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A cross-cultural, cross-gendered and bi-sexual anthropology of 'borderlinking', 'trans(sub)jective' art.

In this thesis, I investigate how, as a writer and curator, to deal with imagination that is present in some contemporary art, without compromising the quality of an artistic study, but by trying to view it from theimagined (or imagining) angle, since time, space, form and meaning are all created on the basis of that notion. What is often interpreted as 'mental' or 'cognitive reflection' or 'speculation' can equally be referred to as 'imagination' that deals with the artistic investigation of (un)realities at different levels. Even though 'imagination' is not medium-specific, it is, apparently, (still) easier to achieve in constellation art than in architecture or a painting. Imagination in image is not a representation of a daydream or the illustration of a fantasy, nor does it inject life into an object. We do well not to view it in a mimetic manner, because the very transformation to a (re)presentation, a metaphor, a theme, format or symbol could well obliterate it.  </>Given that imagination is something that is realized at image level, it can solely act as a suggestive proposal in a representation, because then (to date atleast ) the artistic difference with an artistic study of (un)realitiescan be experienced as a shift and can, possibly, be conceived as such after a period of time. This does not mean, though, that an artistic study with a surplus of imagination could not be integrated architecturally,for example, but that the invitation by an in-stitution is crucial, so that the artist can pitch his/her artistic research in an actual 'imaginative ' manner. Even if that temporary aspect has already been addressed at the drawing board, it requires adjusting even when it is deemed finished'. While imagination can be observed by a viewer or listener, it can equally be projected onto something which it is not. However, this should not be equated with apparent formalism' that can behave in a humorous way, even when quasi sterile, not least because imagination is stilloften consigned to the bin, or else deemed a source of inspiration, both as a canon and a margin. Imagination is neither moralistic, nor spiritual for that matter. Imagination structures 'some -things ' and 'no -things ' in a staggered manner, thus exposing an innovative dimension observable within, and from, an artistic study. Imagination creates imaginative space and time that enter into dialogue with the location and an era,and with its own artistic research of specific, or less specific, (un)realities. An artistic study and a suggestive proposal are entwined at the level of the image, but can be observed as an imagining image.  </>Throughout my research of the work of artists such as Bracha L.Ettinger, Peter Buggenhout, Joëlle Tuerlinckx, Adriaan Verwee, Paul Hendrikse, Julia Spinola and others, throughout my own curatorial research, including the exhibitions Gorge ( l ) (KMSKA, 2006) and Time Space Poker Face (Be-Part, 2013) and throughout my practice as a writer, I have examined how artistic research and imagination function in contemporary art. Especially as a false twin that is shifted to the level of the image and that, via a (closed) constellation, finds access through a method similarto, or one that has leanings towards, écriture automatique in an opening or innovative way. In other words, what is normally split or made hybrid is done within the constellation itself without the need for repairs. In simplified terms, while artistic research is organised, imagination is triggered and allowed a time and place. This borderlinking-in-differentiation, a concept borrowed from Bracha L. Ettinger, and which in this context, is tested and deployed in another environment and time,I call bi-modernist, or bi-sexual at another level. I argue, inter alia, that there has apparently never been modernism, except in specific artforms, which complicates the relationship with postmodernism or re-modernism. In other words, a (life-)style, an idea, an architectural structure or an acceleration of media/technology is often closer to 'nature' than to 'modernism'. My research shows that the reason for this is becausethe step of bi-modernism has been skipped, something which, incidentally, cannot be included in a manifesto or scientific report, unless suggestively, because mankind apparently, finds it difficult, if not impossible, to suppress the propensity to follow, or resist, this (verbatim), butinversion is not subversion. Imagination and interaction with imagination stir the sadomasochistic reflex in/of man and his/her way of dealing with subjects, objects and things, thus allowing for another game, namely that of bi-modernism. From the moment imagination becomes sublime, there is (mental) carnage; from the moment it becomes beautiful or ugly, something has not been dealt with. It may well be that, for some, imagination is experienced as being beautiful or ugly, or sublime or threatening, but a perception is not the same as the artwork. Since this is very difficult to study, the group exhibitions I prepare as a curator, or the texts I write in dialogue with art should be seen, or read, in two ways: both as a way of addressing artistic imagination in contemporary art, which in itself handles different (un)realities at different levels, and as a way of handling certain worlds that hardly can, or want to, incorporate, or come to grips with, this imagination, as a result of which imagination, as a way of dealing with (un)realities, is sometimes relegated to the role/lack of role of 'Messiah' either in the past, or the future. The issue therefore seems to be one related to imagination, namely how to escape aggression in the face of the imagined (imagining) image, however tangible or intangible that image may be, and that is where imagination comes in again. Imagination can, thus, also be seen as a survival strategy that can indeed be press-ganged, or even eliminated, by a culture,with all the consequences that this entails if that is done en masse.  </>'Imagination' can sometimes be relegated to a lack of role, bothin the periphery and mainstream, similar to minority groups, for example, who are encouraged to develop an identity, or are fashioned as havinga clear identity, in which case imagination is installed more as a buffer with a view to being used as a source of inspiration, scout (of an ostensibly 'dangerous' area) or dustbin. This does not mean that it always affects whether an artist is included in a canon or not - it may do, but not necessarily so but it does mean that the situation on the periphery, or in the centre, is fairly similar  </>to this imagining dimension of their (im)material work: what is established as 'normality', what can usually be interpreted as a reconstruction of a real or phantasmic 'home' and this right across the socio-economic divide homelessness is always projected outdoors, even if that home is frequently soughtout or is, in fact, faced with that very problem.  </>I believe that this cannot, therefore, be solved by a certain social class (elitist or anti-elitist). It appears that a parallel imagined (or imagining) world which is never closed off from dealing with (un)realities, necessary,however useless art and interaction with it may seem. Of course, there is no such thing as a 'perfectly imagined (imagining)' artwork, but it is also about an awareness of the pressure acting on it, something which the work itself usually indicates, either directly or indirectly. Imagination appears to structure artistic research in such a way as to ensure that its replacement, representations or metaphors, are at some point rendered unusable in terms of renewal and preservation, as a result of which a bi-modernism is always near at hand. Thanks to the introduction of bi-modernism as staggered imagination of image, which, except for (some)contemporary art forms and a specific interaction with it, is conceivedalmost exclusively as a phantasmic, complex or mythical portrayal of man and interaction with objects/things at the moment, it is clear that meaningless art, the imagined (imagining) image, does have a function: it creates investigative, experimental and imaginative artistic space and time and introduces man to a bi-modernism. This study does not reflect onthe level of queer studies, nor is a (future) portrayal of man put forward, because it is the researchers experience that when that is done,at least invariably, people are more acquiescent. It does not mean thatif something is imagined, created or written, people will interact withit. It may indeed be devoured in a cannibalistic manner, but the latterwill always guarantee a solution to the problem in the literal sense. Put differently, in dialogue with contemporary art, the researcher soughtways to interact with art. There is no point in resorting to terminology of 'authenticity', because it is precisely 'in' this connection that 'originality' is easily related to 'origin' (any form), which is not onlya non-imaged (imagining) manipulation of history, but also shows that there is apparently no way of connecting to the present or an (im)possible future, or the real and unreal situation of a location, for that matter. Most anti-artistic ritual spaces, or those that block interaction with the artistic dimension, easily elicit a non-imaginary interaction with(un)realities, as if one would prefer to deny people (humanity) and their interaction with other people, objects and things any artistic knowledge and interaction with it. This research does not, unless sporadically, refer to ritual space, but should be read as a curators and writers interaction with the elementary level of artistic imagination in some works/oeuvres of contemporary art. The me-person who occasionally comes into play, keeps her personal opinions to herself, but can be understood as the position (or lack thereof) of a choice in favour of (interaction with) artistic imagination in contemporary art, which can apparently meet with resistance, sometimes from different quarters even: everyoneappears to be afraid of losing their credibility, but they do not appear to shrink back from trivialising someone/ something. And that is exactly where imagination-related intervention / manipulation / the importance of political, commercial or (inter) personal or collective worlds in contemporary art and the related interaction can be experienced.</>
Date:1 Oct 2008 →  13 Nov 2013
Project type:PhD project