Title: Installation

Media: Single channel SD video
Duration: 11'11''
Year: 2009

Cast: Tomas Spencer (as Mark); Jesse Inman (as Mr.Q)



A play for two characters observing and understanding the artist's performance. Most of my doubts about contemporary art are stated in this work.

Mark: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Here we are, watching the artist’s studio. Waiting for the artist to appear - we can use that time to introduce our guest, Mr. Q. Hello Q.

Q: Hello Mark, good to be here again.

Mark: Welcome. Now, based on our experience with earlier performances of this author, there is not much that we anticipate here?

Q: Right. I am sure we’ll see another act, another session without visible meaning and artistic structure, just visually attractive maybe.

Mark: Save it Q, the artist has appeared. Let’s see what is going on here.

Mark: ...When you say visually attractive, do you mean that these performances, if we may call them that, or let’s just say acts, rely very much on pure aesthetics?

Q: Well, it should be easy to make such a conclusion in case of someone else, because most of the artists are very focused in their work. They are narrowing their field of interest, creating personal poetics, artistic strategies, no matter what kind of art they are dealing with. This artist just seems to be unable to define himself in the field of art practices. As if he does not understand these things. You see, if this is a purely aesthetic act, then there is no logic in making this reference to the aesthetics of the 70’s – I wouldn’t bet on aesthetic values of art from that period. (Sarcastic laugh)

Mark: You are telling us that it is not so easy to categorize this artist?

Q: Yes, but it is not hard to categorize only his entire artwork – you have the same problem even when faced with an isolated piece. Somehow it’s not consistent in any way.

Mark: Is that important? To be consistent?

Q: Certainly! That is the way to catch an artist’s frame of work, of interest, it is what makes him visible.

Mark: But could there be artists who find that to be a… limitation? To be caught in self-created system of signs, topics, problems?

Q: It’s the way to distinguish oneself in the ocean of artists.

Mark: You think that is the most important thing? Making a difference between oneself and others?

Q: Listen…he plays the game here - …

Mark: Obviously.

Q: What is the point of playing this game? Is he doing it just because he finds it photogenic - this situation, and he believes that the rest of it will come through the fact that we see it in a gallery, that we consider him an artist? What if he is just betting on our prejudices when we enter the gallery space and then gives us nothing?

Mark: I should warn you that claiming that something is not art – isn’t very popular.

Q: Thank you, I am aware of that. But that wasn’t my point. I wanted to say that I am afraid he is struggling with the ideas, with the reason to do something. And that leads us to what we were talking about few minutes ago - the lack of self-created system of meaning.

Mark: That’s…that is a cruel thing to say. You are beginning to sound like a therapist, you think you can go inside an artist’s mind?

Q: I don’t have to. We have an image in front of us, given by the artist. That image is the product of his mind. We see here the image of the 70’s, right? During the 70’s an artist could do just about anything, and claim that to be art. But nowadays it just doesn’t work that way. Back then artists tried to do anything to shake the traditional art forms and the merchant system behind them. So the context was giving the meaning to such works. But, art has changed since, and so has the context. If you do the same thing today without this context – it’s awesomely stupid. What should be used here as a symbol, since it refers to the past – he is using as a form. That is why I am saying that he is struggling with ideas, and even worse – he is trying to achieve something by imitating art, and he is not even able to imitate some contemporary, present day art.


  Mark: Hum…has the system changed?

Q: Maybe not, but art chose turning towards community, world problems, criticizing the bad things around us, not around art system.

Mark: Ok. So you say it is good that contemporary art has made peace with art world? Q: Well, if that is the way to open art to reality, to real life – yes. I think we saw enough of these ontological explorations, reflexivity, dancing inside the closed circle of art and art history references during the period of the modernism.

Mark: I must say I am afraid that sounds like social realism. I prefer Modernism if contemporary art ends up as social realism.

Q: (sarcastic) You want to tell me that contemporary art turned into social realism?

Mark: In a way, yes.

Q: I really want to hear this…

Mark: Well, contemporary art doesn’t glorify any values proposed by any kind of authority like social realism did, but it has something similar to social realism. It doesn’t try to question the system to which it belongs. The second similarity is – realism.

Q: What you call realism, I would call – documentarism.

Mark: But documentary is realistic, or at least trying to be objective. Either way, it’s boring.

Q: Again, you are asking art to amuse you, to inspire you. I don’t think that is the right approach to art.

Mark: Maybe, but that approach comes from all that seriousness and documentarism of contemporary art. It is just killing me.

Q: But art is serious, don’t you think? It deals with serious questions.

Mark: No, building a bridge is serious. Curing a cancer is serious. Politics is serious.

Q: Art is political! Very much political.

Mark: Sure, but at some point it took a wrong turn. It became less art and more cultural and social activism.

Q: I disagree totally. Don’t you think art should deal with issues that bother humanity?

Mark: Let me tell you something here: if rock ’n’ roll with all its wild energy and criticism didn’t change the world with millions of followers across the globe – I am sure that snobbish contemporary art people with their shiny white wall institutions, magazines and audience wouldn’t do any better. So, for the sake of humanity – let art be more ‘arty’.

Q: So, what shall we do? Start drawing still nature again? Portraits? Beautiful landscapes?

Mark: Don’t insult my intelligence. I have nothing against politically or socially engaged art, on the contrary. I am just against boring and spiritless cultural activism and documentarism, which has occupied art for the last two decades.

Q: My, if that is the situation, I suggest that we stop talking here and give all our attention to Art and the Artist.

Mark: Let’s do that.