Gillick Chapter 11

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L.G.: I mean to some extent I'm absolutely instinctively. I have a lot of sympathy for this kind of position but then again I'm concerned about the legacy of straight white men sitting around and say, I'm not going to do anything until everyone gets together and does it together. I'm much more influenced by the legacy of revised social practice. I need to try to... - I have an element of scepsis and about this position, too. But I mean this was a discoursive process. I hate this word Utopia, too. I think it was used by the Right as an accusation against any form of progressive practice in Britain, and certainly the history of post-war reconstruction in terms of ideologically complex and progressive social work was always critizised by the Right as utopian. It would have been a nice idea but it was a utopian idea to make good quality housing for poor people. Because they don`t appreciate and they smash it up. So I hate the use of this word utopian. I think he probably has the same kind of problem with it. It's difficult for me intuitively to deal with the fact that the first protests against the Republican convention here in New York tended to be from what have been called interest groups. It seems like a divided world. Part of me is sympathetic to the what I call old-school position where everyone comes together and fights for a bigger kind of collective position. But the fact is that I would say that, wouldn't I because of who I am. Because it`s [?], that`s been the position. It's a difficult thing with this whole kind of utopia question. I think it`s possible that some people can be involved in this project yet absent themselves from the dynamic activity. When I was a teenager I used to go to Greenham Common in England where they had the American airbase and they had a women's peacecamp. And I would absent myself from the direct action that was taking place yet be there in a supportive role. Some of these strategies could be ways around this whole problem but the interesting thing for me is in fact this focus on what Hans Haacke thinks, what I think or anyone else thinks. It is not necessarily in synch with the true dynamic of the project which has actually to do with curating. It's got very little to with what he thinks or I think. We think it has to do with this kind of other world of curatorial dynamic which is often skirted over which is also a direct legacy of revised critical practice from the mid to late 60s onwards. It has its own specific history.

S.R. I agree with some of your ideas but it`s very simple. I didn't like the presentation of it in Venice. I thought it was totally... - It was the wrong place, it was the wrong position. I couldn't find the works of my friends. I was running around. Everybody asked each other »Have you seen that?«. It was really crazy.

L.G. Yes, exactly. Yes, I agree. It has inbuilt... - This was my critique from the beginning. And the point about the project is that it has a strong discoursive component where there's a lot of argument and a lot of discussion, and basically you have to concede sometimes. And I have pretty much lost every... - I think I won the arguments often, but I lost in reality because it didn't happen. So from my first speech I made in [?] within a conference about Utopia Station where I tried to change the title, change the location, tried to change the terms of involvement, I tried to do all these things, I got kind of outvoted as it were. It has inbuilt into the structure of it all the things that allowed people at a certain point in the kind of 70s to say, Well, it was all very nice to have this utopian kind of modern thinking and progressive thinking but it doesn't work. – because it has built into it all of the same problems that communal thinking often has, improvised communal thinking. You know opportunists can take over. There is usually one or two people who have already predicided something before the discussion. All these things are built into it. As a productive discoursive environment to talk about all these things it's very, very interesting. The effects of course are not necessarily the most interesting thing about it. So we`ll see.


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