Reading Print/Out: 20 Years in Print
On singing Aquí/Allá
for The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
An Image of Damage
Unpublished interview with Sara Greenberger Rafferty for The Suburban Gallery
Unpublished interview with Ethan Greenbaum and Colleen Asper for The Suburban Gallery
Colleen: Hi Two!
Ethan: Ok- we are all on now? Haven't tried this before. “Hi Two” is such a good expression.
Colleen: I have done interviews this way before....
Ethan: That should be our backup title.
Ethan: Maybe we can keep saying it whenever possible to 'brand' the event. “Hi Two.”
Hannah: Okay so now we are beginning the interview, "Hi Two." Did you both get the questions?
Hannah: Let's start with where the familial replaces the art historical in your curating project.
Ethan: Colleen you are tops with plurality. I've always said it but now I know it. I don't think we conceived of it as a replacement necessarily- more of a foregrounding narrative premise.
Hannah: Oh interesting. Why?
Ethan: One doesn't bump the other in my mind I suppose.
Colleen: Ethan and I are interested in using the familial to describe a relationship between works in a space, but when I try to graft the same term onto art history, I keep thinking about how what I don’t like about art history—namely its canonical function—lends itself too well to the metaphor of family. The family is, after all, structurally hierarchic. So I go right to the idea of lineage.
Ethan: The old bad family : ) Our household is more progressive,
cooperative, and maybe competitive.
Hannah: Right. So is your project subverting lineage? Are you generating a new category of lineage as the cooperative? Or a new model of the “in” family? How did you choose who could be included? And what's plurality and conversation got to do with it?
Ethan: I think it's interesting to think about in terms of screwing with lineage and influence. Hopefully when installed there will be some questions about which piece arrived first, what moves are happening in response to something else. The best result might be aetting go of those binary setups and just having a new thing or experience that resists sequence.
Me: What's the role of curators in this new family? Is it significant that there are two of you?
Colleen: Well, I think it is important to the nature of this show that there are two curators, so the work had to bedecided about in conversation. You read my mind hannah
Hannah: Yes that's very interesting. How does two resist a sequence? Or, what kind of sequence do two generate? I like how we are just taking off, not even really responding to those questions I wrote... Are you suggesting that "I" is an autonomous utterance, produced mutually......?
How theory-driven is this?
Ethan: I meant the arrangement of the works would resist a clear one two set up, by not always revealing what piece was there 1st, or what is a pedastal for another. But I guess it could also apply to the way we made decisions, hard tountangle. Like a conversation often is.
Hannah: Does the materiality of conversation replace personal narrative as the new basis of "I" (singular) ?
Hannah: So you are presenting tangled-ness as some new zone. What/who produces the work? Does it matter?
Colleen: Hmmm, well to returnto the idea of the family, I think Juliet Mitchell offers an interesting attempt to think about the familial outside of the hierarchy typically offered my psychoanalysis, by foregrounding sibling relationships in the family as a possible model of the lateral...so I think that it is important that Ethan and I are peers making decisions collaboratively....
Ethan: Agreed, we didn't argue enough though, where's the drama?
Colleen: P.S. my=by in the above statement
Hannah: So a new emphasis on the lateral, afforded by peer to peer conversation. Yes, this seems important, a definite plateau.
Me: Wait, are you guys related?
Hannah: May i ask you a couple q's specific to your work?
Ethan: Take it back.
Colleen: Maybe we can become blood brothers in Chicago.
Hannah: Ritual on the shores of lake Michigan?
Colleen: But yes, feel free to ask us questions about our specific work...
Hannah: Ethan, I really want to know what you think of John Chamberlain's car sculptures...do you think of them? and Colleen, the writing/research Q ?
Ethan: I pretend not to : )\
Ethan: he's actually done some good things but maybe he's just been coopted by too many bad artists so I think of them when I think of him.
Hannah: I think there's a similarity between what you're doing conceptually, using color asform, back and forth. although your materials are quite different. you're obviously from diff. Generations. I guess Im just really intrigued by your materials. It's like what does stone say about stone?
Colleen: I have gone back and forth on this. Writing/research has always informed my work, but never entered the actualprocess until in recent work I began to pull text from virtual contexts—an email, a search page—and try and represents them as something physical....
Hannah: Ok. Did you feel that you needed to keep them separate?
Ethan: I guess one thing I move away from with him is what I see as a replacement of one medium (painting) with another (painted car parts) and it after that unfolds for a long period itstill seems like a relatively static exchange and set of results. I like a materiality in work that is more unstable, less taken for granted.
Hannah: Is that why you handmake mass produced objects? so they're less "taken for granted" ? like the "wall" you made at the Suburban
Ethan: although look at this foam piece http://www.google.com/imgres?
Hannah: Woah that's gorgeous and so sexy. Hey Colleen, are they something physical or do they represent physicality? is it either/or? were they physical before they became physical? Like, is, or how is, an email, a physical thing? So that foam piece- thats like packing material...How is that less taken for granted than car parts?
Ethan: Well, I use a mix of studio hand-building and processes where I have to pay someone else to make the work for a few reasons. On the level of reception, I'm interested a lot in translation-how does a work shift when the platforms for producing it change and how do you translate an idea liketexture mapping on the computer into handbuilding with clay or vice versa? These are lateral moves that might be consistent in motivation but are more varied in physical results and associative or metaphorical range. Thats why the foam is so surprising after all those colored car parts.
Colleen: Both. I mean apainting and an email both have physical properties, an also semiotic ones.... so I am not saying that in my work I am making these things physical, but describing that physicality by representing them, with an almost cartoon-y exaggeration as something with form.
Ethan: like your typing piece- the athleticism or at leastWORK of writing.
Colleen: Yes. And exaggerated physicality is something our work shares...
Ethan: I hadn't made that connection but that's true
Hannah: And what about cartoony exaggeration? I really like that. Ethan- I really want to ask you to deconstruct the lateral moves it takes to produce foam.
Ethan: Maybe that comes from so much of the work being generated digitally or at least trying to recoup something of digital experience on physical plane, a certain hyperbole seems appropriate : )
Ethan: to produce foam? What do you mean?
Colleen: I think it also has something to do with grafting layers of mimesis on top of one another...
Ethan: Yeah. materializing that layering
Hannah: I am thinking of lateral moves in terms of a productionline with a mass of people handing some thing off, each adding the next bit to it. I was wondering if you knew the specific process that occurs when making foam.
Ethan: I don't know how foam is made : ) I imagine its chemists mixing chemicals in a vat.
Hannah: and those layers must relate back to the logic of the show.
Colleen: I don't use fabricators for my work, but to return to the idea of collaboration, one thing that I have found exciting it watching the way collaboration has affected the work I do in my studio...I have noticed that all the collaboration I do makes me much more likely to takeone line of thinking in my work and combining it with another (lmost as if I am collaborating with myself) in such a way that the intentions are operating at cross-purposes.
Colleen: Thanks for doing this Hannah. It brought up some really interesting stuff that I am excited to think more about!
Ethan: Ttly. same here!
Colleen: In person we are even more material:)
Hannah: Oh i hope theres no sibling quarrel over this.