LOST DOG 15'30"

Originally the work was meant to be a documentary about people who have lost their loved ones. I wanted to meet the people involved, perhaps have a coffee with them and maybe even gain access to their homes simply to interview them about their experiences.

Soon it became clear that most of these people were either reluctant to speak or too busy to take part--most of the who were interested in participating seemed to have odd, disconnected motives of their own: one wanted to be paid; another was a self-described "manic depressive" in the manic phase of her cycle; one thought that I was among his dog's kidnappers, and was attempting to negotiate a ransom.  It is true that I did not have any presumptions how the project would turn out, but at least I did not expect the hostility and hysteria of a death threat--nor the other offbeat responses I got. And I was also a bit surprised by that so few people could be bothered to respond at all.

In recent years it seems there are more and more demands on artists to engage to social-artwork projects. It is increasingly popular to engage in works that involve or activate the community and the artist in a shared effort to bring people together --with artists placed in the role of helping us all by somehow (supposedly) fostering an understanding of one another. It is now considered a given that artists have to work in the field – be among the people at large, creating works that speak to, for or with them. The days of a solitary genius working in his or her studio are over it seems.

This Lost Dog video came out of a social art project of my own--and I genuinely did want to reach the people behind those telephone numbers on the posters.  So how does a social art project turn into a series harassment phone calls? Was this just one of many social projects gone wrong?

Lately I have found myself forced to wonder about the validity, even the viability of social-art projects; found myself forced to wonder about the attitudes and ideologies underlying the demand on artists to interact directly with a public that is assumed to be somehow unenlightened and that is presumed to need something 'useful' from the artist; and I find myself questioning the idea of artists being cast in the role of social workers, educators and facilitators of culture.  Perhaps the broader public is better left alone to choose what--if anything--they do or do not want from art; and, when there is something they do want, perhaps we can simply let them ask for it rather than trying to tell them what it is. If there is such a thing and the voice of the public-- and if artists wish to hear it--perhaps it is better just to listen.




UNTITLED / EXCERPT, 2012


When we were very young, were very young
What lots of time we had
We Knew exactly how to cut the worm
Used scissors for the butterfly;
Wasn't  the grasshopper buried alive

And likewise the spider burned?
How gay and luck we were!
But now we've come to manhood,
To the serious course of Life
We must find other ways and means
For our depraved minds.
By then the first thing is to come to power
And carry on the old time play
Then everything will be so funny
With torture, squeezing, scorching tongs
And murder in the end.

Gerard Reve

 


JOURNEY BACK IN TIME / EXCERPT


Using the therapist to become a past-person through hypno-suggestion frees the ego from the burden of confronting real (or mundane) challenges and deficits in everyday life. The psyche is liberated by a 'magical' journey into a past 'self' where it can produce stories that do not threaten it; thus the everyday-ego becomes both author and audience to a drama, instead of suffering through it in the first-person. Deeply repressed sadomasochistic fantasies also gain greater freedom of expression and opportunity for resolution when they take the form of past-life violence and trauma. Part of the psyche somehow understands and takes comfort from realizing that these awful feelings, fantasies and conflicts are the products of both 'self' and 'not-self;' that they are simultaneously 'real' and 'unreal' horrors that transcend here and now. The mind may more easily accept its own contradictions and multiplicity by becoming another person in another time. This indirect way of coming to accept the most difficult parts of the 'self' can be far less threatening than confronting one's own demons head-on.


STORY OF NED / EXCERPT

This is the story of Ned, an unusual cat in many ways.  First encountered as a kitten, sold out of a cardboard box in a Tokyo department store, Ned traveled back and forth between the U.S. and Japan. The man who ended up with Ned never wanted him, and made several efforts to pass him on to others. But somehow, Ned's time with those other people was always short-lived and came to a tragic end, and Ned always stubbornly came back.

Complete video 24'57"

Suomeksi


SPRING JOURNEY
3'50"

 


HEAVY MAN, 2014
28'15"


CONFESSION OF A HEAVY MAN

You spoke to me of a Heavy Man, so I will Confess; my Father always put it this way: "Too Light for Heavy Work, too Heavy for Light Work."  We, the Heavy Men, recognize one another without a word; and then, with the tiniest movement or gesture, we Check anyway--and are Sure. We do not speak, among ourselves, of the Past: we Know. We come in all shapes and sizes; sometimes we like one another, sometimes we don't...But each knows--in a very important way--who the other is; and we are content in that, and trusting.  We know that it is the Heavy Man who Stands and Fights--or runs...only at the right moment.

It is the Heavy Man who Protects and Survives--until he doesn't; who casts a watchful eye on stray infants and lost old ladies--but likes neither. The Heavy Man doesn't much like alcohol, but can drink all night--into tomorrow--and hold a Conversation; he is the one keeping his eyes open at the Orgy.

The Heavy Man is the one who Thinks--almost always--except in oblivion; he is the one who Feels--until he turns to ice. We, the Heavy Men, make Judgments--and try to be Right, but know we often Fail. The Heavy Man has Principles--when they are convenient--he tries not to kill in anger, or by mistake; he tries not to let his Principles get in the way. The Heavy Man hates Heroes--but seldom harms them--instead, he Endures; goes without food, sleep, shelter or medical care for a Reason: everything is done for a Reason--even Love.

He is the one who Listens, and remembers what you said; the one who speaks in Transcripts: the Word made Flesh. The Heavy Man is a bastard--but he means well, whatever 'well' is...He is a Fun Guy: everything is Real--even the Lies--and all of it is a form of Joy, even the Pain.

A Heavy Man Loves a Heavy Woman of whatever shape--or perhaps another Heavy Man, usually much like himself; when he Loves an animal, it too becomes Heavy in its way. There are no Heavy Children: Heavy Begins where Childhood Ends--and thereby hangs a tale...

ALEX FLEISCHER




MONOLOGI / MONOLOGUE
6'13"

A self-absorbed man is having a verbal diarrhea. He expounds upon his narcissistic observations during a meal to his unseen and silent dinner companion.