The exhibition embodies the strategy of Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedman, who attempts to record the first letter of each word he hears spoken aloud in conversations - or even from his own poems - in frantic real-time. He has devised this practice in what he calls an attempt to recuperate deficit: to stockpile the perpetual loss of experience that is the effect of time flowing over bodies, through architecture, and eddying around artworks, and translate it into a document that he can hold. The end product is a skewed version, like a carbon-transfer on which he has scribbled his own mnemonic marks.
Sorry Archive is a curatorial project that designs exhibitions based on alter egos and false narratives. We will create an installation within our room that displays the work of five artists (Constantin Hartenstein, Siebren Versteeg, Frank Castanien, Wyatt Burns, and Nicholas Sullivan) in a constructed capsule that represents Freedman’s inner mind. Outside the capsule, we will adapt Freedman’s personality into a productive device to counsel the viewer through the show in the form of a voiceover, an ‘X-rated’ printed publication that shows the artists’ working processes, and a cardboard cutout of Freedman. In the vein of his acronymic process for writing, Sorry has also invited him to compose new texts in reaction to the artworks. The resultant writings, and the visual works, reflect various processes in reaction to a dream of experiential totality - the way that our minds “copy and paste” experience unconsciously and beyond our control. The artists’ strategies referred to below can in some ways be considered methods of record making - translating the ineffable, e.g. sex, light, pain, violence, protection. These methods sit at the crease of pathology in the desire for tangible memory, and Freedman is left to find his way through the brain-folds.
The artworks function as follows:
Wyatt Burns thwarts the utility of a series of lamps by casting them in concrete and hooking them up to current multimeters, inserting them into a consistently illogical system for quantifying light.
Nick Sullivan’s sculpture realizes a figural (and often sexually suggestive) scene by seizing upon its most easily dramatized components, emblematizing them to a point beyond recognition.
Siebren Versteeg’s algorithmically generated printed painting uses a program written by the artist to imitate the drips and strokes of virtuosic abstract tradition, which are actually an ongoing computerized visualization of input.
Constantin Hartenstein imposes large-scale graphic and uncomfortable scenes upon the viewer to insert an artificial memory made of counterfeit and suggestive elements.
The precisely described vectors in Frank Castanien’s angular wall brace sculptures fall short of mathematical purity. Inspired by stark sexual positions and the commercial market of furniture and accessories that accompanies them, his works achieve a slick and uncompromising aesthetic that visually hides their erotic undertones.
Our idea of the Sorry Archive is based on the concept of an archive that is not only failed but self-conscious of its flaws. Akin to Freedman’s "initializing" practice, the images and texts we produce act as placeholders for temporal experience, representing yet in some ways barely suggesting the original event. Freedman’s understanding that subjective experience can never truly be written makes him the perfect interpolator and author of the exhibition, which focuses on a single work from each artist. His race to separate words and hold them in memory without meaning, as a record of lived life, is a beautifully failing strategy to recuperate the loss that time passing incurs. Strategy typically tries to counteract and protect from vulnerability, but in this case, the artistic and poetic strategies used make us only more vulnerable to the problems of perception that are its delights.