Friday, 23 March 2007
A Society of Little Beings
The two objects in this image have a relationship through their formal qualities. For example, both have been made with everyday materials that we are familiar with but are not used to seeing in this form or context. The similar scale of the objects makes the relationship work: although they are similar in scale, one being small and one being tall creates just enough harmony and discordance within the relationship. Although there is a space between them they are still close enough together to be seen as having a relationship: the tall one is facing the small one and it looks as if it is watching over it or looking down on it. The square pieces of cardboard on the front of the small object relate to the cardboard used in the taller object and because they are square in shape they also reflect the structured form of the taller object. I also think that because they've been made by one person that a relationship can be seen through the language.
On Kawara: 'I am still alive'
The artist On Kawara sent a series of telegrams to friends saying : I am still alive. Although the telegrams were sent during the 1970s, I feel that this work is very relevant today in the current climate of contemporary art where the role of Relational Aesthetics is now prevalent. What I like about this piece of work is that it shows relational art working outside the normal art context i.e. outside the gallery space or studio space. A new space has been created whereby all forms of human relations and sociabilty, become a vehicle for creating art. It shows a different way of making art i.e. instead of making art in a private space, the art is actually made in the outside world. These simple telegrams were sent to people by the artist, which created a relational interstice between the artist and people in the outside world.
A set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independant and private space.
Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics,les presses du reel
10 July 1921: (from left to right) Freddy Bywaters, Edith and Percy Thompson (Courtessy of Associated Newspapers Press)
For a Synopsys of the story into the case of Edith Thompson and Freddy Bywaters from the book Criminal Justice : please look in 'comments'
The relationship between the people in this image is suggested strongly by the body language. A woman between two men. The men seem to be quite content in that male way i.e. reading the newspaper, but she looks as if she is in deep thought possibly troubled. She's not looking at the camera instead she's staring into space. She is sat closer to Percy, which could indicate that this is the person she is closest to; or is she sitting closer to him becaause she feels she must. Edith and Freddy look closer in age and both are very handsome. Percy almost looks like the father (figure) of Edith and Freddy. Percy looks more mature, and Freddy and Edith look very youthful.
I also think the relationship between them and the photographer is interesting. It's almost as if they don't realise the photo is being taken, because none of them are paying attention i.e. they're not looking at the camera or smiling etc. but maybe that was the fashion in the 20s i.e. to have pictures taken but not pose for them - or maybe this was the pose?? (i.e. to look natural and unposed). On the other hand, I don't think it would be very easy to contrive that forlorn look on Edith's face, so maybe they were caught off their guard.
What I find most disturbing about the Thompson and Bywater's story, is the relationship of society towards Edith Thompson. She did not committ murder, yet still they hung her; she had sex outside marriage and they were not going to let her get away with it. It seems that she was condemned by the so called 'rightious'.