Literarisches Events (in and around Lawrence KS)

  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Thursday, September 11, 7:00 p.m., Spooner Hall, KU Campus.
  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Friday, September 19, 7:00 p.m. Lawrence Public Library. Sponsored by Raven Bookstore.
  • DENNIS ETZEL, JR. & RACHEL CROSS. Lawrence. Thursday, September 25, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • TONY TRIGILIO. Lawrence. Thursday, Oct. 2, 4:00 p.m., English Room, Kansas Union, KU Campus. FREE.
  • CALEB PUCKETT & JUSTIN RUNGE. Lawrence. Thursday, October 16, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • BEN LERNER. Kansas City, MO. Thursday, October 23, 7:00 p.m., Epperson Auditorium, Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus, 4415 Warwick Blvd.
  • KRISTIN LOCKRIDGE & ROBERT DAY. Lawrence. Thursday, December 4, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Conceptual Blogging?


Went to the Spencer Museum of Art this afternoon. Saw the Warhol Heinz tomato sauce box. It was under plexiglass. In an art museum. And that has made all the difference.

There was also an exhibit of video art from Asia. In one work, a Korean man related the story of an old love affair that revolved around trains and train tracks. In an adjacent screen, a stage curtain opens onto a video of train tracks, on a screen within the screen you're watching. As we "move forward" along these tracks, the screen is framed by computer-generated track and scenery that prefectly matches the "actual video."

It occurred to me that one could just as easily install computer monitors that only showed one blog each - or showed blogs' being updated, using time-lapse photography. Might not be very entertaining, but it would make a point.

So, let us say that any blog can be understood as art, provided it is framed or contained by the institutions or social forms of art.

One of those "social frames" would be an MFA thesis. Why not put a blog in it? Plenty of works of conceptual art have been. Of course, if this is as far as it goes, then the thesis would itself be a kind of conceptual art/writing project. For such a project, it would be precisely the (deadpan) blog about your cats (or family or hobby) that would be called for, in order for it to follow the logic of other conceptual art projects.

Conversely, Warhol's Brillo boxes would not have the same effect if they'd been printed in flourescent colors with the lettering in off-kilter, blurry black ink. Then you'd know something was up, regardless of whether they were stacked in MoMA or in the stock room at the supermarket. If it were the latter, the structure (or inherent form) of the piece would produce its own mental frame: this is not what the thing that usually goes here looks like. As opposed to: the thing that looks like this does not usually go here (see preceding paragraph).

Either way, it seems like space/place - esp. public v. private is a crucial determinant. So the fact of your blog's being an MFA thesis would need to be made public in some way - perhaps by blogging on a streetcorner. And videotaping it, and then exhibiting or publishing that video somehow (as some performance art - whether in public or private space - might be videotaped and then shown as DVD or in a gallery).

Probably the best way to do it would be to make the blog reader/viewer constantly aware of the process of writing, approving, and submitting an MFA thesis that is a blog. Culminating in the diploma as a permanent feature in the side-bar. Like the "show invisibles" command in a word-processing program. Then content wouldn't be an issue, since the form would be the explicit conceptual (and visible) "frame."

2 comments:

Susan M. Schultz said...

don't faculty comments to the blog mark it as MFA material? I like the notion of rendering blogging as a public act. The odd mix of private and public is one of the things I find most appealing--and spooky--about the process. Thanks for thinking this through, Joe.

Joseph Harrington said...

Well, that's a good point, Susan. One of the things I haven't figured out how to do on blogger - and maybe Jen knows how to do it on word press - is make the comments appear on the main page. That is, if you're reading the post, you're sure to see the comments, too. By hiding the comments, the software renders them semiprivate - or at least secondary. But I don't think they are.