Jim Thorell, Moldy Feebles, 2015 and Jesse Greenberg, TBT (Body Scan), 2015
Art Basel Miami Beach 2015 marked the beginning of PLANES, the ongoing self-habituating curatorial platform and research project led by Anna Frost and Annika Kuhlman. Set in the garage of the Bas Fisher Invitational (BFI) in a derelict part of town, the physical exhibition also served as a kind of swan song to the artist-run space that is scheduled to soon be replaced by a World Mall. The commercial gentrification of Miami, fuelled partially by the ever-travelling international art circuit, is a suitable context for PLANES to emerge from, which rather than insisting on geographically permanent facilities for showcasing art, attempts to propose new ways in which to secure cultural running-room in an increasingly corporatized landscape of culture.
Joshua Citarella, Compression Artifacts II, 2015
Today, artistic practice requires of all its actors an ever-increasing amount of mobility across time zones and locations, stimulating nomadic lifestyles that are part self-initiated and partly enforced by the event-based precarity of most cultural labor. The drastic changes in how we live, work and travel fully eradicate the idea of a permanent studio practice – and similarly, the architecture of artistic collectivity, including artist-run institutions, are required to assume the mobility of its intended members. Neither a critique nor romanticization of such tendencies, PLANES seem to ask, when institutions become as non-local as its actors, and nomadic as the networks in which it operates – how and where do we showcase art?
PLANES, Install view, BFI, Miami
With PLANES, Kuhlman and Frost attempt to make productive a network of artists that was to some extent probably already established through the digitally-enabled, transnational art scene that exists between the art capitals of the Western hemisphere. Central to the project is their website, which facilitates the visualization of the network’s data, in all its complexity. Based on a specially written algorithm, the site processes the data its members choose to upload (from digital art works and photographic documentation to clusters of research and writing) to then re-shuffle it to create new intersections and connections between disparate clusters or planes of data. As this process is represented visually, the website effectively functions as a constantly-evolving group show of fragmented material sourced from PLANES’ actors – a live archive of sorts, generating curatorial initiatives on its own. In these new potentialities, photographic documentation is not just documentation anymore, but images in their own right as they travel around in the network forming new meaning and losing origin.
Besides this initial gesture of inviting a selection of artists, the curators hope to see the network grow and initiate itself organically, with other potential manifestations including residencies, panel discussions, parties, talks, workshops, and symposia, happening simultaneously as the network changes organically with its actors. PLANES examines curatorial strategies in the network of a global art scene, and so, pushes the creative potentiality of the network to its farthest.
Joshua Citarella, Compression Artifacts II, 2015
The Miami installment of PLANES was the first temporal manifestation of the self-habituating network, featuring work from a dozen of artists such as Dorota Gawęda & Eglė Kulbokaitė of Young Girl Reading Group, Jaakko Pallasvuo, and Jenna Sutela. Much of the work, like Clémence de La Tour du Pin’s towel arrangements, and Kristin Luke’s (The Air Inn Venice) rough-textured furniture pieces that co-hosted other works in the exhibition, took form as proto-lifestyle interiors, characterizing collectively different characteristics of the PLANES network. Josh Citarella’s Compression Artifacts II addresses the relationship with the screen based viewership through a treatment of the exhibition documentation. In an essay he explains: “material, photography and software are here considered in conjunction with one another. Art objects and exhibition spaces may now be partially fabricated, documented and through software hyper-realistically transformed into idealistic states whose physical manifestation would reach beyond the material means of their producers.“ What is proposed in this virtually-enabled platform is not just new forms of exhibiting, but alternative ways to live, work and communicate through and as art – in the spirit of collectivity. From Paris, curator Toke Lykkeberg contributed to the opening exhibition in Miami with a playlist – later to be joined by Travess Smalley, Paul Barsch & Tilman Hornig, and DIS, amongst others – as Kuhlman argues, “a network listens to music.”
PLANES also invites other institutions to intersect with curatorial practices. In the instance of the inaugural show at BFI the Swedish LOYAL Gallery presented works by five artists, all contributors to the LOYAL Magazine Vol. 2 that launched during the show. Brad Troemel’s practice with online image behavior and works dealing with market speculation and value played well with the rest of the show. Inter-institutional co-habituation obviously entails a giving up of curatorial control, with works juxtaposing in a flittering or disparate manner. This potentially conflicting dynamic, however, becomes an equally important representation of the network.
Toke Lykkeberg’s Playlist with Split Thumb by Zack Davis
The institution, then, is not just understood as the literal space for showcasing art, but the spatiality that is constructed between actors and people that frequent the same parts of a global, virtually-enabled network. PLANES tests the potentials and limits of curating by dispersing it via the network, across time and space.
Concurring with the release of this essay is the second project within the framework of PLANES. INT. Apartment, Daytime is a photo series shot on the set of a video promo by Christopher Kulendran Thomas, commissioned for the 9th Berlin Biennale. Utilizing the film’s three stylized apartment locations as both backdrops and active sets, PLANES continues to work with various levels of networked hybrid exhibition frames. INT. Apartment, Daytime extends this trajectory towards employing multiple facets of spatiality – joining elements from video, interior design and styling with an exhibition display superimposed.