Looking for additional conversation on Rashaad Newsome’s The Conductor (Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi) (2008), on view at PS1 Greater New York? The blog produced two of its most productive comment threads on the subject a couple months ago, before Catalogue Editorial Assistant Rachel Wetzler threw this Newsome interview into the mix. Newsome discusses most of the themes covered in the comment section–that the Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi score used in action movies connects hip hop stars overcoming adversity with the similar narrative of action heroes. He also adds that the piece is made up of the most popular songs in the New York area from 2008 according to radio stations Hot 97 and 105.1. I like the layer of geographic and time specificity because it suggests a piece that at least in theory could constantly be changing. This seems a more accurate reflection of the web and speaks to the youtube medium Newsome uses. I’m not sure it solves the issues brought up by others — that the source videos themselves are already a more powerful statements on themes such as overcoming adversity — but I think the video is worth noting.
Meanwhile, The Problem With Academic Language sparked a great debate, in part due to my own misreading of the text on Abramović. Blogger Sally McKay points out that the crux of Tremblings post, is that the re-enactment of Seven Easy Pieces is the memory (as opposed to my recasting, which posited it was shaped by it). Time Out New York’s Howard Halle provides the most substantive response to that theory:
If Abramović knew in doing “Seven Easy Pieces “that her cobbled-together, rigorously documented reenactments would necessarily (and problematically) supplant the original performances,” then why do it? Why not leave those works in the realm of fragmentary evidence and memory where they were clearly consigned by the intent of their creators? Why is there a need for an answer to “the critical problem of performance art, however imperfect,” or even, for that matter, the necessity of raising a question in the first place? My problem with Abramović is that her motivations are more self-aggrandizing than critical. That she colluded with an institution to package herself as a star—successfully I might I add—precisely through re-enactments of her own and other works that were devised to be anti-institutional. Well, you might say, that was then, and this is now, but if you ask me, it's rather like silkscreening Malevich on a T-shirt. It belongs in the gift shop, not in the museum proper, though of course, I completely understand that these days, there's very little difference between the two.