Conceptual Art

Extracts from the Journals of Rrose Sélavy

revised 22 March 2009

Journals of Rrose Selavy

This scrapbook is for capturing ideas for Extracts from the Journals of Rrose Sélavy, a set of conceptual art works. They may be implemented more fully in digital format or physically. The pieces are built out of fragments of inner and outer experience as noted in real and virtual journals, with a ‘storyline’ that is fictionalised and symbolic. The underlying perceptions have been accumulating as notes in the journals over the past several years, but didn’t find this form of expression until a sudden outpouring starting in July 2008. We’ll see what happens next. Everything here is in development. Some are just notes and may change multiple times before being ‘finished’. The scrapbook records not the products but the process of developing them. As Rrose says in the journal:

My art is a life in progress.

Rrose unvarnished by her bachelors, even listen to INCA Music Project while viewing the slideshow

List of pieces, newest and recent revisions on top. Click on any link to see the detail page:

  1. Brick – a poem, created on the site 29 June 2009
  2. Synesthesia 2 – performance version of synesthesia game, created 22 March 2009  NEW
  3. ineedart – animation or audio clip 20 July 2008, revised 26 January 2009
  4. Book of Changes – interactive web page draft implemented 25 August 2008 video clip added 10 January 2009
  5. Surrealist Games – moved to a separate page set, expanded 10 January 2009
  6. Stuffed Bird (formerly Polarity) – performance  of sculpture with video documentation revised and performed 5 December 2008, expanded 10 January 2009
  7. Biographical Factoids about Rrose Sélavy – created 26 December 2008, revised 9 January 2009
  8. Dream Dressing Table – textiles from the subconscious expanded 6 January 2009, more visuals added 10 January 2009
  9. Palimpsest Stories – surrealist game revised 6 January 2009
  10. Synesthesia – surrealist game created 2 January 2009, updated with images 7 January 2009
  11. Haunted Hatchback – created 10 December 2008, revised 10 January 2009
  12. Postcards from the Bottom of the Oceancreated 4 January 2009
  13. Borgesian Screen Capture – digitally mirrored reflections on the creative process created 24 November 2008
  14. Ego Weekend – surrealist language game created 24 November 2008
  15. Identity Cascade – wall hanging created 30 September 2007, updated 15 November 2008
  16. Lots of Words about Something / Lots of Words about Nothing – performance created 15 November 2008
  17. In / Out of the Box –  storyboard Created 7 September 2008, updated video with music 4 November 2008 performed 27 November 2007
  18. Bricolage – digital documentation of creation of a woven tapestry ongoing – photos updated 24 August 2008
  19. In / Out of the Box – video/performance 24 August 2008
  20. Peripheral Vision – video and still images with voiceover 24 August 2008
  21. My Is A – interactive webpage 20 July 2008
  22. Crack / Release – video or sculpture 20 July 2008
  23. Up and Down – photo montage 20 July 2008
  24. Glass Bubble – dance 15 July 2008
  25. Four Walks – matrix 15 July 2008
  26. Axons and Dendrites – dance with images 15 July 2008
  27. Wreckage – pair of photographs, video or live performance piece 13 July 2008
  28. Layers and Layers – Flash object 12 July 2008

New idea 15 July 2008 – As the pieces accumulate, the connections between them become clearer. In some cases, there should be a sequence, but that is not always the case. One possible way to present them is as a ‘concept map’ with each piece identified in a shape, with lines connecting them. The user can click in any order but will be guided if desired to follow resonances.

Side comment on the process: A question was raised as to how much this should be about form, the potential of various media to show the audience something familiar in a new way. Can do, but my initial impulse was about content, to communicate something hard to express, rework raw material into something concrete, take what is inside and put it out there. In this context it doesn’t matter if the photos are great or mundane as long as they do what they are supposed to do. But there may be a question as to whether this is art or a personal psychological exercise. It is both. I will preserve the honesty of this work and not compromise the original impulse. However, art with meaning that extends beyond the personal is still intended. I now see the scrapbook as a bridge between experience and the art, a work about creating the work. We’ll see what form it all takes in the end.

Who is Rrose Sélavy?

Her public significance can be discovered easily enough using your digital Information Skills, so I will let you explore and find her yourself. There is a thin strand of personal significance buried deep in the subtext of some journal entries.

At times she writes,

Ce n’est pas la vie.

What is conceptual art?

Definition of Conceptual Art from Tate Glossary:

This term came into use in the late 1960s to describe a wide range of types of art that no longer took the form of a conventional art object. In 1973 a pioneering record of the early years of the movement appeared in the form of a book, Six Years, by the American critic Lucy Lippard. The ‘six years’ were 1966–72. The long subtitle of the book referred to ‘so-called conceptual or information or idea art’.Conceptual artists do not set out to make a painting or a sculpture and then fit their ideas to that existing form. Instead they think beyond the limits of those traditional media, and then work out their concept or idea in whatever materials and whatever form is appropriate. They were thus giving the concept priority over the traditional media. Hence Conceptual art. From this it follows that conceptual art can be almost anything, but from the late 1960s certain prominent trends appeared such as Performance (or Action) art, Land art, and the Italian movement Arte Povera (poor art). Poor here meant using low-value materials such as twigs, cloth, fat, and all kinds of found objects and scrap. Some Conceptual art consisted simply of written statements or instructions. Many artists began to use photography, film and video. Conceptual art was initially a movement of the 1960s and 1970s but has been hugely influential since. Artists include Art & Language, Beuys, Broodthaers, Burgin, Craig-Martin, Gilbert and George, Klein, Kosuth, Latham, Long, Manzoni, Smithson.

Wordle: scrapbook

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