Getting the conditions right
Lecture Performance (for two voices)
Antwerp, Lammekensstraat 3
Part of the collective show Two steps forward, one step back (notes from the rathole)
music: A love Supreme, John Coltrane (part 1: acknowledgement)
Room in complete darkness, Nancy Paris standing behind lectern, lecturn light suddenly turned on. Accent: British english
Good evening everybody. A warm welcome to you all. Welcome in this somewhat confusing setting of a home and a not-home. In this non-descript place dangling between private house and (well…) public gallery. But before I begin my tiny lecture on Getting the conditions right, first let me shortly introduce myself. My name is Nancy Paris and I’m an art-historian from London. I’m a theorist and a writer. My latest book, a collection of essays with the title 'Knowledge, Language, Perception, Deconstruction, the Private and the Public', will appear this coming spring.
Now let us continue.
Art in private houses. What can we make of that? Art is private and public, just as life itself. Art is being conceived in the private, but is mostly shared in the open, the public realm. But what we have here, the showing of art in a private house, is an entanglement of private and public. A very interesting case because it actually mirrors a very contemporary situation, that of the dual loss of private and public. What we are left with is an ever prevalent and all-encompassing sense of control, of being watched over, of being in a constant on-mode. Our homes - the privacy of our homes - is invaded with ever present workflows through electronic devices, like i-phones, laptops, tablets. Desktops. [angry:]
I mean since when is the top of a desk synonymous with worldwide connections, incessant workflows and everlasting control?
Anyway. One can also question the notion of ‘public’ in public space. Public space is becoming more and more private, not only because it is increasingly falling into the hands of private investors, but also because of how people behave in public nowadays. Everyone carries a cell phone, which means when you are out on the street, you are bound to hear what someone’s going to have for dinner tonight (as if we would care in the first place). All senseless information infesting our minds. Constant streams of communication contaminating our private and public spheres. We are private in public and public in private.
So… can we still imagine a space where we are free from this contamination, where we can be truly private? Are we capable of imaging Anything Else when we are constantly fighting authority that resides in fixed and frightened forms and planning how to Play along in the Great Game?
Can we imagine a rat hole?