Clementine Deliss: On Metronome and Conceptual Intimacy

prednáška & diskusia

Clémentine Deliss is a curator, researcher and publisher who lives in Paris. She was born in 1960 in London of French-Austrian parents, and holds a PhD in philosophy (on eroticism and exoticism in French anthropology of the 1920s). Early exhibitions include Lotte or the Transformation of the Object (Steirischer Herbst, Graz 1990, Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, 1991), and Exotic Europeans (National Touring Exhibitions, Hayward Gallery, London). From 1992 to 1995 she was the artistic director of africa95, an artist-led festival of new work in all media from Africa and the diaspora coordinated with the Royal Academy of Arts and over 60 UK institutions. For this she curated Seven Stories about Modern Art in Africa (Whitechapel Gallery, 1995; Konsthalle Malmo 1996). Since 1996 she has transformed her curatorial interests into print, and edited and published seven issues of the writers’ and artists’ organ Metronome moving each time to a different location including Dakar, Berlin, Basel, Frankfurt, Vienna, Oslo, Copenhagen, London, and Paris. Editions of Metronome have been supported by and presented at the Kunsthalle Basel, the DAAD, Berlin, the 100 Days of Documenta X, and the whole series was shown in 2002 at Galerie Chantal Crousel in Paris. A new production is currently being researched and produced in Paris based on “The Stripteaser” of Maurice Girodias and The Olympia Press of 1953. She has acted as a consultant for the European Union and various cultural organisations, has held guest professorships at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, at the Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo, and conducted specific research projects through the support of art academies in Vienna, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bordeaux, Bergen, Copenhagen, Malmö, Stockholm, and London. Since 2002 she has directed the international research lab Future Academy which investigates the global future of independent art production within the art academy. Future Academy is currently based at Edinburgh College of Art, but has also been supported by Chelsea College of Art & Design, Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology, Bangalore, KRVIA Institute of Archtecture in Mumbai, and associated post-institutional organisations in Senegal. Her theoretical interests include research into bridging mechanisms between artists working in different parts of the world, the status of the verbal in today’s art practice, and curatorial modalities that go beyond the exhibition.

Metronome No. 9 by Clémentine Deliss
Clementine Deliss conducts research, curates new work with artists and writers and then publishes the results in the independent organ Metronome. Established in 1996, researched and produced in different cities around the world, Metronome presents a series of individual analyses that, beyond their specific content, highlight the circulation and black market of information between artists and writers today. The aim of each edition of Metronome is to provoke professional curiosity amongst a cast of practitioners and through this procedure to activate a non-formalised transfer of neighbouring models and concepts of practice. This system of reconnaissance between players works because Metronome suspends the results of different investigations and activates a level of vulnerability and intimacy within a protective framework. Metronome is not circulated commercially and is published as and when. METRONOME No. 9 « Le Teaser » is currently being produced it Paris. It questions the relationships between new forms of writing, fiction, the format of the extract (or concentrate), and how we recognise and make sense of desire and human bodies within a revolutionary imagination. Metronome No.9 turns the body and its representation into the witness of different types of delirium and transgression that can emerge as a result of personal battles or public conflicts. The model for this edition of Metronome is the Teaser (and Stripteaser) of The Olympia Press published between 1953-54 by Maurice Girodias to herald his series The Traveller’s Companion. In parallel with the authors of this ‘para-touristic’ series who included Burroughs, Nabokov, Miller, Donleavy, and Bataille, there was a special relationship to the « DB » (Dirty Book) and a subtle game play between erotic imagery and experimental texts that produced something of a filmic tension between the two. In addition to these Teaser booklets, Metronome will publish the first in its series of Metronome Press, fiction paperbacks produced by Clementine Deliss and Thomas Boutoux.
Contributors of Metronome No. 9: John Akomfrah (UK), Anonymous, Michael Archer (GB), Ina Blom (N), Ken Bugul (Sénégal), Yann Chateigné (F), Karel Cisar (TCH), Stéphanie Cohen (F), Céline Duval (F), Ewa Einhorn (S), Tom Gidley (GB), Didier Faustino (P/F), Hubert Fichte (G), Boris Gobille (F), Claire Guezengar (F), Dean Inkster (USA), Phyllis Kiehl (G), Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin (NL), Lefčvre Jean-Claude (F), Pierre Leguillon (F), Antonin Marteau (F), Tom McCarthy, Bjarne Melgaard (N), Marylčne Negro (F), Douglas Park (UK), Martin Prinzhorn (A), Nancy Strasbourg (UK/USA), Samon Takahashi (J/F), Cerith Wyn Evans (GB), Aminata Zaaria (Sen).

On Conceptual Intimacy by Clémentine Deliss

If I offered you the intimacy of my thoughts, of my current perceptions of research, acute, disjointed, conjectural, a-conclusive and product-less, would you regard this offer as empty of concrete material? Would you rather wait for another proposition without risk and laden with clarity, just another demand for what you do anyway, a recognition of what you already know you can do and can execute without fail? Self- reproducing and chronic, does the state of your production rely on this assurance? How often are you offered the close intimacy of potential failure? Not failure as some built-in conceit, but the possibility that what I suggest as a point of departure will lead you nowhere that you can recognise in the first instance. Conceptual intimacy. Sometimes announced, sometimes sensed, sometimes vehicled through vectors of art, rare in any case. Sometimes confused with relationships that override the intentions of reaching the intimacy of concepts. Sometimes too latent to be drawn upon and recognised. Sometimes built into fearfulness, the fear of ridicule in the act of withdrawal, and that clumsiness of disengagement. Sometimes not even requested or highlighted as that specific contact that punctuates apparently aimless communication. So do we need a crisis to bring conceptual intimacy into play? They say that today everything must be visible to be apprehended as art. There is neither underground nor cell of resistance because when lights are on permanently even the nocturnal mythic falls prey to the potency of illumination. This art that is visible and informative in its desire to communicate social conditions, advancing without respite, search-engine-like, this art is never intimate. To be intimate it would have to accept not just the darkness of unknown and disparate propositions, but clothe this readiness in forms that cannot be seen, accentuated, and made into the art we know today, that of heightened communication but little contact. Idealism? Obscurantism? A return to the cryptological requirements of intimate contact? Do you read in these words an anachronistic flashback to the early avant-garde of our mutual modernities? Is this some craving for a lost challenge, the clandestine and encoded art production that confronts rather than consoles society, that addresses the role of the artist as aesthetic disrupter, closet revolutionary, sentient and subversive at once? Conceptual intimacy could be a counter-pole to communicational abstinence, the increasingly a-democratic resistance to global exchange. It would make strategies of conscious withdrawal emerge within a new context, not so much opened out and disclosed, but sensed as increasing depth, that depth of unforeseeable yet humble concerns to generate meanings through shared experiences. Are you experienced? Are experiences the stasis of repetition, the resort of the formulaic? Or are we talking about the experienced, of elements that together as fluid sediment, constitute and identify an on-going willingness to experience? I am experienced = I am ready to exchange that question, to begin entering the accumulation of incommensurable experiences, where knowledge is a resource and reservoir to be pooled with you. Does conviviality lead to intimacy? The formalisms of conviviality are not just choreographies of eating and drinking together, but the continuity that is structured as a modular component within the event, before it begins and once it has taken place. Why make a fuss about hospitality as if it were the centre of the focus? Maybe it’s the invitation, how it is conceived, produced, disseminated, and apprehended, that counts. Do you travel far to invite someone to participate in an act of conviviality? Is that act contained in the process of inviting that person? Or is the continuity that makes of conviviality an act of engagement beyond the moment of sheer presence, is it to be found in the notion of the aftermath? And that aftermath, does it not play precisely on the presentiment of potential intimacy? If we believe gatherings are in themselves sufficient to act out aesthetic propositions, then we are clearly fooling ourselves. Today the punctuation that makes sense of social syntax, that like an x-ray accentuates the silences, gestures, and intimate transfers of new meanings, is located in the latency of impending solutions either side of that which we can see.