Aerge to Walk

Cathy Fox sends out an email every time her site is updated so I only look at perhaps 1% of the material. It is the blog that cried wolf. I had the misfortune to read her alert about urban hikes as art this morning.

In a symbolic reclamation of Atlanta for pedestrians, Stuart Keeler will walk from Midtown to I-285 in each of three performances on December 16, 18 and 21. You are invited to join him. Dressed in primary colors, armed with maps and his cell-phone GPS system, the Atlanta artist (and co-founder of Le Flash) will depart at 9 a.m. on the appointed days at the intersection of Peachtree Street and Ponce de Leon Avenue.

It seems typically suburban-millennial to not recognize that the ‘piece’ you are doing was done 50 years ago in Paris, to not recognize the preposterousness of reclaiming the city streets when your carrying of a gps device is an outright admission that you still fear them, that the thousands of people you champion with far less idle time who make such pedestrian/public transit jaunts every day because they are forced to will either know nothing about what you are doing or would think you were a fool for walking to the perimeter if you didn’t have to, and that the other idle people whose interest might be piqued by your work will never have an interest in reclaiming the streets that they will have to share with the former group. I see this being about as well thought out as your standard balloon-boy, sex-tape, party-crashing ‘happening’ that relies on the notion that if you tell someone about something you are doing loud enough they will find it interesting. i guess that has always been the mo of the art community. i dont know, maybe his drawings will be fresh.

6 Kommentare

  1. Cathy Fox:

    Sorry for harrassing you. We have disconnected the automatic newletter. You will only hear from me if you are on my personal contact list. Please let me know if you wish your name deleted from that list.

  2. Stuart Keeler:

    Thanks for your comments, interesting!…lets get the “party” started then!

    Yes, I am of course aware of Guy Debord and The Situationists, I believe this is who you refer too?

    It might interesting to note that I will be working with an art historian this summer in Paris with a series of reinterpretation and renactments of DeBords pieces, and this project too will complete itself as performance documentation as well as a series of drawings in culmination.

    The only thing I fear is the lack of discourse about art in Atlanta, and the “party crashing” comment, (I love a good party in the terms of the Salahi’s !) does not open the conversation. I feel the piece is on many levels aims to create dialogue with the equality and practice of daily life, and the action of endurance as a performance credo is only one level to manifest the project. This is where it is interesting to me. Do you have to know its art to engage?….I say no.

    What happens along the way?…Will conversation occur?..yes. Will some who might not be familiar with art be interested and want to comment as I walk along the way?..yes. Maybe there will no comments, and cars honking at a lone figure in monochromatic red clothing….either way the piece will make comments, in minds, or imaginations of those who see. This is where “the art occurs”, in the happening of the piece, in the moment of dialogue and I as the artist do not have to be part of it, only a catalyst in a chain reaction my friend!

  3. McCalla Hill:

    It seems unfortunate that, somewhere in the course of history, events proposed as “art” have become a target of negativity and cynicism rather than an opportunity for discourse. Maybe it occurred when Clement Greenberg’s critical interpretations of art employed “vague terminology such as “viable essence”‘ that ultimately alienated a broad audience. It could be that after the social protest art of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s failed to create a Utopian nation people became so deeply disillusioned that any attempt to create dialogue via art produces anger and incredulity. Nevertheless, art can provide a unique opportunity for investigation and conversation without the bureaucratic pace of government or political methods toward social dialogue. Contemporary art has long ago incorporated activities that, if conducted outside of an art context, mimic activities that do not otherwise appear to be art activities. However, the space this provides allows nimble responses to large problems. I think of Mel Chin’s “Revival Field.” His piece, which might look to scientists like their day to day experience, allowed “Chaney’s laboratory research to be tested for the first time on actual contaminated sites.”

    Having just moved to Portland, I am painfully struck by the inaccessibility of Atlanta. Furthermore, even though I am skeptical of the ability or desire of this city to change I would never belittle the attempt of anyone under any guise to shout out about the disparity that exists for those people who engage in “pedestrian/public transit jaunts every day because they are forced to.”

    In conclusion, Guy Debord and The Situationists did this years ago, however, I imagine their message was to continue to Derive (or a means of stripping naked the city). Derive with your GPS, Derive when no cares, Derive when people tell you you are not good enough, but Derive mostly any chance you get because the masternarrative that is urban design will always need to be deconstructed. This need is particularly true for a city that, according to Rutheiser’s “Imagineering Atlanta,” has been structured to create an “impossibly complex, fragmented, and confusing social reality.”

  4. Scott Ingram:

    I for one am interested in Keeler’s project. I’m curious of the poo poo nature of the last comment. I think the greatest difference between the performance in Paris and Stuart Keeler’s is that he doesn’t live in Paris.

    However, I was just in Paris, I walked around all day and it never did address Atlanta’s pedestrian issues. Perhaps to preform the work in a more local and contemporary time frame will give it new meaning. The use of GPS alone could not have been done 50 years ago.

    I would like to personally accompany Stuart by following him in my car and blaring Ludacris and Outkast, periodically asking him for directions.

    I am tired of this, “that was Soooo done” attitude. Stuart, hop to it, make it about your community and most importantly, make it your own. Let me know if you find any new places to eat.

    p.s. i’m also interested in that balloon-boy, sex-tape, party crashing happening that was mentioned. i’d pay to see that.

  5. admin:

    interesting points no doubt.

    my criticism is definitely more ‘poo-pooey’ and base, although i have read the practice of everyday life and i know how to walk as an art, but decerteau’s art of walking always seemed a lot more quiet to me and less massively political.

    as someone who isnt an artist, the humor i find in the proposal is noted above: hundreds of people do this every day. it might seem less condescending if mr. keeler decided to walk along with those folks instead of declaring himself the street prophet to be followed. y’all might learn a lot more (about the city and about what it is like to be part of it) from someone who has a marta bus route memorized than someone using a compass on their iphone.

    that being said, it did sound like fun. i hope to see more people kicking it on the shoulders of roswell road.

  6. thomas:

    i am not an artist, nor am i a critic, but even i can tell it is absurd when someone duplicates what other people must do daily and declares it ‘art’. why doesn’t the artist stand on his feet at the grill of a wendy’s for 8 hours a day and call it art?

    “What happens along the way?”, you ask? will someone ‘engage in conversation’ with the artist on moore’s mill road or metropolitan avenue? no, they see people walking on the street all the time. they will think he is a lunatic like everyone else and speed past in their dodge magnums.

    anyway, i hope he has fun, whatever, but it’s not the idea that debord did this a thousand years ago that makes this exercise seem so vacant; it is the fucking map and gps. where do the other commenters get off defending that w/ the word ‘derive’ in the same breath? unless you are letting some kid in norway hack your system, you can’t really ‘drift’ with a computer telling you want to do along the way.

Critical Response:

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