Mar 17, 2008
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This is art VS This is not art (2008)

8:44 am
The cold is intense.  My walk to the College is like an expedition.  My head is in there, somewhere under the layers.  As I breathe frost is forming on my scarf and face.  I feel the cold creeping into my fingers and back.  It is starting to get in through my boots.  Under my hood, all I hear is the resonating squeak of my footsteps like a walk in Styrofoam moon boots.  It hurts.

8:49
The SAIT campus is already bustling with people.  We look like steam engines, puffing white clouds of life that freeze in mid air.  I think it’s minus 40C.
Choo! Choo!

8:52
Horror!  I spot a conductor/student walking leisurely.  His steam is thick like molasses.  He isn’t even wearing a tuque.  He has a jacket with a hood but he is not covering his head!  His face is calm.  The man appears to be immune to pain.  I am thinking, he looks like me in July…

8:53
As I continue, I think that the man must have lost his power of thought.  Then, it strikes me that I am witnessing a performance, an art performance.  As Laurie Anderson once played violin while her standing with her ice skates frozen into a block of ice, I interpret that this man was doing something amazing.  I just didn’t realize it at the exact moment.

8:57
I arrive – I have made it!  I am finally at ACAD.  The warmth of the mall hits me like a wall of bliss.  Others have arrived at the same time; all look stunned by the brutality of the cold.  We move slowly while our clothing regains some sort of flexibility. The mall is filled with the wonderful works of the First Year Studies Exhibition.  Near the elevators, there are a few men kneeling down beside their buckets of cement.  They are busy repairing broken tiles and have set up a barricade with yellow tape.

9:36
On my way to the Faculty lounge I notice that the monitor of the Diversity booth, which sits in the middle of the Mall, is sporting a black label stuck in the middle of the screen.  The label has been made with an old label maker and the white letters state: THIS IS NOT ART.  I gaze around the mall before reading the label again.  My first thought is that the label points conceptually to surrealist René Magritte’s painting, The Treachery Of Images*.  This is after all, an Art school, throbbing with ideas.  Satisfied, I continue to the Faculty Lounge.  Then…

9:49
I have this weird feeling that maybe the statement on that label was not so layered, not so complex.  Maybe someone, here in the innards of this laboratory, needs to have things labelled according to the TELL ME WHAT IS THIS book.

10:31
Time flies.  My Sound I class is finishing the set up for a laptop performance in the arthole.  Things are going well in the placement of two tables, a P.A. system, and with an orderly jungle of cables and adaptors, 8 laptops have been wired up and are ready to go.  Tim from the AV has been helping us.  The idea for our performance is to sample sounds with a microphone and create real time loops with the material.  As there are 8 loops created at any moment it becomes clear that this is as much a sonic experimentation as an exercise in listening.

11:12
We have been creating texture and rhythm for 30 minutes now.  Some of the results are curious, some are engaging, and some make for difficult listening.

11:13
The group has developed a minimal soundscape, almost inaudible, which makes the ghetto blaster of the café overpowering.  After a while I decide to ask the café staff to lower its music.  The person I ask looks at me without speaking.  Without words, the message to me is of the unhappiness of being forced to listen to sound art.  The unspoken words might be that the sound experiment is cutting into the musical dreamscape.  I thank him for lowering the sound of the ghetto blaster.

11:14
On my way back to the laptop area, I realize how bizarre this non-comment is.  I mean this is an Art school.  This is a ‘laboratory environment that is committed to unconstrained inquiry’.  I begin to wonder many students, here at school, boast a dislike for abstract painting over landscape painting, or for curved shapes over square angles, or for lights that are not of the hue prescribed in the TELL ME WHAT IS THIS SO I CAN MAKE SENSE OF IT book.  If there is aesthetic intolerance here, one can only imagine how dangerous it is outside of the lab.

11:40
The performance is over.  We have taken all of the equipment down.  On our way back to the fourth floor I notice that the workers who were repairing the broken tiles are gone.  They have left warnings on the barricade.  The warnings state: DO NOT TOUCH.  THIS IS NOT AN ARTWORK.

11:40:02
YIKES!  Is this another Treachery Of Images or is it just the steam from our mouths making it difficult to see?  It is not yet midday and the opportunity to generate dialogue has raised its head three times.

Daniel Dugas

* The Treachery Of Images (La trahison des images 1928-29) is a painting by Belgian Surrealist painter René Magritte, famous for its inscription Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

NB – All of these events took place, not exactly at the times stated here.

 

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Daniel H. Dugas

Artiste numérique, poète et musicien, Daniel Dugas a participé à des expositions individuelles et de groupe ainsi qu’à plusieurs festivals et événements de poésie en Amérique du Nord, en Europe, au Mexique et en Australie. Son neuvième recueil de poésie L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time vient de paraître aux Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel Dugas is a poet, musician and videographer. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as festivals and literary events in North America, Europe, Mexico and Australia. His ninth book of poetry: L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time has just been published by Les Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel Dugas es poeta, músico y videocreador. Ha participado en exposiciones individuales y colectivas, festivals y eventos literarios en Norteamérica, Europa, México y Australia. Acaba de publicar su noveno poemario, L’esprit du temps / The spirit of time (Les Editions Prise de parole).

L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time est un projet de transmutation du paysage publicitaire en paysage poétique. Ce livre est à la fois un livre de photographie, un recueil de poésie et un essai lucide mais ludique sur notre société matérialiste. Il a été produit en numérique et imprimé en quantité limitée.

Date : Décembre 2015
Genre : Poésie
Collection : Poésie
ISBN : 9782894239629

Éditions Prise de parole

http://www.prisedeparole.ca/auteurs/?id=148

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