The world, the real is not an object. It is a process. – John Cage, For the Birds
When a series of similar forms accumulate or accrete they construct more complex patterns. This accumulation, a significant
displacement of space is a process equating and most often exceeding the sum total of the individual parts.
The process of accretion is located in simple day to day activities that require a series of repeatable tasks in order to form tangible
and functional products or services. Tasks are repeated but never executed the same way twice, a signature of our unique and
individual identities. The results are documents (the evidence) of conjoining and accumulating processes that accentuate the
significance of interconnection.
A process or act of making can attain ritual and spiritual status. Concentrated on a singular activity over an extended period of time
processes can trigger meditative experiences. An alternative or heightened sense of awareness ascertains the significance of forms
on levels outside conditioned perceptions. Attention shifts from the action and physical attributes of the material to the unoccupied
physical and temporal spaces that appear between forms or sounds or other sensory data. Becoming aware of and locating my self
in what is not present or the spaces between causes a perceptual shift in how I view the world. Once a project reaches its
predetermined end presentation becomes a viable concern as it is an extension of the process, an opportunity to share and possibly
stimulate a similar awareness within not only the viewer but experiencer.
An engagement with any repeated action for any duration is an opportunity to comprehend and reconsider the ideas and activities that
underlie and construct our realities.
The Artist's Interview; I Believe, I Think, I Make
I Believe, I Think, I Make is an isomorphic type of sampling taken from transcribed artist interviews. In this condensed format any
sentence that contains the word ‘I’ is isolated and reduced to a few words that follow ‘I’ in order to put the proclamation into a context
that is most often unfinished, misconstrued ,and not the intended meaning by the artist or the interviewer.
‘I’ is an interesting word that connotes the individual in reference to themselves. It is an introspective type of word that signifies a
subjective claim to the self that they believe and view to be accurate and true, unless specifically lying or misleading in order to mask
their actual intention. But the view or claim is never accurate because it is a subjective interpretation.
‘I’ is most often used in interviews and unavoidable when being asked to talk about ones self. Are these interviews moments of clarity
and sincerity? Possibly. Or are they moments many times removed from the actual experience and recapitulated with what people
believe to be true and at any rate just as out of context as they are presented here?
Overall, it appears that everyone is saying the same thing, just with different words arranged in a different order, reduced to a poetic
What defines an object, what differentiates one object from another are the ‘spaces between’. Those spaces infinitely exist internal
and external to an object. Nothing is impenetrable, everything has a level of ‘porosity’. Making marks with a pencil and trying to cover
the surface through a repeated motion not only captures the language of my body, it captures the penetrability and imperfection of
being human. Everything is interconnected and interdependent, linked and woven into existence in order to sustain something else.
Are we not at the service of someone or something else in our daily lives? Everything has a point of weakness. To expose the gaps or
spaces between exposes an object’s vulnerability. The place where it can be separated, pulled apart, disconnected, the palace
where it can be ‘passed through’, entered and existed. These spaces are not always visible but molecular, between the weave of
atoms. Everything exists as a metaphor for something else. The structure and comprehensibility of reality is dependent on repeated
Recorded sound is different because it captures the spaces or gaps in real time and allows us to revisit a specific moment as it
originally transpired in time. The recorded sound is like a time machine. This passage of time exposes the vulnerability of an objects
existence. Everything goes through cycles of birth, growth, and decay. No matter where something is in the cycle it can not go back, it
is losing time in the life cycle. It may transform into something else but it will never be that thing again. The gaps and pauses between
sound, the silence and the duration of that silence reminds us that things are changing, transforming, evolving, in a state of process.
The Observer Becomes the Subject
Reorientation of the perceptual experience of art made the viewer, in effect, the subject of the work.
- Douglas Crimp, On The Museum’s Ruins
Art in a museum is not site specific. Objects are consciously collected and categorized, grouped and logically oriented for display in
order to communicate a logical progression of history. The objects re appropriated as to build an historical account for what
constitutes the art of civilization. The objects become site specific appropriations in the context of being art and fulfilling the
completion of a collected history. Our acceptance through presence and observation confirms this site specific appropriation. Our
proximity to the work of art and our active participation in viewing in essence lends authority to the object as being art, thus completing
the idea and existence of art.
Beyond the Everyday
Art has the ability to go beyond everyday experiences, beyond a critique or re-presentation of the issues and problems of society. Art
has the ability to bring an unfamiliar, ephemeral, and abstract experience to the table that allows the suspension of rational thought.
Art’s obvious strength is to alter perception, an internal manifestation subjective to each person. Art can alter the filters that people
impose or put up based on previous experiences or ignorance. Perception may change someone’s way of viewing the world but most
often it continues to be communicated as a form of judgment. Art and its ability to sway perception should be able to eradicate
moments of judgment. It should propel us into an abstract way of thinking, adjourning judgment and allowing us to accept a moment
or object for what it truly is. A suspension and purity of sight through perception is a huge step in altering how one copes with other
situations in throughout their life. I believe the ability to affect external change begins internally and comes from within. Art, if practiced
in a manner that focuses on how a person is wired internally, can have a tremendous affect on how they deal with events and
Internal and External Parameters
The body is a physically accountable structure, an interactive organism with its environment that is in
unison with sustainable properties of nature. Living things posses an internally generated, rhythmic
and pulsating organic grid, a matrix of chemically induced synaptic and spiritual energy. The ‘human condition’ is reactive dialog with
the surrounding environment, accessible when both internal and external energies coalesce. Observing this distinction the
parameters and forms in my projects are internally or externally generated. Though my projects are structured, directed, and mapped
from either internal or external sources, the process shares similar psychological and transcendental effects.
External forms are predetermined, fixed in a limited number of interpretations. Selecting and mimicking the form or feel of an object
separate from the body is a re-presentation. Decisions in setting up parameters such as how much and how long a piece will last
are directed by the subject and materials. Parameters are established at or near the beginning of the process. The establishment of
parameters is a decision making process,an expression, and signifier of a controlled environment, a metaphorical address to
understand and direct nature, even though it continually exceeds comprehension and rationalization. The idea is that the
permutations in the projects can continue infinitely.
Using the body or organism as a gage to direct parameters is a signifier of nature. This dichotomous observation of internally and
externally generated parameters heightens perceptual
awareness of interconnection and dependency to surrounding environments.
Developing an Indifferent Response
From the premise that no two things are alike, that they replicate and are infinitely interconnected and interdependent suggests that
there are no definitive stopping and starting points to anything. Recognizing that all things are in a state of motion and transformation,
at what point does art (simulation) and life (everything else) overlap? Conceptually the delineation of art and life is subjective and if all
things are interconnected the question becomes inconsequential. A simple act of recognition, that something exists or is present, is
a response spawned by the idea or object in
question, an immediate confirmation of its presence.
Indifference is without reason most often experienced as an unintentional first response, though a person can choose to suspend
judgment. What is important during an initial experience is that we recognize the fact that something has moved or instigated a
response or displacement of our
understanding. Taste, judgment, acceptance, and rejection are secondary responses rooted in evaluation and rationalization
intended to categorize and fit an object or idea into a familiar and relevant discourse. These secondary responses are culturally and
socially filtered based on previous experience. Recognizing the moment when we are engaged in an indifferent, purely experiential
observation before judgment or categorization takes place is the first step in understanding a perceptual shift. External change
becomes possible once ways of internally perceiving are reordered.
Sound and the Experiencer
The time and space properties of sound are very different from an object. The ephemeral quality of sound comes closer to conveying
the reality of a moment. For my work the recorded sound is a product of real time.
Sound is a secondary sense element that helps relay the process. While working on a project sound becomes a relevant bi-product,
an enhancement that confirms a visual experience. Each project has a unique displacement of space and time.
Sound is unavoidable, present at all times unlike sight. The recordings are always related to the projects, an accompaniment that
reinforces some of the underlying ideas. Though similar to the visual equivalent, recorded sound remains one step removed from the
actual process but it is more effective in helping viewers relate and possibly visualize the act of making. The recordings place viewers
between the physicality of the visual document and a time based simulation of the actual experience in creating the document.
Actions represented by sound must be imagined and re-constructed in the mind of the experiencer
where they register, more often, as a ‘truthful’ encounter. The passing and ephemeral encounter of a sound is less likely and more
difficult to contradict whereas a visual object such as a painting or sculpture allows a viewer the option to indefinitely look and
question what they are seeing.
Charles Livingston Studio