Weekend Links: The disjointed, sickly edition

The lack of legitimate blog content this past week is down to a tangled string of causes, from a bit of post-birthday downtime to meetings to planning and running a workshop within a ridiculously narrow timeframe. And that only took me as far as Wednesday, after which I was taken down by the sort of nasty cold that left me wrapping up a deadline-sensitive exhibition essay on a bit of a DayQuil high. Yes, it was that kind of week, so this batch of links aren’t particularly cohesive – though they do make good reading for a rainy day like the one outside my window right now.

Luke Skywalker and Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back (Source: sexualityinart.wordpress.com, and no, I don’t want to know why either)

The problem with video as art: In a post that plucks my own frustrations clean from my brian, Star Wars Modern praises Christian Marclay’s The Clock for circumventing so many of the gallery conventions that make viewing video art so damn tedious and uncomfortable. Besides evoking good old common sense (“Imagine being asked what you thought of Empire Strikes if you had had to watch it standing in the middle of a dark gallery? You would have entered cautiously to find a nay-saying green puppet brow beating a sweaty guy, stood there for a bit and left.”), the discussion also couches the genre within the historical conventions of early conceptual works that prove just how unnecessary this physical endurance game really is.

Another great calling-out of art bullshit: Corinna Kirsch at Art Fag City raises some excellent points about the ubiquity of the term “readymade” in contemporary art to such an extent that any use of the word as discussion or criticism is essentially hollow and pointless. I agree with her quite whole-heartedly, but there’s also been a strong thread of contention on the post that deserves a close reading in its own right.

Interesting times in Egypt: Artist and Art21 guest blogger Lindsay Lawson coincidentally found herself on a workshop assignment in Egypt at the same time as the recent protests-turned-revolution. Though she’s not alone as an artist reporting from within the storm, what is fascinating about Lawson’s post is her open acknowledgement that the events and encounters swirling around her cannot be neatly reconciled into any sort of coherent narrative – this is chaos at its most honest: “During the protests a man went wakeboarding down the Nile, as he does every Friday, while people on the shore ran away from police and tear gas.”

The Situationist heart of punk: In an article written in advance of a BBC Radio 4 program on the subject, Geoff Bird explains how the political charge of Britain’s punk movement found its impetus in the protests of France’s Situationist movement and the May ’68 student revolts in Paris. Though France’s punk legacy is little-known today, it’s fascinating to follow this conceptual punk lineage that includes French philosophy and Patti Smith’s adoration of Jean Genet and Arthur Rimbaud. You can also listen to the radio program, ‘Liberty, Fraternity, Anarchy – Le Punk Francais,’ on BBC’s iPlayer.

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