Sunday, April 12, 2009

Gene Gort on LABOR & the Creative Commons Philosophy

Ken Steen, Gene Gort and Jeffrey Krieger with the Reliquary of Labor logo,
a circle of dancing sparks that symbolizes their collaboration.
Q: Why is transparency of the creative process important to you?

GG: The notion that art is a result of some divine inspiration that drops from the sky into the gallery/museum/concert hall is overrated and mythologized too much. We want people to know that art is a struggle, a process, a dialogue that comes in fits and starts. In short, it is LABOR, hence the title. Our metaphor was like a building progressing over time within plain sight of the neighborhood or the community; it changes subtly and not so subtly every time you pass by. For the idea to work for us, we wanted to de-emphasize the end result - the performance moment - and allow viewers/participants to witness the mistakes, the false starts. We were educated in the 70's and things like process driven art, performance art and the strategies of artists like John Cage have influenced us profoundly.

Q. How can audiences participate in the project?

GG: Well, the project is ongoing. We are open to any and all suggestions. The score is available on request as are all the raw date files. There are podcasts available from the site with a lot of writing and notation. If someone is inspired to take on this material, they can use it and rebuild it themselves. They can also send us remixes for use to incorporate in future iterations. As part of the Creative Commons philosophy, we would like to be credited with the origin of the material if someone undertakes this independently.

Q. What do you hope audiences will discover?

GG: Like any good artwork, the process of discovery itself is important. I, as an artist, am not interested in reaching a mass audience. I am more interested in what is akin to a gentle nudge in the ribs and a whisper, "Did you ever notice this?" That's what good art does to me. If we can allow the audience access to our process of discovery maybe they can arrive at their own moment of discovery on their terms. As we gathered the material over the year or so, our observations blossomed into something transformative to us about work and skill and craft and cooperation of the workers at the site, as well as our own processes. The logo for the project, the circle with dancing sparks, is emblematic of our discovery. A pipe subject to an electric grinder, at the hands of a skilled worker, seen from a particular vantage point, becomes something altogether different and beautiful. This is the area of discovery we hope ROL invites in the viewer.

RELIQUARY OF LABOR, a parallel-media project by Gene Gort + Ken Steen features a solo performance by electronic cellist Jeff Krieger. It is a work-in-progress that incorporates the performing forces of electronic cello, multi-channel computer generated and manipulated sound, video and a variety of web-based components.

More info about at:

Tuesday, 28 Apr, 2009 - 7:30pm Axiom Gallery, 141 Green Street, Jamaica Plain, Boston, MA. Tickets - $10

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