16 Dec 2005

i will make time to write a response to a show

[a catalogue text written for an exhibition at
SHOW, an artist-run project space in central Wellington run from 2004-2006 by Jenny Gillam and Eugene Hansen. SHOW was described as having "a focus on exhibiting projects by artists who have established experimental, conceptual and research-based practices". The instructions for the act of writing this particular text were that it must be completed while invigilating the gallery.]


the durational boundedness suggested to me by the instructions on the wall is an intriguing one: ok, I set the following conditions: I will make time to write a site-specific, time-dependent response to a show in a space I do not know in Wellington, I will sit in the space for three hours, which is two and a half hours longer than the average duration of an exhibition’s spectatorship, and this response to an unknown room will take all of that time. The responsiveness will furthermore not be a blank slate as recent marginalia travels with me to inform my impressions of the space, the screen: this lack of editing-out and attention to textual genetics both a disinclination to state a single point of authorship and more selfishly a momentary docking point for my nomadism after strategic banalities entering Wellington by bus from New Plymouth:

paddock paddock paddock paddock field staked a generality: grey painted structures dominate a slowing: trees straighten in groups toward the contracting blue inserts in palimpsests of mist:

various manifest potentials suggest themselves, at the point where the arrangement of words and ideas and objects clicks and stutters in an unresolved immediacy. I am initially reminded, as I sit down behind the desk, of Adrian Piper’s stint as conceptual receptionist. Then I am not thinking but writing and find the initial nod toward description stakes its claim: I find myself inside an authorless blur poised where interdisciplinary and collaborative practices join the highly social space where the gallery rests. Process heightened by the voices of the exhibiting artists haunting the room, tossing around initial ideas for its title. This, one of two soundscapes layering their spatial spill against an open window’s distant street noises. The spill of light and sound into the space reminds that an open window can be a work. Another kind of window in a video loop, infinitely extending the puzzling of a Rubiks cube’s bounded set of strategies, points toward play which destabilizes a deferred correctness.

as description catches fire: there is no static point to the sunlight: real is green and full of charge: constellations: the clustered points of birds as the land flats drain through the greens and browns of my eye’s continuance of windows: of its failure to hold a moment as a growth ring: Palmerston North: cygnets in the Winter Garden.

here, museology is given an oblique spin, the white cube is set among other primary colours, in a toy like an interactive Mondrian, among the testing of a set of combinations which mimes creativity’s frustrations and possibilities. The thin clicking of the lines falling into momentary place is stretched to an uneasy, droning soundscape as I move around the space and notice the layering of detail, the dense inter-referentiality which a collaborative working methodology promotes. There is a visual echo of the toy grid in the equally vernacular grids of the blue and green carpet, set with its slightly off-centre red carpet square cut to floorplan: the filled space preserved as a picture of its previous emptiness, but red is, conversely, presence. The hot point of a larger space, reminding of the rooms which have been sectioned off to create its vantage point for art: a strategic viewing platform. A penciled floorplan on a wall adjacent contributes its sketchy maths to this thought. And a silver ruler’s numbers can’t be argued with, as they set up a relation to a shelf of foil-bound texts indented with typeset

a sky where stateless atomisations fail to rain: where water powder drifts. where colours force toward soft greys in regress: bird flocks’ chaotics: a grouping by invisible hollows: a loose ink-dipped wing like a way of saying never resting not yet: a hollow where breathing forms: having never folded into the form of a paper space, an arm’s crook, a tongue’s impress:

the formal stacking of a dog bed’s coloured cushions echoes a set of steps which lead to a viewing platform and down. There is no view, and nowhere to get to but here. The text in place of the mountainous vista is an email, another layer of documentation which, ostensibly functional, in its way re-states a methodology: “these new shifts are permanent, cheers”. A stack of atlases supports the table where I write, their compacted linear geographies the tectonic strata of a world concertinaed into text and sign. I recall, like a further contextual layering, the veinlike highways of Vivien Atkinson’s work in the Christmas show at Enjoy, seen yesterday

a day in stacks: the relation held by domes and folds: small teams of terms: monochrome spatial shelves: repetition incomplete, these loops collide in imperfect rings:

to spend this time sitting Show’s space is to find a partial view, above all it is to inhabit space as though inhabiting a question, and to filter that time through the only words that can be made to mean within the time allotted, I find my place as shifting, and what can be said as a concentrated note taking, and now these shifts are permanent, and my time is done, cheers.

Sally Ann McIntyre

1-4pm, Dec 15 2005

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