Luis Miguel Bendaña
Custom machine-knit cotton, marker, VHS tape on recycled opera envelopes
A_M books for screen based devices x
constant crisis produces catatonic subject ~ occupy the constant catatonic for radical nothingness as alternative to desire ~ preteengallery.net
Snapshot of extremely beautiful Certificates of Authenticity by Miss Ulman. Body Fluid Included.
This summer, Paddles ON! is going global! Building on the momentum of the inaugural event in New York, Phillips and Tumblr are bringing the digital art auction to Phillips’s headquarters in London on July 3rd at 7pm. Curated by Lindsay Howard, this collection is the second digital art auction at Phillips, and the first in the UK, in recognition of the increasing viability of this work in the contemporary art marketplace.
The event will include a two-week exhibition (June 21-July 3), an online auction powered by Paddle8, and a live auction led by one of Phillips’s world class auctioneers. In addition to the auction and exhibition, Phillips will host a series of public programs in partnership with Arcadia_Missa which will explore what it means to create, sell, and collect digital art in the 21st century. These discussions will be livestreamed and online viewers will be encouraged to participate using the #PaddlesON hashtag on Tumblr and Twitter.
Artists and galleries will receive 100% of the sale profits and a portion of the buyer’s premium will be donated to Opening Times, a new not-for-profit online commissioning body.The exhibition and auction will feature 23 works by 23 artists, many of whom have been members of the Tumblr community for years:
- Majed Aslam
- James Bridle
- Laura Brothers
- Dora Budor
- Maja Cule
- Harm van den Dorpel
- Jeanette Hayes
- Luis Hidalgo
- Sophie Kahn
- Sara Ludy
- Jonas Lund
- Michael Manning
- Alexandria McCrosky
- Yuri Pattison
- Hannah Perry
- Heather Phillipson
- Evan Roth
- Harry Sanderson
- Michael Staniak
- Oliver Sutherland
- Amalia Ulman
- Yung Jake
Stay tuned on the Tumblr for updates and announcements on the artists and programs, and get the scoop of the next generation of contemporary art. See you on July 3rd!
Three amazing A_M represented artists in this, alongside lots of other incredible work and programming x
Bunny Rogers, Occupational Position (republished in Pearrls Issue 11)
This is an afterthought from my DPI text, kindly triggered by Rose Anne, who reminded me of one particular aphorism by Theodor Adorno. As well as Adorno, it focuses on the incredible work of Bunny Rogers. Lmk if I should do anything with the rambly like 3x as long version that I haven’t posted :/
The long and short versions were written in autumn-winter last year, whilst I was being affronted by a nastiness in the neu/cool art scene’s consensus on [certain bodies’] selfies, and the reductive ease with which many were folding a selfie and a wider artistic practice together. Other work piled up and I found I’d waited ages to post, annoyingly, so I hope the point still carries some worth lol. This attitude of reductiveness is not solely a problem of peer response, but also of much (not all) curatorial conceit - I wish to note Karen Archey astutely addressed this in Frieze Issue 159.
In Theodor Adorno’s Minima Moralia statements on life are laid out in the purest philosophical sense. Written in exile in Los Angeles during the Second World War, the essence is that a true and ethical life is one that has been demolished; that the image of utopia is false.
I re-read a particular aphorism – the “Exhibitionist”– and was left still confused. The ambiguity of its message was not solely due to the inherent subjectivity of Adorno’s aphorism, or that it riffed off theory I have only half-read, but also because the Exhibitionist is neither pure truth, nor deceit. For Adorno, “artists do not sublimate,” they do not transform impulse into something socially normalised, and it is an illusion to think that they put desire into the art objects they create. The friction created by not sublimating is the conflict produced in the act of expression, a residue that may count as an art object. For Adorno artistic conflict was, in effect, an open site of war, “Art is as hostile to art as artists. In the renunciation of the drive-goal it keeps faith with this drive-goal, unmasking what is socially desirable, which Freud naively glorified as sublimation, which in all likelihood does not exist.” Specifically Adorno challenges the binary of Freud’s theory on expression: as either manifestation or repression of desire. Expression, rather than a product of sublimation, is a non-hallucinatory state located in the real.
What is subjective never seeks, however, to substitute itself through the appearance [Schein] in delusive fashion, as through a symptom, in place of reality. Expression negates the reality, by holding up to it, what does not resemble it, but it does not deny it; it looks at the conflict straight in the eye – the conflict which otherwise results in the blind symptom. What the expression has in common with repression, is that the impulse finds itself blocked by reality.
Expression is a phenomenom of itself. Expression and repression are both blocked by reality. Successful expression challenges status quos. When thinking of current exhibitionists, or artists, am I thinking about whether their work achieves the conflict demands for expression as set out by Adorno?
Why should women settle to think and talk about just femaleness when men were constantly transcending gender?
Tension between how expression survives from within reality, is evident in the ethics of representation in regard to female artists, their artwork and feminine aesthetics. Sarah Nicole Prickett, on the Artforum blog, argued that “For most of us the selfie isn’t and shouldn’t be art […] it’s female narcissism, which didn’t you know is redundant” – never mind that Narcissus was male. This critique (of certain types of practice) presupposes narcissism and operates as a misguided contemporary calling-out of sublimation; chiefly leveled at certain types of works, by certain types of people. I, however, believe certain work looks the conflict between reality and appearance,straight in the eye.
Bunny Rogers appears in the aforementioned blog post. Her work gestures to femininity, materiality of a life online, representation of subjectivity. It serves all of these up candidly, heart-breakingly. Rogers’ challenge to reality occurs from subverting lived experiences through art and her art creating lived experiences in life. In 9Years, she documents her individual avatar’s journeys in Second Life in a photographic series (2009 – on-going); it’s a bleak and critical expression of the subjugation of women, the loneliness felt whist seeking interaction, acceptance and recognition. The disturbing awkwardness of angles is uncanny, the avatar wanders through Second Life’s sex rooms and topographies; someone’s hands holding her down; the body in compromisingly different outfits and positions.
In terms of Rogers’ art ‘object’ she mixes sculpture, craft, and web page pieces. Her work is often fragmented across varying periods of time, in one off unexplained pieces such as Special Dancing (2011), a gif made from a dark granular video of an unspecified female dancer, a skirt swaying form backlit by a light that floods in through the doorway behind her. And longer poetry and art works, seen in 9Years or on her cunny poetry blog. Her works never deny reality, but do subvert it, through faithfulness, by trying to offer up representation and appearance as substitute. Her work is developed by lived experience, by the instant opportunity to create identities and distribute self-representation across networks, portraying and twisting female condition with a knowing affirmation of this condition’s familiarity: ‘He wants a family. But with me?’
In stark contrast to the selfies that seemingly irritated Sarah Nicole Prickett, one of Bunny Rogers’ anthropomorphised sculptures does actually claim self-portraiture. In Self Portrait (mourning mop), 2013, the one solitary bow reminds us of the practices of many artists (Ringgold, Schapiro) whom have reclaimed craft materials and motifs of womanhood for making fine art objects. In mourning mop, the lineage of self-portraiture as a male pastime, the ego-sanctioned self-image is questioned by the decision to remove her self-image from the self-portrait. It works in its reproductive qualities – affect splinters into the gaps in your own experience, which silently screams, domestic, cornered object.
Donna Haraway, in The Companion Species Manifesto, has stated that “There are no pre-constituted subjects and objects, and no single sources, unitary actors, or final ends. In Judith Butler’s terms, there are only ‘contingent foundations’; bodies that matter are the result.” For me this exactly summarises Rogers’ approach, refusing universalism in favour of intra-acting agencies for the creation of (non-neutral) art objects. Rogers’ has stated “I see a lot of overlap in mass culture’s sexualization and exploitation of children and animals.” For Haraway and Rogers, the object-subject / human-non-human is privy to the same long-term culturing, hierarchical power and exploitation. This is why one increasingly finds political agency in artists whom refuse to wholly deny reality within their mode of expression. “My depression is my commitment to drama. Viewing life as theatre creates a detachment that allows me to process an otherwise crushing environment of extremes”.
Exhibitionism, misread as narcissism, is found in narration of both the biographical and the fictional. However one may judge ‘Exhibitionism’, it is a reflection onto reality that holds up to us what may not resemble us, yet does not deny our biases. Neither truth nor deceit. “As expression it comes to the unfalsified phenomenon of itself and thereby of resistance, in sensuous imitation.” Art, and where expression exists in these certain practices, is clearly not the singular, literal, image of the physical self. It is not one dancing girl.
Minima Moralia, Reflections from Damaged Life, Theodor Adorno, accessed here: http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/adorno/1951/mm/ch03.htm, on 16/01/14
 Chris Krauss, Aliens and Anorexia, p.103
 Self Portrait (mourning mop), Bunny Rogers, 2013.
 Donna Haraway, The Companion Species Manifesto, Prickly Paradigm Press, 2003, p.6
 See Karen Barad re “Intra-Acting Agencies”.
 Bunny Rogers Artist Profile, Louis Doulas, May 2012, http://rhizome.org/editorial/2012/may/15/artist-profile-bunny-rogers/ (accessed 07/11/13).
 Interview with Bunny Rogers, by Harry Burke, http://www.cmdplus.info/interview/bunnyrogers.html
 Bunny Rogers facebook status update
 Minima Moralia, Reflections from Damaged Life, Theodor Adorno, accessed here: http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/adorno/1951/mm/ch03.htm, on 16/01/14