ROOM - The Berlin Test
Emergency Room format : Thierry Geoffroy/ Colonel
Emergency Room was created with the fundamental desire to know artists’ opinions about the world today. Through art processes, these opinions may be brought to the fore, put into form and therefore distributed to the public. Such thoughts are of great interest not only to the ER and to the public, but to other artists in the project as well. By sharing interpretations of the world today, artists are enabled to bond through their exchanges and create a community. Moreover, the list of artists in the ER evolves continuously, and artists are added and removed on a regular basis. Passive artists are encouraged to remove themselves from the list, while new artists burning to express themselves may contact the ER and have a chance to join. Artists who have previously participated in the ER are also invited, allowing all involved to become part of a movement or community, which is one of the main goals of the project.
There is a conscious choice to mix evidently politically involved artists with artists who approach art in a completely different way. An example of this could be the choice of an abstract painter. Artists with this kind of approach and slow-process production are enabled to evolve in the ER and perhaps develop new unexpected methods and art forms. Artists are given the chance to transform within the project, and the ER is kept under observation for this reason specifically: to observe and record changes in artistic practice. The ER encourages experimentation, and fosters it with the conditions of production it entails. The ER environment is fast-paced and leaves very little time for artistic production. This exposes artists to mistakes or changes they would not ordinarily encounter, which might be difficult to accept. The Passage, or transfer between old and new artworks, can be a moment of extreme pressure, and this rush can lead to an unfriendly environment within the ER.
The concept of Passage is central to the ER project. The Passage is a process of removal of past artistic comments and of creation of new opinions, which occurs punctually at 12:10pm. It is a time of change and transition, allowing new perspectives on current situations and events to arise. The ER is a place of renewal which nourishes innovative meanings and strives for cultural change. Though the process of Passage is ephemeral, the ER also allows for statements to be recorded through an archive entitled “Retard”. This “delay” of opinions, where past reactive interpretations are preserved, is a critical way of thinking about contemporary art.
The ER is centered on current omnipresent themes and debates. One of the important aspects in the process is the artists’ interpretation of the media’s dissemination of information. An ideal response to information is instantaneous. Though this method can lead to certain imperfections or errors, it also generates unique artistic expressions. An example of this is Jean Baudrillard’s comment of recent events in the newspaper Libération. He is a great thinker, but because he expresses himself on the spot, he makes what his philosopher colleagues may call “mistakes”. Many readers are thankful for these opinions which differ from what journalists provide. These initial thoughts about recent events are like diamonds, and likewise visual artists can direct thoughts in new and different ways, touching a public normally left with just media hype.
The ER is not defined as a group show, but it involves the creation of a movement in which artists are strongly encouraged to communicate, particularly during the Passage. Through this process, artists are enabled to exchange ideas and may even find the chance to create collective art pieces, thus fulfilling one of the ER’s great ideas: an “opinion community” (communauté d'opinion). Ideal artists for this project are people with true, authentic, and precise critiques of the world today, who are able to convey this opinion through their artistic practice. For example, a goal of the ER could be to collect the energy of an outraged artist watching the news and enable him to transfer it to an artwork. The use of irony in artworks is accepted though not encouraged, as it has the potential to confuse the public, the goal being to find a new and different angle within a contemporary debate.
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