Gabriel Orozco, Urban Memory and the Accident

http://www.moma.org/audio_file/audio_file/1948/683.mp3 I appreciate Orozco’s gentle project Until You Find Another Yellow Schwalbe because the piece trusts the connection of coincidence in a similar way that the activity of my figures in the street are contingent upon chance encounter. The random pedestrian builds a wider context of the street pieces in their urban memory, as they encounter more spots around the city. The pieces correlate to one another according to their location and application. By using the portraits of my full body images to also hit electric boxes, the different elements begin to trigger one another. Orozco’s final conclusion in the explanation of the piece is particularly pertinent to this endeavor “… we can think of the city as a grid and my actions in that city are a way of indenting into the city or generating accidents”

The intention is to take this notion of accident, coincidence and connection further into the realm of art history. The power of the reference to recontextualize the employed towards a more dense narrative and correspondence. (Note the head of Holofernes in the arms of the Rooster from Caravaggio’s painting of Judith Beheading Holofernes, 1598) Yet beyond the physical fortuity and historical citation, the piece is broadcast throughout the world virtually throughout the firmament of blogs and sites. The most interesting collapse of all of these spaces is when an individual from another country finally chances upon the physical manifestation on the street. The piece is finally fully realized.
This confluence of different encounters with a single image is elucidated within the first essay in Ways of Seeing by John Berger. “When the camera reproduces an image, it destroys the uniqueness of the image.” The image travels to a million different households, becomes a moment in peoples life on the Internet. Becomes an object of their own published interests. The recipient does not venture into the world to find the piece, but instead perceives the documentation and is reassured of its authenticity. “It is authentic and therefore it is beautiful” I am in front of the real thing.
Seeing the images on google and on flickr and then encountering the mystified real. The urgency of its rarity is heightened by its delicate position in the streets. This is one element of the intimate encounter. It is precisely striking because it is not conserved or guarded behind a bullet proof Perspex.
The social hierarchy of graffiti serves as the bulletproof Perspex. The question is what occurs when the street piece is encountered without an awareness of its background; where its only context is its location. There will be no awareness of its market value or no sensation of experiencing the real thing in light of its reproductions. When the piece is encountered without the support of the street art realm, without any prior knowledge or membership within the street art community, it must inevitably be a less impressive piece. Thus each piece, while it lives continually through its dissemination on the internet, must ultimately strive to be arresting, accessible, and autonomous if the intention is to be a striking street piece and not just a striking digital piece.

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