Last month I was contacted by Michael Lee who is a curator from Singapore, with an invitation to be part of his submission to an exhibition in The 2nd Asian Triennial which is taking place in Manchester, UK this October.
I would like to invite you to contribute to my new artwork, entitled Ex-Files*. It premieres in Institutions of the Future, an exhibition curated by Biljana Ciric under the auspice of The 2nd Asian Triennial Manchester 2011, opening on 1 Oct 2011 until 31 Dec 2011 at the Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, United Kingdom.
Ex-Files is a curated website that compiles reflections by former artistic-collaborators on their ‘failed’ working relationship. It allows previous creative partners to reflect on the past to achieve an informed understanding of the present as a basis to conceive a better or different future. Each case study will be a valuable contribution to existing debates on failure, collaboration, biography/autobiography and memory/imagination.
He asked for an image and a 500-word statement from each of us about how we came to stop our collaboration, which had been called It Can Change.
Along with his statement, Anthony sent an image of something we made for an exhibition organized by Jarrett Mitchell called LETS BE ACTIVE: What Is It? I Don’t Know that was at Southern Exposure in San Francisco, 2003.
Here is the email that I sent:
Anthony and I went to art school together where we were first kindred spirits and then best friends. We wanted to destabilize everything so we collaborated and used It Can Change instead of our names. What we were doing was not a specific activity, instead it was a method for action. We searched for freedom.
I excused myself early from the dinner after our opening at the Kunsthalle. We had made it, I thought. The food was greasy. I lived in a garage in Oakland California at the time. I got up and went back to the hotel. The museum director had been eating with some people in suits with tails and sable coats. I felt that we had sold out and that It Can Change had changed and that I could no longer recognize it. We finished out our obligations and tied up final projects. We stopped calling ourselves It Can Change, which continued to exist regardless of our disposition.
It Can Change is an ethos, it means Positivity, Contingency, and Freedom, and also whatever else anyone thinks it means. It Can Change!
The artwork is a broken piece of plastic bucket that we found in the trash. I wrote “SOMETHING MUST BE DONE” and “IT CAN CHANGE” on it. It is hanging from the platform and stairs that are the entrance to Southern Exposure.