Episode 1: Material Resists Concept: Painting beyond Futurium
Patricia Andersdottir Roth ( PAR, Precarious Artistic Researcher) speaks to BG (Banality Girl) about infiltration.
„In On Materiality, Elkins describes the agonizing slowness that seems to be associated with the artistic processing of material from the perspective of scholars, whose thoughts flow much faster than material in a studio. Work in the studio is long and slow, goals often remain unclear; unwieldy material is not necessarily inclined to follow the elegant and rapid thoughts and ideas of scholars. Working with material resembles craftsmanship, which must be carefully practiced, reiterated and appropriated. He describes the relative speechlessness of art historians in relation to the materiality of artwork, and only very few art historians devote their time to the subject. The scholarly art historical framework appears to dissolve as the gaze increasingly approaches matter, and in the end, a blob of paint is nothing but a blob of paint, a dried, formerly fluid chemical compound, and a spot stares you in the face in the form of a material splatter, disentangled from complex sociological contexts, narratives and histories...“
A blob of paint that stares you in the face... just like the grey and white plastics of a stinknormale Steckdose, the scrape in the linoleum floor of the project space, the tiny place where the wood floor meets the wall in your living room in a weird and unusual shape, PAR ( whose full name is: Patricia Andersdottir Roth, or: Precarious Artistic Researcher) thought, as she continued to write.
„My long term artistic research into the use of human milk as material and/or representation in art has been about working with the resistance of both a material who was not produced for painting and an art environment where there was no preassigned space for working with human milk as drawing material. Since working with milk, I have been concerned with creating contexts for this type of painting as well as making it.“
Pause. Yawn. Take another sip of coffee.
„For my experimental drawings with milk, I crossed two apparently conflicting fields: human milk and imagery of technological apparatus, often seen as more cerebral, quantifiable and in direct opposition to conceptions of what is natural, amorphous stuff. Human milk signifies love, care, growth, and intimacy and is produced through an empathetic process where the body learns to produce milk most easily in response to physical stimulation by a physically dependent and vulnerable body, as well as other types of milk extracting and pleasing machines.“
Or by less dependent bodies, but most adults don’t want to talk about that. Though she had been there, starting with Futura in Prague years ago, and there continues to be a market for it. Ja ja, the breastmilk fetish scene. Bla bla. Most people found that so distracting it was hard to get them back to focussing on her milk drawings when she went there. Just like images of naked breasts, actual milk producing apparatus. Woke people up and maybe got a laugh or two, but then it was hard to get them back on track. Freedom Fighter Friend said she used that when talking to German engineers. Place a naked breast in there for a second in the middle and everybody gets jolted out of their polite sleepiness. PAR decided to leave that part out.
„When you work that intensively with a material you develop a relationship to it. The material starts to talk back, it aquires a personality and you might have an idea and then milk says no, (she can be very direct), not like that. Remember me, we have been here before, take the other route, more like this. Higher up, Dr. Or. Yes, wow, that’s amazing, dankeschön. So it is also about pleasure, and desire, and I can hear Cixious’ Medusa laughing through the milk.“
Hmm. Too much maybe.
„For some, the answer is always 42: for me, the answer is always in the milk, even if there is no actual milk in my work any more.“
Oh, yes, that is pretty cool, she thought. And true. And it made her look like she knew what she was talking about. When she had no idea, really. Not the slightest.
„Human milk is also currently one of the most highly contaminated milks. We are part of an abused and contaminated nature: it shows up in the milk. All the garbage and history that we produce or have produced out of sight in factories we own and invest in and relocate across the border to the other side, stuff we toss out, project onto others or try to sweep under the carpet seeps back directly into our bodies as a sort of condensed, collective and often unconscious memory or dirty conscience...“
PAR flashed back to her last excavation into Emotional Dumping Ground (EDGE = Emotional Dumping Ground Excavation), where she was sent in order to unearth and bring forward and connect for posterity the traces of the Monument Against Patriarchy (MAP) that will save our asses from the great rivers of Braune Scheisse currently creating maelstrom waves. MAP slid down to earth holding on to the tails of the Milky Way and innoculated that part of the spaceship against fascism last year...that was a shiny moment of artistic research brilliance and it was hers. Nobody really noticed nor has any idea how long these new innoculations will last...but it did finally land, it was here on Earth again. However, it was completely unclear where it was currently travelling and on what route...
PAR was sitting at the desk next to the window that opened into the sunny Innenhof. Her desk was covered with hand written notes, milk spotted papers and half finished linoleum prints. She accidentally poured breastmilk into her coffee. Again. To be honest she had always been a little disgusted by her own breastmilk. Across the room from PAR, Banality Girl sat comfortably on the couch, feet tucked under, and talked about her now self described „open relationship“ partner, ex-partner, whatever. The new lover of her ex was so amazingly amazing, an actual published author, it seemed. A little particular, she hated cats and became heftily allergic to non existent cat hairs on her lover’s coat when she heard that Banality Girl once possessed a cat. Banality Girl described how she listened patiently to her ex’s glowing description, as he went on and on and then, when she became bored, BG had asked: „So, does she wax or does she shave?“ Her ex was taken aback. „Wha...?“ She repeated, evenly, looking at him, the tiniest trace of pity in her eyes: „Does she shave or does she wax?“ He stared at her. „I...I ...uh...don’t know...“ he said. And Banality girl calmly sat back and waited and was not at all surprised when he crawled back to her a few weeks later. It was so easy to paint herself into their sex-life with her innocent curiosity. „I knew that he wouldn’t be able to go down on his new lover any more without hearing my Banality Girl voice in his head: Does she wax or does she shave? And that pretty much the only way to get out of this would be to tell his new lover and BG was pretty sure shiny new Cat Hater Lover would not be too pleased to hear he had been discussing her intimate body parts with his ex.“ She hugged her legs to her body and laughed and laughed.
PAR half-assedly laughed a little, too. She had only been partially listening, she was still too preoccupied with her talk. It is true that it was pretty funny, the way BG imagined she had infiltrated her ex’s sex life. A little inflated ego indulgence never hurt anyone, especially when it came to getting over exes. Or preparing talks for getting hired.
She went back to her text.
„PLOTTING FOR BORDERLINERS
In Plotting for Borderliners, 30 years old obsolete technology – HP70 DRAFTPRO plotter encounters a 30 000 year old painterly conversation by modern human bodies that have not changed much in 200 000 years and more of birthing and breastfeeding, even though our abusive implementation of technological developments changes the environment we rely on more rapidly than our bodies can evolve to adapt to it. We have become somewhat used to thinking of ourselves as permanently marking and damaging a vulnerable environment by our consumption, as much as we may try to do the right thing by separating our garbage and reducing emissions. We are much less used to thinking of ourselves as human sucking and vacuumung machines extracting and condensing the noxious stuff we have often arrogantly forced into the world by breathing, drinking and eating into the milk our bodies produce for feeding future bodies with it.“
Wait a second. Infiltrating an ex’s sex life. She wondered if there was something there for the Monument. She had met her fairy godmother at the airport the other day. As usual, he was busy transforming people into whomever they wanted to be for a few hours.
Transforming people into whatever...
Transforming the stinknormale Steckdose. Maybe it was there? If she could only somehow attach the travelling Monument to the stinknormale Steckdosen in everybody’s lives...
„So how did it go?“ Asked Banality Girl.
„Well, I had them rolling around laughing and that felt good. I was wearing pink flamingos and was fabulous, if you ask me. But not sure, because I didn’t do the bone dry serious academic thingy. And at the end the top guy said: „I mean, what really bothers me, puzzles me, is: