SYP Exercise 1.1: Five practitioners

With each new module I find myself liking the reflect/review activities of the first part. They routinely make A1 the biggest assignment for each, or rather: the most directive, the one where you need to do a lot before the assignment comes into view, but the review of Res and BoW carried me quite far into the courses, so I happily turn to A1 of SYP.

Five practitioners.

Kind of easy, they are in the Research dissertation, aren’t they?

I name: Joan Jonas, Katrina Palmer, Juliana Spahr and Noemie Goudal. None of them are new, of Spahr I have written only a little in the course contexts before, the other have featured. I also find myself returning again and again to Susan Hiller’s work. This one is possibly the most fan-girling choice as I am less certain how much there is of hers in my work. Except perhaps the insistence on themes, on dream and the psycho-analytic, of a range of working practices. Then there is Jew Street also.

I have a few books of each of them, of Goudal and Hiller none here.

The coursebook asks a number of obvious questions, and I find these are the more interesting ones to focus on:

  • What makes their ideas contemporary and of significance within the creative arts?
  • What can you learn from them?
  • How could you start a conversation with them?

The latter for Hiller, the only one of the list no longer alive, would be easy: Let’s hang out in our dreams together a little. Juliana Spahr’s Army of Lover is still not with me and it’s somehow the book I aspire most to, or possibly it’s one that I feel is closest to my own way of working with site, text, relationships and contextual references. I think I would possibly feel intimated by her more so than any of the others. That Doug, my BoW tutor did some work with Katrina Palmer and their conversations features in one of the coursebooks is exciting, and so was reading (and later gifting numerous times) her Dark Object and how close it is to some of our own institutional obsessions and desires.

Yes: enquiry and desire in Palmer and Spahr; vision and improsication in Goudal, Hiller and Jonas for treading beyond the obvious, easily accessible. In all of them I feel I admire their persistence, scope and commitment. There is ambition and sincerity and I think it’s what I can do with as a public persona, as a private persona it’s there plenty but I rarely enter into cultural spaces publicly with it.

No images either, they are easily found however.

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