Rosler Chapter 14

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S.R. [...] I continue with my disturbing questions, and this is my second last: Do you think, that conceptual paradigms, can they be, in a form, renewed, can they be again brought to a contemporary point?

MR. I think, creative forgetting is very important for the artworld in the sense that this negative feeling that we as teachers have about the fact that our students are ignorant of the traditions that they appear to be working in, is not such a bad thing as I try to say because I... along with Harold Bloom, do believe that art transforms itself by creative misunderstanding, and by »creative«... I simply mean that it isn't befuddled only, that it's actually something organized, something coherent; I you prefer the world »coherent«, I would say coherent misunderstandings. I heard this long ago from my own teacher David Antin, and it was a very productive moment for me to realize that one did not... again it was... it was how to get away from scholasticism, from the academy, and also it solved the question of style for me because I realized that all these things ... there was a kind of entropy involved in the transmission of information from one generation to the other. And I am talking about information, that's I would say is one of the things that conceptual art brought us, the notion of art as a communicative act. And I wanna go back to what I said about Pop Art because it was conceptual art that supplied the link that pop denied, because pop, as I said, was mute and paranoically naive in the sense that it always said: »who, me? I'm not actually saying anything. I'm just producing an image. I am an image.« But what conceptual art was aggressive about was the invocation of the model of message, of sender / message / receiver. You know, of course it's inadequate. But just the notion of a system, and a system in which messages circulate and are subject to noise and transformation, because they are fluid. I think, that is what conceptual art brought to me. That was very productive for me, to be able think forward in terms of my own practice, how to work with photographic media, but not simply be a documentarian or a realist, even though I love those. I don't think I answered your question.// Sure, of course.// That's at all I remember what it was.// But I can.//

S.R. There's one last a little bit more personal question. And this question is, what is your ideal typical daily work as an artist?

MR. You mean, what do I wish I was doing as an artist? //Yes.// I would like there to be space and time to do whatever I damn please, some of which is productive in terms of actually working on a project or working on an idea, and others of which simply involves being a person and by that I mean really, the ability to read and think. Why do these things? I name them because they are what's missing in my life. I feel like I'm rushed to be constantly involved in the production, re-production, installation and re-installation of work that I have already worked on, and produce texts, which I have to write in five minutes, literally, or in one day. I feel a certain responsibility to be a public persona because I think it's really important for artists to be engaged that way, but I really would like to have that old-fashioned time to be a private person, but only in the interest of then being able to feel comfortable about engaging wholeheartedly as I do as a political person in the public world, if there still is such a thing. But I'm trying to say that as an artist I still need what artists need, which is space and time in order to have a generosity toward my own material. Is that terribly romantic? Yes...

S.R. I like romantic perspectives. //Caspar David Friedrich?// This was a very appropriate answer, I think. //Someone fell into the toilet. // [...] There's little bit more time and if you want to say something that wasn't in our talk, that is very important for you.

Martha Rosler »