Claire Fontaine, WARM WAR, 2009
neon: 8 high x 34 wide x 4 deep inches 
solar panel: 39 high x 193 wide x 20 deep inches
courtesy of the artists

Claire Fontaine is a collective based in Paris. Its readymade name is lifted from the popular French brand of notebooks and school supplies. Her “assistants” are Fulvia Carnevale and James Thornhill who labor to produce her videos, sculptures, neons, and texts. Although the collective uses the third-person singular feminine to describe itself, it does not operate strictly under the guise of a single identity. In fact, Claire Fontaine believes contemporary art is bankrupt of originality and authenticity. Therefore she makes art that seeks to remove the spell of fixed subjectivity of late capitalism, using her readymade status as a means to usurp the tactics and materials of artists legitimized by the market. Acquiescing to the failure of contemporary culture to work against the political machine she makes her readymade condition an always responsive, ever-evolving identity that opens up potential for change, reconstituting what is revolution.

From October 26 to 31, Claire Fontaine is in Columbus. A new neon work entitled WARM WAR is installed outside, situated in the space of the city. On October 28 at the Office of Collective Play Claire Fontaine gives a public talk on subjects related to the Women's Movement of 1977 in Italy, Autonomia, the war economy, and libidinal economy.

Details available at descenttorevolution.net.
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Learning Site,Audible Dwelling, 2009


Learning Site, Is this Columbus, Ohio?, 2009
digital audio file, 16:32 minutes

Audible Dwelling is a combination loudspeaker and dwelling. It is composed of two identical units that make it into a composite stereo house. Each unit has two compartments; one compartment is for recording sound and considering what we hear, what we say in relation to the sound of public space. The other compartment contains speakers and the transmission line, a space especially designed with inspiration from Eileen Gray’s De Stijl table. In Audible Dwelling, the furniture and interior design optimize how recorded sound is inserted, projected into public space. Audible Dwelling is currently situated in one of the many parking lots in downtown Columbus, Ohio. It is in a parking lot at the corner of Washington and Long Streets on the campus of Columbus College of Art & Design. Map

Is this Columbus, Ohio? is a speech by Learning Site. It is written by Jaime Stapleton, produced in collaboration with sound specialists Tony Peluso and Joshua Penrose and performed by artist Cassandra Troyan. Is this Columbus, Ohio? is about the economies of urban landscape–-cars, asphalt, parking lots, malls, museums. Until May 15, 2010 the speech can be heard at irregular intervals on inconsistent days of the week. Click here to read.




Over the course of the next few months Learning Site and the Bureau for Open Culture collaborate with educators, artists and researchers in Columbus to produce projects that draw on the aural and spatial qualities of Audible Dwelling. These projects connect Audible Dwelling with the local urban framework. Contact James Voorhies at Bureau for Open Culture to discuss the possibilities. 

Audible Dwelling draws on a range of histories of sound and public speech that includes 17th-century sound systems of the King of Denmark, 19th-century Scandinavian democratic movements of public speech, and early 20th-century concepts of the “People’s House” in Denmark. The People’s House was a house of speech from which the socialist Clara Zetkin spoke in favor of the establishment of an International Women’s Day.

Learning Site is a collective comprised of Rikke Luther from Denmark and Cecilia Wendt from Sweden. They realize projects specific to the sites in which they decide to work, drawing on local skills, resources and knowledge. Their collaborations examine intersections of natural resources, the environment, economic markets, forms of habitation, land rights, labor, and sustainability to reveal insight about conditions specific to a location. Embracing the unfamiliar and always open to experimentation, Learning Site works comfortably with unpredictable processes. They allow the making-of to be as equally integral as the completed work. The situations and works they produce hover among the abstract, fantastic, the playful and the practical, pushing concepts into new, invigorating realms of speculation that challenge conventional belief of what can be done.

descenttorevolution.net documents the making of Audible Dwelling.





The Chord of Columbus, a collaboration of John Also Bennett and Sarah Cowles with the Learning Site Audible Dwelling.

The Chord of Columbus investigates the ambient tones that emanate from urban infrastructure. Sounds and vibrations of power transformers, parking garages, air conditioners, bridges, traffic signals, street lights are mined from various sites in downtown Columbus. Each day we hear the drones and buzzes of commerce, transportation, energy and information coursing through the city space.
 
The Chord of Columbus gathers together, condenses, maps and amplifies these sounds into a visual and aural portrait. The tones are analyzed electronically to determine frequency and intensity. The corresponding color of that data is projected onto the exteriors and interiors of Audible Dwelling. The colors unite with the sounds to create a visual and aural cross section of the urban experience, drawing to the surface the subtle soundscapes that continually and often unknowingly affect our everyday life.

The Chord of Columbus includes opening and closing performances and a bicycle tour around downtown Columbus to learn about the sites where the sounds were recorded. 

Read Infrastructure Drone Music and The Chord of Columbus by John Also Bennett and view more photos of The Chord of Columbus




John Also Bennett, The Chord of Columbus, 2010
digital audio file, 15:03 of 40:00 minute work
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Red76, Surplus Seminar, Columbus, Ohio, 2009
Red76 is a Portland, Oregon-based collaborative that facilitates discussions, texts and actions that draw on radical social and political histories, questioning their relevance to present-day life. They use fliers, posters, newsprints, YouTube, e-mail, blogs and more to communicate with and to rally participants into situations that generate insight about how knowledge is produced and in what form it exists.

From September 10 to October 5, in a parking lot at CCAD, just across the street from the Canzani Center Gallery, Red76 members including Sam Gould, Zefrey Throwell and Gabriel Mindel Saloman along with Mike Wolf, Ola Stahl, Dylan Gauthier and others investigate physical and conceptual forms of learning. The project is called Surplus Seminar. At its core are experiments with alternative pedagogies. It unites a series of topics related to how we learn and how we teach one another. A significant component of Surplus Seminar is the making of Anywhere/Anyplace Academy, a schoolhouse built of repurposed, excess materials and skills. Everyone is invited to contribute to its construction by sharing what they know, the surplus knowledge they have, during the month-long collaborative raising. Visitors to the gallery follow the arrows on the floor out the door to participate. Other components of the series include YouTube School for Social Politics, Teach-a-Man-to-Fish Company Skill Share, Pop-Up Book Academy, and much more.

Visit descenttorevolution.net for documentation of actions during Red76's residency in Columbus.
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REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT, The Readymade Demonstration. re-staging the East German peaceful revolution, October 17, 2009. View more photos here.

REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT (“Cleaning Service” or “Purification Society”) is Martin Keil and Henrik Mayer. It is a collective based in Dresden that utilizes the creative potentials of uniting art and social reality to stimulate discourse about topics within specific contexts. Taking a kind of pseudo-form of an independent corporation, they use structured methodologies--like flow charts--to assess social, political and economic conditions. Their strategies uncover what exists to initiate dialogue about what is possible. REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT depends on collaborators from different backgrounds to make connections and to generate knowledge and actions, drawing on a fundamental aesthetics of the everyday.

REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT is in Columbus from October 10 to 19. During that period they organize an event that takes as its point of departure the Monday Demonstration in East Germany in 1989. On the 20th anniversary of this historic break, specific aspects of procession such as signs and slogans are extrapolated to explore the demonstration model in general as a revolutionary technique. With topics pertinent to Columbus like transportation, housing, education funding, retail and minorities, the collective examines concepts of readymade revolution and demonstrator-for-hire related to a contemporary economy of revolution and, ultimately, to our role as active members of society today.

Visit descenttorevolution.net to view documentation.
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Tercerunquinto, drawing of proposal IT WAS BUILT TO FAIL, 2009


photograph of demolition of City Center Mall, Columbus, Ohio, October 25, 2009

The proposal IT WAS BUILT TO FAIL by Tercerunquinto intended to make an inscription of a quote by Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman about the defunct downtown retail mall Columbus City Center on the exterior walls of that building. Constructed in 1989 and once the hub of a thriving downtown, the 1.2 million square-foot site met a premature demise as retail and residential construction on the periphery of the city proliferated over the course of the past decade. IT WAS BUILT TO FAIL sought to address the paradoxical condition of rising infrastructure in suburban Columbus and continuing decay at its core. City officials did not respond to repeated inquiries about the proposal to make the inscription on the surface of the building. It was not possible to realize the project.

Based in Mexico City, Tercerunquinto (“a third of a fifth”) is a collective comprised of Julio Castro, Gabriel Cázares and Rolando Flores. Tercerunquinto is interested in creating discourse about the authority associated with government and cultural institutions. Their practice uses site-specific structural interventions, modifications and relocations along with ephemeral actions to challenge the effect private and public entities—conceptual and physical—make on everyday life. Through sometimes subtle alterations in basic architectural elements, like doorways and walls, or more evident insertions of new structural devices into interior and exterior spaces, Tercerunquinto disrupts routine engagements with space. They create problematics that expose the ongoing negotiations with the political.

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OFFICE OF COLLECTIVE PLAY
Office of Collective Play is a space and program operating during the course of Descent to Revolution. Located in a formerly empty downtown storefront space, it is a site of artistic production, presenting just about anything ranging from reading groups and performances to film screenings and informal talks. Participants are encouraged to engage in revolutionary unproductive ways with the city and community. Embracing the dynamic and the unpredictable, the Office of Collective Play contributes to a broader discourse on how play, festival and basic behavioral disruptions undermine dominant capitalist, class and urban frameworks.

Check out descenttorevolution.net for documentation of activities.

Location: 155 N. 5th Street Map
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LIBIDINAL ECONOMY BY JEAN-FRANÇOIS LYOTARD
Libidinal Economy by Jean-François Lyotard explores an alternative consideration of Sigmund Freud’s theory of the libido as a means to think about the effects of a range of social and political situations, from revolutionary actions to global economics. Lyotard adapts Freud’s ideas about human energies of the libido--feelings and desires--to a philosophy of the operations society in general. Lyotard’s concept of libidinal energy examines the effects of events on the world and how interpretations are inherently insufficient or biased, configured for the benefit of interested parties. He theorizes the world as an economy of libidinal energies by equating events as undercurrents that move the world just like feelings and desires move humans.

Over the course of the exhibition, a weekly reading group explores ideas in Lyotard's book in relation to Descent to Revolution and the practice of Claire Fontaine.
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