JHANA AND THE RATS OF JAMES OLDS, OR 31 DAYS/31 VIDEOS
Between June 25 and August 7, 2011, I moved my studio into The Baltimore Museum of Art where I created a new video each day in a central gallery open to museum visitors. The goal of this project, entitled “jhana and the rats of james olds, or 31 days/31 videos,” was to create a series of short, poetic videos in the playful and serious footprints of Oulipo games and daily meditations; creating one new video each day. The exhibit was both a constantly changing installation as well as a collaborative performance in which museum visitors were present as spectators and often creative partners. Each of these videos was created on one of the exhibition days and screened the following day.
I was thinking about the emphasis given to product over production, or display over creation. The piece was a video screening and an installation and a performance-a spiritual obeisance, an athletic braggadocio, a consideration of Marxist theories of production (with the assembly line so lovingly lit). It was a funny game for me to play, an exercise in concentration, discipline and focus, an extension of my every day. It was a greedy desire to squeeze a massive amount of work out of myself; a dare; a show I would like to have seen myself. Like the back story before the story, an inversion of the way we usually experience art work. A moving from the inside out. I was thinking how the interiors of museums are really only able to share what is almost the exterior of a piece of art work-and though this colliding of the interior and exterior is fuzzy-a step towards the interior of any art piece might be the making of that piece.
I’m interested in the tedious and repetitive qualities of meditation and art work, the difference and similarities in these two practices. The practice and work of these practices-the dispelling of the so-seductive myth of artist as creating through a vague and florid explosion of inspiration-or perhaps interested in romanticizing the effort and challenging technical, logistical, practical elements of creation. The tedious as IT. Or one of the ITs. Like all pieces of art, this project is accordion in its intentions, shrinking and expanding upon use.