Thursday, 29 September 2011

New Art Criticism_02_March 2009

New Art Criticism is no longer on-line, therefore I thought to copy and paste my contributions to the former website here.                  
I thought things on the Internet would last forever, but even the Revolving Writer website is gone. This is what the project was all about.


Let’s start from the beginning: someone just wet the bed. Her name is Aisha, she speaks about herself like a sort of unwanted being, seems to be obsessed with “the history behind names”, is a Virgoan and her story has no beginning and no end. This was edition #1 of Revolving Writer. Basically a website, but in primis an international collaborative project started in 2006: writers, artists, musicians and architects had the prompt, or rather the initial commission, like when a site specific artwork is being produced. Then, a selection of characters identified by a Polaroid shot, and finally, their imagination and creativity. Two months as the elaborating time with the received material, about 60 days to think about why, as the contributions went on, this Aisha seems to suffer from split personality, what is going to happen with her life, who is she going to meet next…and interact not only with one, but many stories.

We now are at #18 and, during the precedent editions, the novel evolved with new and unpredictable characters, erased passages, deliberate editing, the insertion of videos, the recovering of the disregarded passages and someone who actually decided to become one of the characters and have a love affair with Aisha. Who knows what is going to happen next. “By now”, says the mind behind the name Charlie Byrnes, “we have a mysterious Mr. Pebbles to deal with.”

The project has been very successful so far, but what she really wants to talk about is what lies ahead: “Revolving Writer apes a democratic society and aims to be as cohesive as possible”, she explains, “but I realized the novel might be just the beginning of other projects. We started using writing as a media and created something site specific. A site. Well, website. The novel is not being very sociable at the moment, because interacting with a given text can be a pretty solitary job. I now would like to work with the same material but different media: art for artists, not artists “acting” as writers; architecture for architects, etc. In short, I’d like to work with many sites.”

The website’s home has an announcement reading: “Major Developments from Summer 2009”. Does it mean that we will maybe see the characters coming to life or something like that? “Not really far from truth.” Charlie grins: “We want people to get really involved with the novel, like it happened when Revolving Writer participated to the High Tide Festival in May 2007. We had a performance with some Revolving Writers writing the story on computers, and the audience, through projected images, could see the computer’s screen and the story being written. Then, we asked them questions about the characters and, even thought they had no idea about the whole plot, we received the nicest contributions. We made them squeeze their brain.”

That sounds interesting, but isn’t there the risk of getting things a bit out of control? “Yes. That’s why, in the future, anyone who would like to contribute will be invited to discuss each passage with me and the other collaborators before proceeding. May it be exhibitions, photographs, acting, film, writing, performances, flyer distributions, we would like to hear from you.” And will all of this converge onto the website? “No, because the website is just one of many sites. Do you see what I mean? We are going to push everything out of cyberspace and organize, say, events around the world, still “Aisha related”. For example, we are thinking about a photographic campaign to get more Polaroid pictures for the characters: 3 different cities around the world, photographers in action at the same time, stopping the people, taking the picture, and asking them one particular question. Then, thanks to the modern technologies, we will map the areas the photographers worked into according to the concentration of people, like popular/not popular, and create 3D charts from that which describe the city from a psycho geographic point of view.”

And who are those revolving writers? “So far, I can mention among all gallery director Hannah Barry, Naomi Wood, artists Clayton Smith and Noon Day Demons, Nick Fleetwood, Architect Simon Fujiwara and the Independent Critic and Novelist Jay Merrick.”
Watch out for then. A new stage of the project is about to begin, and it might need someone just like you. Are you ready to meet Aisha and add more colored dust to the Mandala?

End note: even though the above link is no longer active, I have decided to keep it anyway, like a memorial stone. Ugh, melancholia is here?

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