E M I L Y M H A R R I S

DRAWING A LIVING DOCUMENT (DALD) PERFORMANCE
Site responsive Performance: string, two rocks, powerpoint, ladder, tablecloth (sheet), two chairs, podium, paper, table
July 6, 2013
Graduate Studio Center Auditorium, MICA, Baltimore, MD

I performed a talk as an artwork that grew with the installation Drawing a Living Document. The performance was made up of a series of interruptions with the idea that their break with expectation would create an opportunity for an awareness of oneself in the present. These interruptions were actions - primarily of my body moving in space or performing specific tasks. I would focus on my body as well as remove my body as the subject, as a way to play with the role of "presenter".

In no particular order: I read, sat, walked out of the auditorium, told a story about sitting on a wooden bench and indirect vibrations, walked in the aisles and dropped a rock - twice, moved two chairs and sat as Cecilia Vicuna had the night before, skipped slides, hung a string, set up and carried a ladder, leaned the ladder on the wall, read a descriptive poem about the room, came in through the back mid-speech, billowed a tablecloth (sheet) into the air (pictured). Alongside the tasks, I verbally explored the materials, metaphors, conditions, and influences that supported the installation and realizations within the process of making it.

Documentation Includes: Video stills, text score and audio track of full performance including Q&A.


TEXT SCORE

1) SLIDE_ P.C. Quote
"What happens when it is the making that instructs the maker? What happens when the art makes the artist?" Paul Chan, A Lawless Proposition, 2011

     ((((((((((HANG A THREAD))))))))

2) SLIDE_ Blank

Foot\ /step
Foot\ /step
Foot\ /step
Foot\ /step

A door opens . . . . . . . . . then shuts
A consistent sound stream of air.
Angles point
Walls meet
Light filters in and
moves / / across / / the / / wall
flashes
a jangling of keys
a system red and green
a basket covering
planed floor

A consistent soundstream of air
2 vents left and right
long horizontal lines just below the inclined ceiling
lights alternate in recessed circles
an old peeling ceiling
a trace of the old building
cracks
a lone screw hook
slats that aren’t flush - but bend out of the floor plan
ceiling plan
2 chairs at the front of the room and a table with rocks.

I began the installation by writing and walking through the space. I walked around with a small tissue to locate streams of air pressure. I marked those spots and then began writing down different observations: peoples’ movements, physical changes in light and sound and minute activities such as the slow crawl of an insect across the floor or a thread of hair on a wooden slat. I have found that writing builds my ability to see things in a more complicated and comprehensive way.
           
3) SLIDE_ Drawing Definition_ LEAVE FOR 20 SECONDS
Drawing can be (a)n unfolding/folding process, a shifting process. I understand it as a “line of flight” (to use Deleuzian terminology) that extends out precariously before being reabsorbed and resettled. (from their book A Thousand Plateaus.)

4) SLIDE_BLANK SLIDE
I developed the work in the gallery and walkway out of a desire to delineate spaces that float and shift in a reciprocal relationship with their environment. The environment includes the architectural space as well as: air pressure, gravity, light, social territories, peoples’ (physical body) movements and (layers of) time.

5) SLIDE_HAND DANCE VIDEO
It was also a desire to posit an obstacle in the space that would have to be navigated however thin and nondescript.

6) SLIDE_DESCARTES
Rene Descartes, a french philosopher, mathematician and writer, devised a system for mapping with numerical coordinates that he named after himself, The “Cartesian coordinate system.”

The Cartesian Coordinate System is a mathematical model that allows space to be mapped as a set of coordinates (x,y,z). This meant it was possible to extract and overlay; to represent space in 2 dimensions and know it.   

(((((((((DROP A ROCK))))))))

7) SLIDE_MOVES SLOWLY ACROSS
My interest lies in fluid maps, maps that integrate with their environment. These maps are unstable and include a process of unmaking and making within them. I believe this kind of mapping has the potential to show alternate ways of knowing.

8) SLIDE_BLANK SLIDE                                             
The thread allows. It allows-in. Its rounded, droopy form, nearly weightless stands in contrast to the hard edges of the room. Different lines withstand gravity next to those that curve to it. The threads support a "soft" space in relation to the surrounding architecture.

9) SLIDE_INSTALLATION SHOT – 2 IMAGES
I straddle two territories managed by separate MICA departments: the walkway (on the right) managed by “Events” and the gallery space (on the left) managed by “Exhibitions”. The walkway is an active lane in the summer. While installing, I observed peoples’ interactions with the work ranging from “Events” pinning the work back to the wall or posting signs underneath it - a rather hands-on version of interaction - to conversations of interest, bafflement and reflexive physical body response. This amount of interaction was something I had not anticipated and it has been an opportunity to engage with people in different ways through the installation process.

10) SLIDE_FOOTSTEP_ LEAVE FOR 8 SECONDS
foot\ /step
foot\ /step
foot\ /step
foot\ /step

11) SLIDE_BLANK SLIDE
READ  Drawing can be (a)n unfolding/folding process, a shifting process.

12) SLIDE_CEILING DANCE VIDEO

13) SLIDE_FRED SANDBACK
Fred Sandback worked with acrylic yarn as a way to subtly intervene in pedestrian spaces. His line-based sculptures punctuate a seemingly empty volume or plane that coexists with the architectural space and heightens the visibility of the site. He said " . . . all my sculpture is part of a continuing attitude and relationship to things. . . . The sculptures address themselves to the particular space and time that they're in . . .”
This piece is called “Pink Corner Piece” made in 1970. (48” x 84” x 84”, elastic cord)

14) SLIDE_BLANK
My work agrees with Sandback’s statement but because I allow the threads to hang loose, they allow a different range of intersections, relationships and meanings. They make gravity visible.

((((((((((((TURN LIGHT UP TO CEILING))))))))))

15) SLIDE | REST ON HAND; THEN, GO BACK 28 CLICKS TO DRWNG QUOTE:

16) SLIDE_BLANK SLIDE
My work breaks down art’s formal address to the viewer. It nearly dissolves into the world, while simultaneously threatening in its near invisibility within the gallery space.

Last year, I went to “Event of a Thread”, an exhibition by Ann Hamilton at the Park Avenue Armory in NYC.  I was excited by the network of ropes that was rigged under the arched metal roof; the vertical drop of the swings from a network above and each persons’ awareness of their own body as an intersection.

17) SLIDE_ BLANK SLIDE
"When I point my finger at the moon, don't mistake my finger for the moon."

18) SLIDE_DESCARTES
There is a national park in NE Iowa called Effigy Mounds National Monument. The park is located along the Upper Mississippi River and preserves 206 known Native American effigy mounds, dating from roughly 1400 years ago.

The mounds are volumetric forms made with dirt and are called effigy mounds because they were built in the shape of cones and regional animals such as bears and birds.

They are thought to be places of gathering and ceremony; sometimes used as burial sites. When evidence of burial was found, the bones were usually . . . . .
(((((((((WALK OUT OF AUDITORIUM)))))))

. . . . in the area corresponding to the head, heart, or hindquarters of the animal. The largest known effigy mound from this culture was originally a quarter-mile-long of a bird in flight. Although, the size of mounds varied considerably.
(((((((((WALK INTO AUDITORIUM))))))))))    

Visiting the mounds as a child, I remember walking a r o u n d the grassy forms [walk around slowly]. In the middle, an arched form offset by the woods or the sky. I walked the periphery following the earthen edge. The native americans integrated the mounds with the environment from what we know.

19) SLIDE_MOVES SLOWLY ACROSS
The first time I presented the thread structures I attempted to light them. As I angled the light at the hanging threads, they disappeared. I had been thinking about them like traditional sculptures. What became apparent was that to see the thread, it was necessary to light the surrounding walls, meaning the periphery was necessarily integrated with the work.

There is a double pointing or [undifferentiated space] where the works point at themselves and away from themselves simultaneously. The threads function in the space in a way that anchors the site.

20) SLIDE_BLANK SLIDE       
((((((((SIT DOWN))))))))
One morning I was sitting on a wooden bench in Queens, NYC on an elevated platform waiting for the train to arrive.  As I was sitting there, I noticed a curious vibration in my mid back. It was vibrating my back in short segments like phrases. I noticed a man at the end of the bench speaking in a language that I didn't recognize. Each time he spoke into his cell phone, a vibration from his voice travelled through the wooden bench to my back.

When Cecilia Vicuna was here, she said that science should follow the artists and poets. Should follow them to the edge.

I wonder how research instruments could be fashioned in a more appropriate way? What would a beaker look like if it were used to gather female life force?

How might a scientist formulate their questions?

                  ((((take rock in pocket)))))

                  (((((((((THROW UP BLANKET))))))))

21) SLIDE_INSTALLATION SHOT – 2 IMAGES
There is unpredictability in intersection.

There is a problem in physics called the 'three-body problem', it is a famous problem that throws off classical Newtonian laws. With two bodies, there is confidence in one’s ability to calculate and predict the interaction and behavior, but when a third element is added, it throws off determinacy.

Brian Massumi, a Canadian social theorist explains . . .
                                                     
“It's not really discrete bodies and paths interacting. It's fields. Gravity is a field - a field of potential attraction, collision, orbit, of potential centripetal and centrifugal movements. All these potentials form such complex interference patterns when three fields overlap that a measure of indeterminacy creeps in. . . . accurate prediction is impossible because the indeterminacy is objective.

This CCS mathematical system has led to a map-making of the social, considering behaviours such as: money trading, consumer trends and election results as countable and graphable. A capitalist western mindset focuses on prediction results as a way to calculate and bet on future trading, trends and elections. Maps such as these, become a way to gamble.

         (((((((((DROP A ROCK))))))))))

22) SLIDE_FOOTSTEP_ LEAVE FOR 8 SECONDS
foot\ /step
foot\ /step
foot\ /step
foot\ /step

23) SLIDE_BLANK SLIDE
READ  Drawing can be (a)n unfolding/folding process, a shifting process.

24) HOW IS MY WORK A LINE OF FLIGHT?
Line of Flight . . . a drawing, a thinking that extends out precariously before being reabsorbed and resettled.

My work functions like a line of flight in several ways with the knowledge that these lines will continue to change over time:

1) The delicate thread follows fluid movements as air pressure from pedestrians, air pressure from the street, the central air, circulates in invisible streams through the space. It is a fluid, inclusive movement.

2) The near invisibility makes it difficult for some; a potential threat to the institution. It is does not reside in a separate space but confronts. The delicacy commands, which is an unusual occurrence.

3) It resists a sensational artworld. There is nothing sensational about it.

4) I use unpredictable situations and accidents as a tool to stretch beyond my initial impulse.

5) I go back everyday and take care of the work, performing maintenance and bringing the threads back to volumes.

25) HOW IS THE WORK A NETWORK?
The piece is not several separate pieces, but one piece. They connect as a part of a network just below the ceiling. The threads are camouflaged by the infrastructure - the pipes, air ducts. . .

26)
Movement, concentration and alertness, can change the experience of duration into something elastic. When I run into a thread, my mind is somewhere else; but when I watch a thread, I am always here.

27) LAND ON Yvonne Ranier Credit