Visiting Artist: Mike Calway-Fagen; notes

mike-calway-fagen-poster

This evening’s Visiting Artist talk by Aram Moshayedi and Shahryar Nashat has been rescheduled due to illness. It will take place next Thursday at 7pm, replacing Yunhee Min. Min will not be speaking. Until then, here are the notes from last week’s talk by Mike Calway-Fagen.

  • “We all share ‘the body’ in common, a site for making meaning.”
  • the skin is a barrier, an armor, a sensual direct contact point with the world
  • he shows us a picture of the following words along with photographs of rocklike fragments and a rope barrier: ‘Improvisational thresholds. Barriers. Liminality. Contingencies. Provisional empathy. Latency.’
  • he plays a clip of the British ventriloquist Nina Conti at the Royal Albert Hall. By the end of the video Conti has transferred the ‘source’ of her performance voice from a monkey puppet into her own body. Calway-Fagen says that he likes to watch the way she traces the flow of energy between human and object. “The moment when the unliving becomes the living.”
  • a picture of the characters from Spaceballs breaking the fourth wall.
  • a Saturday Night Live clip of actors breaking character and cracking up. The moment of vulnerability.
  • Teaching as an extension of studio work — a process of engagement, experience, encounter, and play.
  • a list of instructions from his class on Radical Empathy, e.g., Three minute observation of an animal followed by Three minutes being observed by an animal. In other instructions the word animal is replaced by mirror, object, and so on.
  • he shares information about Chang and Eng Bunker (1811 – 1874), famous conjoined twins. The body as sculpture and “a strange kind of sharing.” The twins’ furniture, specially adapted to their needs, constituted its own genre of uncanny sculpture.
  • Antiques Roadshow is “like object porn.”
  • comedy – Whose Line Is It Anyway? — the  serious adult becomes irreverent, silly, undignified, playful. Here adulthood is, in a sense, being ‘queered.’ (Also: skateboarders.)
  • adults rely on their eyes. Children use hands, mouth, everything.
  • kidney stones: “a geological formation that the body produces.”
  • the 2008 Canadian thriller Pontypool. People infected by a self-generated outside agent: language.
  • language. What does grapefruit juice taste like? What is ‘sour’?
  • Authors. Maggie Nelson. Rebecca Solnit.
  • Joseph Kosuth’s One and Three Chairs.
  • he quotes Bruno Latour: “Things don’t exists without being full of people.” He responds: “People don’t exist without being full of things.”
  • when we discovered a system of measuring time … this is the moment when we became cyborgs.
  • “I think what underpins much of the world is mortality and a defiance of mortality.”
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