ACTING THINGS VII - School of Fluid Measures
Former fellow Judith Seng presents ACTING THINGS VII - School of Fluid Measures in the group exhibition The Work of Time at Z33 - House of Contemporary Art Hasselt in Belgium.
Standard measurements such as kilogrammes, metres, and hours suggest objectivity and independence from a given context. Nevertheless, their true meaning only unfolds in relation to a specific situation, object, space, or time. Like social values such as freedom, individuality or safety, the interpretation of time is a construct based on the Western convention of clock time. What happens if we step away from the hours, minutes, and seconds that make up standard time and allow ourselves to be guided instead by our body, our experiences, our memories, and lived life? Perhaps learning should be less about knowing and memorising and more about understanding how everything continuously changes in relation to something else. School of Fluid Measures was created by Judith Seng as a way to reflect on human value systems through embodied experience instead of theoretical thinking. In a series of performative negotiations, this installation can be perceived as a collective learning process. In School of Fluid Measures, knowledge unfolds over time, over the course of a conversation, and over the course of the exhibition itself.
At the School of Fluid Measures fixed standards and positions are dissolved through scored interactions that leave traces in coloured sand. The patterns that emerge are an exploratory measure of the fluidity of meanings, and the colours represent exemplary social values as resources to debate, distribute, and fuse into new colours and values. Through an embodied process that surfaces situative intentions and relations, the sessions each invite participants to negotiate the relation between two colours and values, without words but with their bodies and sand in space and time. Two people at a time are invited to enter into a discussion on how values such as freedom, collectivity or safety act in relation to each other in situations of our shared daily lives. In light of the current situation, the installation allows to transmit such discussions from the private sphere back into a more collective and public dialogue.
Z33 presents the third activation and iteration of the School of Fluid Measures. The first activation at the Pera Museum in Istanbul in the context of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennale observed the repertoire of gestures, expressions and patterns that emerged throughout such embodied yet silent negotiations. Building upon these learnings, the second activation at the LUMA Foundation in Arles focused on how the understanding of a specific value is influenced and changes throughout a silent negotiation process. On the occasion of the opening of Z33s new museum building in Hasselt, through curated sessions the third activation invites local stakeholders in order to investigate how such abstract yet tangible negotiations can contribute to understanding of concrete projects and situations within the city life.
ACTING THINGS VII - School of Fluid Measures is the seventh project in Judith Seng’s ongoing ACTING THINGS series, that since 2011 has asked: What if we look at production processes as if they were a dance, a play, a ritual?
Curator The Work of Time: Ils Huygens
Team Studio Judith Seng: Clementine Boucher, Mirjam Faber, Elena Petrach, Lucas Wheeler, Anna Luise Pfau
21 May to 29 August 2020
Z33 - House for Contemporary Art, Design & Architecture
Video from Istanbul