An exercise completed while at the “Actions+Materials” residency at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, August 14-26, 2011. The residency, organized by artist Summer Zickefoose, brought together a group of ceramists, artists, and theorists around the theme of ceramics and performance.
I have been thinking a lot about the relationship between craft, performance art, and documentation (an extension of my thesis research into craft and performance art). A number of questions about these relationships have emerged: How might a ceramic object function as documentation of an event, an action, a gesture? Would it be possible to have an object-less ceramics practice and what would that look like?
Borrowing from Richard Serra’s "Verb List Compilation: Actions to Relate to Oneself," 1967-68, I copied out Serra’s list and have been working through each verb. Each time, I began with a handful of clay and attempted to enact or perform a verb with that clay. From there, I have also been altering, arranging, or positioning the resulting clay objects in situations that would represent each verb or action. The process was recorded through photographs.
Here, the clay objects function as records of the actions being performed on/with them. In turn, these documentary traces are re-recorded through photography, while the clay objects are destroyed or left behind.
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