Sunday, July 26, 2009

This isn't really a blog. It's a 'conversation page', an easy way to talk about the cinema-based art work 'Ken Dryden', by Canadian artist Clive Holden. We want to know about how it makes you think or feel. Please use the comment functions below.

Among other things, the on-going Utopia Suite project (2006 to 2012) is an experiment in 'conversation-based art'. To-date, most of these conversations have taken place in galleries, cinemas and one-on-one. Plus, it's our belief that art is a conversation between artist and viewer/audience. But this page is part of an on-going attempt to broaden the conversation beyond traditional walls.

We've decided on this format for several reasons: you don't need to be a member of anything so everyone's included; it's free and very easy to use; and the conversation can be moderated. Clive will be the moderator, so you don't have to worry about especially rude responses to any of your comments, and he'll join in where necessary or if asked questions.


GS said...

The conversation between Ken and an interviewer, made more ominous by the music (like Coppola's Conversation): is this meant to parallel our conversation? The one between multiple viewers of Clive's work (with Clive being one of the possible viewers).

The reason I ask is because I've never thought of art or film or literature as a conversation. Rather, the artist engages in an activity full of private associations on one side of a membrane or interface and the viewers have their own entirely different experience, full of their own associations on the other side. And the work, the film in this case, is the membrane and the only thing they have in common; the thin surface where their two worlds touch.

Has Ken responded to this piece?

Clive said...

My family's Irish and one of the things people often say they like about that country is the level of talk that's found there – they speak of 'the art of conversation'. So, this project's partly my attempt to make 'conversation of art' - to follow that logic a bit further.

I'm talking about the whole of Utopia Suite though, not just this text – because for me engaging with art or art-making is conversational, it's interactive in a true sense.

I agree with you about the subjective nature of each person's response in the artist/art viewer relationship, but this seems similar to how people always meet one another, each with their own baggage and 'projections' (excuse the pun). And the art (not the artist) becomes the 'place' where they've met to talk.

But talking like this is a bit tricky because it makes a false dicholotmy out of the artist and viewer/listener/reader relationship. I think they join together in a sense, thru the art, even though they're entering through different doors. The viewer's essential in the 'making' of the art, and their own point of view is part of this process.

As for Ken Dryden (the man), I'd love to know his opinion of the work. But one of its main 'themes' is about how we form our characters or personas (the person in the mirror), and how dynamic this process is. How 'we' are always in flux.

So in this case I might be hearing from the actual man, but not the piece of culture called 'Ken Dryden' that Canadians have come to know over many years. Of course, this would depend on the candor of his response. Which could be difficult given his current profession.

So, I might or might not ever hear from him about the work. It would be interesting of course, but it's not essential.