Monday, October 17, 2011

Porch Projects Interview: Patrick McDonough Talks About [ ]

Q: Can you say more about how this work reflects upon the collaborative process?
PM: I think that it lays bare a number of key issues in artistic production, including those about collaboration. Namely, what do you do when offered an opportunity as an artist? How does that navigation play out? Is there an appropriate level of deference towards alternative spaces that we are somehow violating? Is the artist as trickster/jester a pretty viable model within wider cultural production?
As for concepts of collaboration, I believe that we unpacked concepts of the individual within the collective, how that does and does not get made legible to outside parties, and how collaborative efforts relate to individual artist practices.

Q: Which of you wrote on which wall?
PM: We’d rather not say. But I do think that this points to questions of collaboration posed above. Is there a need on the part of the viewer to try and unpack the roles/personalities within the collaboration? If so, why?

Q: Do you prefer the light to be on, or off?
PM: I like it best with the sunlight coming in through the windows.

Q: “Me Too,” as in, “I second that”?
PM: If you say so.

Q: The language in the two statements doesn’t make sense grammatically. How long did it take you to come up with these statements, and why the disconnect?
PM: We chewed on the ideas for the collaboration for sometime: conceptualizing, negotiating, editing. As for the disconnect, I think that it mediates the combination phrases in some way—individualizes them, makes the relationship less seamless.  Plus, I personally really like ideas of mistakenness in my work, not failure, but just doing things a little wrong.

Q: Did you consider doing something off-site? Is that what you’re doing now?
PM: We thought about lots of potential projects for the space, including outside the gallery space proper. Right now we are in the conceptualization phase for future projects.

Q: Explain in more detail how your work here relates to the space.
PM: I think it, if nothing else, calls attention to the space itself.  From the physical dimensions, to Mariah’s generosity on embarking on the exhibition project, the fact that it is in her home, and even your own body in the gallery. I think that such concepts are usually saved for more institutionalized environments, but we found it more interesting and productive to employ them here.

Q: So, what would you have done with a bigger space? And given that space could be conceived of as a mental and verbal constraint, what does that say about the way you perceive your own work?
PM: I’m not sure what we would have done with a bigger space, we did this project with this space. I am not trying to be dismissive, I just think that it is important to really emphasize that this is what we did. We could have filled the room with jello, installed a home office, hung some paintings, arranged some sculptures, or glued the door shut, but we didn’t do any of those things, we did this piece. Clearly the “If you wanted us to do something….” text suggests this question, but I think that burden of its answering should stay with the viewer.

Q: Lemon = Lemonade. Space = ?
PM: [ ]

Q: What would Malcolm McLaren say?
PM: I think he would tell us to come make a record with him. 

Q: Is it about the question? What is the question?
PM: What will we do next? 

Q: But ultimately, didn’t you do something?
PM: Of course! That is part of the nuance I think. It’s like when Barltelby says he ‘would prefer not to’, he is of course doing something. But I think that that turn of phrase brings up ideas of how much do you need to do, what do you do when someone asks you to do something, if you can do anything which something do you do? 

Q: How do you think this project will influence your individual practices going forward? 
PM: It has already made me think a lot about ideas of brashness, context specificity, and escapism through persona adopting. I also learned a lot through collaborating with Matias and look forward to more such adventures. I’d also like to very much thank Mariah for letting us explore our ideas and being supportive of our experimental attitude towards [ ], which has definitely led to growth for me.

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