Follow on Instagram for step-by-step guidelines on how to customise your lockdown zone into a smaller but more friendly Alternative Reality Hut. Share handy hints on ways in which you might reconfigure the things (objects, materials, furniture and other stuff) with whom you share your covid19 bubble. share photos of your hut-in progress on the Alternative Reality Hut community Facebook page
Saturday 24 April – Collect the things you would like to share your alternative reality with. make a plan for how these things could make a hut that you could fit inside.
BeKind and inclusive (Consult and involve all who inhabit the space, animal, vegetable or mineral.)
Buildsmall and intimate. (just big enough to accommodate those who share your bubble sitting close together.)
Sunday 26 April – DIY: ALTERNATIVE REALITY HUTMAKING DAY! build your alternative reality hut with the things that you have in your home.
Thought experiment: what happens if you think of it as collaborating with the entities with whom you cohabit and constructing an alternative reality hut together?
relax and dwell with the quiet kindness of things: spend some time in this dwelling within a dwelling. Let your mind wander. Take time to see your things from a literal and metaphoric new perspective.
8pm – 9.30pmTogether Apart #1 meeting the neighbours: a zoom drop-in session to share your alternative reality hut
Monday 27 April – relax and dwell with the quiet kindness of things: Let your mind wander a little further. Take time to see, sense, think and feel your things from a literal and metaphoric new perspective.
11am – 1pm Together Apart #2: alternative reality stories. Zoom in from the comfort of your hut and share an alternative reality story. It might be something you have dreamed of in your hut. It might be an alternative reality you would like to see as our new normal. Or you might choose to share the experience dwelling in your alternative reality hut or to reflect on the quiet kindness of things. (bring a picnic, a coffee, a glass of wine)
I have a show at Whitespace Contemporary Art early next year and have been mulling over what to call it. The show will involve some paintings, a few books of drawings and a number of yet to be finalised objects. There is always the straightforward option of SomeNew Paintings and Objects, and I also considered Horse, Pony, Donkey but I have decided on Avoiding Mastery. It has a decisive ring to it which clashes pleasingly with its directive to avoid getting too good at art making.
Ironically this interest in non-mastery has its genesis in my Master of Fine Arts study at the University of Auckland in the early 2000’s. At the time I couched it in terms of cheating and lying as strategies for art making, however now I am thinking more in terms of failure and resisting the status quo. Failure to do the right thing, failure to master the art of being normal (or more correctly normative), Failure to be polite and well behaved, failure of art to strive toward being more skilled and refined and conceptually erudite.
In general a failure to progress and a reluctance to endorse progression as (a) normal/natural and (b) desirable.
In art, the problem of both success and failure rests on judgement. A judgement of either success or failure is by definition based on an expected outcome, either achieved or missed. In either case the assumption behind the judgment is not challenged. However, if judgement is postponed, the possibility of a third option arises, a position that that wavers between the two: the shaky territory of the provisional. The provisional allows for a mitigated success; something that holds together, just, but contains its own failure within it. It holds the door open to uncertainly, to multiple attempts, to self-doubt. It acknowledges the very human possibility that this is one of many tries at solving the problem on hand, and that this attempt is not necessarily the best but merely the most recent.
page 17 & 18
Modernism and the entire project of modernisation of the developed world has tried to write itself as a success story, a series of improvements and developments in the direction of Betterment. However nowhere is the dubiousness of this claim more evident than in the increasingly dysfunctional relationship between the Western individual and the so-called Natural World. The black and white barometer of success-or-failure is useless here, as our mandate to subdue the world has evidently not been an unmitigated success, but nor can it be said to have failed completely. We occupy an ad-hoc middle ground cobbled together from our inherited roles of protector, exploiter, owner and consumer. A provisional space that can be neither tolerated, nor addressed, by the dominant cultural model and subsequently exists as an ongoing state of crisis. If art, as we claim, sits alongside life as a testing ground for ideas and things, there is some possibility that the things tested and trialled could educate life in the subtle mid-ground of the mitigated success and the partial failure.
As part of Put Up Your Dukes! Gabrielle and I made a series of three books extrapolating upon and extending the thinking behind the project. Resisting Societal Norms provides background to the work in this project but also maps much of the territory that I am deeply interested in researching further. As such it provides a research handbook; ideas posited and awaiting development (and contestation, complication and repudiation).
I will post this book in sections over the next days/weeks in the lead up to the second part of Put Up Your Dukes!, a book launch and exhibition of plan B’s and also ran ideas generated by, but not used in, from the Blue Oyster show. It will be held at Pearce Gallery, 130 St Georges Bay Rd, Parnell, Auckland New Zealand, on Monday 7 October.
In the first pages of Born Losers Scott Sandage reminds us that our modern preoccupation with weighing up our lives, deeds and endeavours on the scales of success and failure is exactly that- a modern construct revealing the darker side of the American Dream.
I am currently reading (and hugely excited by) The Queer Art of Failure by Judith Halberstam, in the introduction to this text Halberstam touches on the same territory
 Halberstam, Judith The Queer Art of Failure, 2011, Duke University Press
I made a new hairy object today. I was tidying up the studio and decided to re-crochet a failed carrot trial into an upright object with a base to fit a recommissioned trolley that was also waiting for a home.
Guidelines for the undertaking were: taller than it is wide but remaining self supporting, with base or ‘skirt’ to fit the trolley bed as closely as possible. It was not intended to be phallic, but even I have to admit that I could be conceived to have some resemblance to the male body part. But then it can be (and in the 90’s regularly was) argued that anything taller than it is wide could be considered phallic.
I could title it “Retro Crotch(et)* Trolley” or maybe “Postmodern-Chic (trolley)”.
*remember when every(thing)/idea(s) was in brackets? Ah, post modernism, who would have thought it would look so quaint from here?