show at 111 in November is called '20-30 EXPERIMENTS IN MORAL RELATIVISM'. Then about the feature film... its one of those amazing works that no one sees but they all really like. Its a 16mm film that cost 13 thousand Euros in a small village in tras os montes, written and produced by a 21 year old, with all non actors from the village about global warming.
cnoronhafeio: soa a um blockbuster
me: O GRANDE ABRAÇO de GABRIEL ABRANTES (film) = JANUARY and various other secret projects. GET READY