Talking to Tania
|Richard Layzell – Talking to Tania 5|
Day 4 • 6 April 2005 • New York
TK Hope you weren’t at the piano again this morning
RL Enough already. How are you?
TK You know I don’t respond to questions like that. ‘I’m fine’.
TK Given it up
RL I sat with the coffee group that kicked off the conference in Providence, the group that chose coffee.
TK You chose coffee?
RL I chose coffee.
TK What were the other choices?
RL Bread, rice, butter, can’t remember the others.
TK Sounds pretty cringey. So did you like the coffee people, feel a bond?
RL Not really
TK Have coffee with them on subsequent days?
RL Once or twice, Elicia mainly, who gave a paper on the role of silence in Gertrude Stein’s libretto for Virgil Thomson’s ‘The Mother of us all’.
TK I remember. Wasn’t that really a collaborative work?
RL Maybe. How would you know?
TK I know things you don’t know I know. It’s a nice parallel. I could see myself as Gertrude Stein in our collaboration.
RL Shall we do some research on her?
TK I’ll think about it.
RL Funny we should be talking about the conference, because today was connected. Did I mention going to the Franklin Furnace presentation.
TK You said something. Didn’t you perform there in the ‘80s?
RL Yes. It was their annual artist commission. I was one of the chosen ones of 1987.
TK Chosen by who?
RL A panel of artists I think. Since then the move to Brooklyn (from Franklin Street), Franklin Furnace has become an archive. They no longer have a venue.
TK Why not?
RL I asked Martha (Wilson) about that. She talked about the culture wars and being branded an obscene organisation, so they’ve had funding problems.
TK What’s an obscene organisation? Are we one?
RL One that shows work by provocative artists, like Karen Finley.
TK Who doesn’t?
RL Most American museums and institutions it seems, if they want to keep their funding streams.
TK How about the commercial galleries?
RL Censorship is censorship, so watch out.
TK Stay clean in the city of desire.
RL So I spent the day there.
TK Nice. Tuned in?
RL More so. Tried to hold back on decisions till I got there. Had thought about performing/locating/being in residence in the neighbourhood, with a base inside the Franklin Furnace building.
TK There you go again.
RL But the walk from Pacific Street subway to Hanson Place put that idea to rest.
TK We’ve been dealing with this issue for days.
RL We have. I don’t know why I’ve found it so hard to take things as they come, but maybe if we switched roles you’d be struggling.
TK Isn’t it another form of Freeflow? That’s what I represent in this. If we reversed you’d have a different role for me than I have for you here.
RL We talked about returning to the four categories of commentary from the Australian Log.
TK Let’s do it. So, category one, Practicals and Methods for Day 4?
RL Five hours in the office. An hour meeting with Martha and greeting the others: Michael, Dolores and Harley. An hour lunch meeting with Kirsten, including an International Cleaning of the diner window. An hour with still camera aiming at minimal details in the bland archive space. Three hours with three video-recorded actions: bookshelf, white wastepaper and the 300 packages (for this year’s artist commissions), obsessive, repetitive. Tania’s View, category two?
TK Reminds me of your early work. Performance for video. Why you there? Some networking element I guess. Association with a confined space, boundaries, security. This is closer to tense present and collaborative, obsessive. No smiling. Names of the artists who don’t get picked. White on white. The book shuffler. On a shelf with Karen Finley. The archive and the present. Encapsulated. Are you? Are we in the archive? Intuitions and Insights?
RL Going minimal, thanks to you. The sense of inconsequence was consequential: the folly – paper falling down, books as gesture, names into the ether, abstract still images. All paring away. Honoring the artists and the institution/collective/archive. As with video from Day 2, this could be edited into one movie. The lost venue, reactivating it – that’s what it was about. Freeflow?
TK Bring it back. Stay thin. My absence is central and intense. My void is not a black hole. Mindsets about the first dialogue setting a pattern. Rubbish that. Text is still where it’s at. I can feel some titles coming on. It’s all down to the car you sex drive, the sushi you savour, what you didn’t say in your application, left out of your jiffy bag. And where you post it. Which fingers touched it last? Keep you nose out of it.
RL What? The book on the subway?
TK You tell me.
RL I got stuck on a Q train at the end of the day, had to abandon a trip to MOMA. The woman next to me was reading a novel. She sighed a lot in the long delay. I glanced at it every so often, copied down a phrase per page: