In a somewhat questionable marketing endeavour, the Eastern Cape Region has been sign posted, ‘Frontier Country’ and indeed this is what it is. Historically it is the site of the 9 Frontier Wars and much brutal conflict and living here presently can still seem the edge of nowhere by comparison to many major South African metropols. With Grahamstown at the heart of it, it is also a cosmopolitan space not without vestiges of past pain but - like many colonial outposts in a post-colonial time - it is no longer a satellite to an absent motherland, a mere microcosm of elsewhere, but also a world unto itself.

A potential space of intellectual, debate rather than military conflict – geographically isolated from metropolitan trends – a melting pot of many places, a crucible. In more recent history, this frontier space has been a site of culture, of experiment. Home to an annual arts festival, how is it that Grahamstown with a population of just under 140 000 can command so much creative imagination in novels, plays, poetry and art? Frontier, Border, at the end of the world but not about to fall off – merely at a vantage point to observe a view to come.
- Rat Western

DISCHARGE 2012             COLOUR COLLOQUIUM 2010             SYNTHETIC DIRT 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Josh Ginsberg: I am Equipment: Artist as Interface

The proposed presentation outlines I am Equipment, a project which situates myself as a part of the artwork allowing participants to engage me in conversation to which I respond with imagery, video, text, audio and voice. The database that facilitates response is of my own design with regard to both content and structural mechanics. It is a complex dynamic network, comprising +-­‐ 20 000 discrete objects (text, video, still and sound) organized entirely by subjective association. A highly idiosyncratic tagging system facilitates immediate access to elements by both formal and oblique references, allowing me to respond by speaking through the media. As a function of the database’s networked and associative design, related or oblique elements presence during searches. This results in unexpected nodes upon which to forward conversation. The work (a performance comprising the database and myself) is designed to encourage questions leveled at it. It is in effect, a contemporary response to Robert Morris’s Box with the Sound of its Own Making (1961): I become an interface fielding questions related to the work’s own making. Broadly, this project is invested in the space between art and the discussion of it, and as a result the conference platform (with the presentation mode of address) is an ideal site for its activation.

Josh Ginsburg is a practicing artist, currently completing a Masters in Fine art at the University of Cape Town where he also teaches on the relationship between art and technology.

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