Perhaps Jack and Zackie could outline more of the circumstances of their tea party with Nelson this last Sunday – which sounds like it just might shake the world, or at the very least rattle the President’s china. Photos of the tea service, please! Menu tidbits: you said he drank mint tea with honey, but the biscuits?
Because Jack’s right – what could be more about right now, more about acting right now, more in the present tense, more about hope, than Zackie having tea with Nelson, while Jack shoots every sip and crumb? Now there’s some activism as performance art that would make Derek & Co. purr!
While we await details of the historic tea party…. I just had my first opportunity to see Gregg’s powerful video, Habit, which borrows footage from Jack’s work to great effect, and features Zackie, speaking on behalf of the Treatment Action Campaign in July 2000, making the point that well-meaning volunteers who might want to contribute to current efforts on the ground in South Africa “should have the humility not to arrive in the morning and try to rule the country by lunchtime.” For me, this resonates powerfully not only with the images of Gregg’s calendar pillbox, helpfully dividing the days for those who have access to the most effective therapies at this stage, but also with the red thread of our conversation to this point.
For the record, I also want to impart two further points that John raised in his response to reading the manuscript of The Brevity of Life. The first has to do with an argument made by Andrew Sullivan, writing in the New York Times Magazine to the effect that (I’m quoting John) “the AIDS cultural debate is ‘dated,’ ‘old-fashioned,’ ‘nineties’… the art world has moved on, and artists have followed suit, almost no one is making AIDS work any more – these are all oft-repeated commonplaces that seem to need some unpacking…partly because these assumptions go right to the ugly heart of who actually decrees suitable subject matter, and trends, and practices.”
John’s other observation also has to do with material practices: “I kept thinking about the time it takes to make work, when you’re running out of time. Felix chose to expedite – his pieces took almost NO time – go to the department store and buy two clocks.
With Blue, Derek had no shoot – he called the lab and said give me ninety minutes of blue. Manufactured solutions replacing the labour of the artist’s hand….
And then there’s Stephen – faced with the ticking clock, he dreams up excruciating, labour-intensive projects which replicate industrial processes which could be accomplished in minutes by a phone call: scan this, blow this up.
Faced with a deadline (what’s the origin of that word, anyway?), these five made radically different choices about how to spend their time.”
Again, my thanks,