Begin with the art context, not the art, but the context of the art, devoid of content. Now obviously, the context of the art has a history, a modern clarification of which was made by Marcel Duchamp; the Champian coordinates of the context of the art, if you will. We cannot begin with the art, for the art is something to be found in the process of the production of the art. Now, taking the context of the art, we make a piece, the sole content of which is the context of the art. We now have two things to work with; the context of the art and the piece the sole content of which is the context of the art. This process can be repeated, making a piece whose contents are the context of the art and the piece whose sole content is the context of the art. We can repeat this process further, producing the piece whose contents are the context of the art, the piece whose sole content is the context of the art and the piece whose content is the context of the art and the piece whose sole content is the context of the art. We can now title the context of the art the 0th level of art. In a similar manner we can title the piece whose sole content is the context of the art the 1st level of art. The piece whose content is the context of the art and the piece whose sole content is the context of the art can be titled the 2nd level of art. This process can continue without limit, producing the 3rd, 4th and 5th levels of art etcetera. In this way it is possible to produce an endless installation of related but distinct pieces. The production of the pieces, though seemingly a trivial matter, and it is true that I quickly became adept at their near instantaneous production, was in fact a profoundly fatiguing process. Though constantly caffeinated to the point of bowel collapse, I eventually found it necessary to seek assistance, in the form of interns. Toiling ceaselessly, I and my interns produced pieces to the 100th and then to the 1000th level of art. Each new piece was a creative revelation to us, but six months in, symptoms of chronic concentration were rife amongst the interns, who would reel about the space, foreheads steaming with blood-brown Chaplin/Hitler-tache upper lips. I could see no justifiable stopping point, no resolution; each piece led inexorably to the next. Despondent, I fled the space, emerging into bright daylight, my eyes mere slits amidst cave dark lids. Walking pointedly, I quickly adjusted to the more saturated luminosity of my surroundings; the sky was blue, the grass was green and fluttered variously with tousling gusts, the ice flow clouds were white with minute grey modulations convincing me utterly that they had a back side. A grey squirrel, with a bit of ruddiness on him also, flowed sinuously through near-ground arcs, pausing machine-fast for furtive glances. I breathed-in the day through my eyes, the day breathed in to the rest of me. I began to idly snatch-up twigs as I sauntered, snapping them into palm diameter missiles or whipping them on passing trunks. I parabola-ed unopened seed pods, I don’t know the name of them
, twisted off a storm downed branch into a lake, anticipating, but never quite sure of the imminent plop site. My skin warmed in sun and cooled in shade. I took a satisfying piss into the crotch between two root-tops of an ancient tree, watching avidly as the pine needle litter moistened, noting a tiny worm by its tiny riggle and the escape of a beetle. The seed pod of some kind of pine it must have been
. On returning to the space, I suddenly saw the installation from the outside. Even though the interns were all feverishly producing pieces, I could see in what way no more need be required. Though pieces composed exclusively from the art context were inexhaustibly affecting what if they were to be joined by things from the world!?! The motion of a squirrel, the obvious I have a back-sidedness of a cloud whose vaporous volume is mountain high and only really experienced because I’ve been in an aeroplane
, the anticipation of a ka-plunk in a general region of lake, which nevertheless never fails to marginally surprise... ...the realised set of natural art numbers were in the eventual show too, of course, conceptual cathedrals.
The online lectures referred to, were those of Alain Badiou at the European Graduate School, 2011.