The Rolodex

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Pierre is developing a kinetic sculpture/text-based work comprised of three Rolodexes. Each card in the suite will present a sentence fragment. These fragments make no sense on their own, but form simple subject/verb/object sentence when juxtaposed with the others. Hence, the cards in the left Rolodex contains the subjects, the one in the middle presents verbs and the one on the right offers objects.

For example: R1 = "You" (subject); R2 "love" (verb); R3 "to collaborate" (object).

The cards will be shuffled automatically with an electric mechanism. Josh is working with Pierre to calibrate the gears so each Rolodex operates at a different speed. The content of the cards will be drawn from narrative(s) of UC's development. The cards will reference to the Interim Report as well as extraneous material. (For example, Pierre intends to including the phrase "Mary had a little lamb".) And the premise of this artwork? I think it explores the proliferation of meaning as a condition of discursive art practice...

In our meeting, Pierre was quick to acknowledge there's something slightly brazen about the mechanism's treatment of the group's efforts to date. The "rolling indexes" could be read as devalidating the idiosyncratic perspectives of individual collaborators on the grounds there is no certain truth, making the artwork a kind of (anti)history predicated on hyper-relativism. Tricky! It could be argued this post-structural artwork reminds us truth is necessarily constructed. Nevertheless, "genuine" truth (or at least truths told in earnest rather than irony) is based on some referent...or at least it should be...How to maintain fidelity to certain aspects of (the/a) truth while also acknowledging that it's complex and contingent?

Further, I'm fascinated by the way Pierre's artwork references the relationship between the individual and the group, shared versus common knowledge, and tacit versus explicit understanding. It will be interesting to see how this one-armed-bandit references these relations--and to what degree the artwork's allusion to gambling raises issues related to risk.

While Josh has offered to help with motorizing the mechanism; I've offered to pitch in with writing some of the myriad phrases. I wonder if/how he will accept these offerings as collaboration. I've mentioned elsewhere that Pierre doesn't believe our tri-part project is truly collaborative. This is because individual artists have determined the formal aspects of their "respective" artworks. Read more about this here.

Pierre remains unsure how his Rolodexes will be presented. Will they appear on a plinth or on a table? How interactive will they be? Will it be fully automated or will they invite some form of direct engagement?


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