My struggles, bared teeth, growls, howls, and so on, look and sound no different to those of a bear, badger, or what have you. And Plato ought to agree, I think, that my struggles are not merely similar to the animal’s struggles, but that they arise from the same psychological source. Plato, of all people, ought to agree that the bear is angry.
– Tad Brennan in Plato and the Divided Self
In his video work, he tends toward lonely, restless souls like…any of the solitary animals that found themselves cooped up and climbing the walls in a remote desert motel in his 2008 piece “Migration (empire).”
– Alix Browne Only Connect on Doug Aitken
Our first lot is a piece in a somewhat deteriorated state. Yet, considering its antiquity, the overall condition is good; one might even say excellent. Significant flattening of the point leads to the supposition that the original owner, Mr. Plato, talked and ate continuously. He was five feet five inches tall and thirty-three and a half inches broad; he was of medium height but robust, with a fighter’s build. He had a long, cotton-woolly beard, light brown in color; thick hair of the same hue and texture. Mr. Plato flaunted the conventional fashions of the day and wore his toga loose, without a belt. Neither did he wear sandals. Mr. Plato once made a comparison between the period of dentition and a man falling in love: “In this state, the soul enters into effervescence and irritation; and this soul, whose wings are just beginning to develop, can be compared to a child whose gums are inflamed and enervated by its first teeth.” Lovely, don’t you think?
With an eye toward reconsidering the role of the curator as translator or mediator, we decided first to create a report of the facts as they occurred within the context of the factory and the exhibition space. We asked Ignacio Perales, vocalist of Los Pellejos and a professional claims adjuster, to prepare a brief, objective report of the exhibition as it appeared before the viewer’s eyes. We then invited Valeria Luiselli to imagine a story that could narrate how the artworks that comprise this exhibition communicate between themselves and with the environment that surrounds them. The end result is a novella that has as its starting point a series of concrete clues. The author shared each chapter on a weekly basis with a group of workers at the Jumex factory, and this process, in turn, generated a long-distance dialogue that helped to further enrich the plot. This publication represents an integral part of the curatorial process, as it also constitutes an extension, in time and space, of the exhibition itself.
– Description of the catalogue The Hunter and the Factory
Many of the stories told in this book come from the workers’ personal accounts — though names, places, and details are modified. The discussions between the workers also directed the course of the narrative, pushing me to reflect upon old questions from a new perspective: How do art objects acquire value not only within the specialized market for art consumption, but also outside its (more or less) well-defined boundaries? How does distancing an object or name from its context in a gallery, museum, or literary pantheon — a reverse Duchampian procedure — affect its meaning and interpretation? How do discourse, narrative, and authorial signatures or names modify the way we perceive artwork and literary texts? The result of these shared concerns is this collective “novel-essay” about the production of value and meaning in contemporary art and literature.
– Valeria Luiselli ‘Aferword’, The Story of My Teeth
[This post was written in honor of the four wisdom teeth that my partner Rebeka Campos-Astorkiza had removed yesterday, who, like many of us, in spite of their individual struggles, still managed to work well together]