Diamond

2012

Opening speech, Bergen Festival Exhibition at Bergen Kunsthall, May 2012

Economics is a language for understanding the world. A grid that divides chaos up into smaller parts and demarcates, isolates each individual part and action so we can com­pare, limit, check associations and understand one another. An alphabet for human expe­ri­ence, an abstraction. So that transactions can take place within a system on which we agree. It dominates the world with its efficiency. But if I focus on the dividing lines in the grid, it’s as if they dissolve in front of my eyes. Something falls outside – it gets too cramped and stifling. Human life doesn’t count when the aim is to socialize losses in order to privatize profit. When time is everything, and life nothing. It’s a very expensive system. An impersonal system that can’t describe us or how we interact with one another and the world. How we are WE. And we ARE, we are MORE.

 

The market is burst wide open by the world – by us. All the time. We don’t live through it. We don’t express ourselves through it, and we are not defined by it. It lacks an ade­quate vocabulary. Forms that are not captured, that find no names.

 

The great, wild, nameless, eternal, uncontrollable, powerful, dangerous. The concrete, the known and yet the always new. Life.

 

The Midsummer Bonfire, the New Year fireworks. The first time I saw Paolo Uccello’s The Battle of San Romano, Jackson Pollock’s paintings at the Pompidou Centre, Cara­vaggio’s fruit basket that could have been painted yesterday, but is from 1599, Velaz­quez’ Las Meninas, Trisha Brown’s architectural choreography, Matta-Clarke’s fantas­tic, visionary interventions, Adrian Piper’s generous, cool analytical and hard-driving Funk Lessons, Victor Lind’s almost unbearable Contemporary memory. And all the others, including those I don’t like – I LOVE them. They open the world wide. They knock holes in the membranes that separate, and make it incomprehensible, miserly, cramped and inhuman. I don’t own them, but I own them all. No amount of money can describe them.

 

Can you know how much something is worth before it has been given a name, before it has been given a history, before it has circulated? Art has never quite found its place in the market, it isn’t comfortable in the readymade framework it can offer. But it exists, it has been there all the time. With one foot inside and more feet outside. If necessary it can go underground.

 

Casual jobs, public funding, commissions, sales, private funding, prizes, sponsors, volun­tary work, the barter economy and gifts. A multivalent, composite economic star­ting point. And it merges with life around it. Solidarity, speculation, piracy and high ideals.

 

The desert is spreading, we know it’s coming. We know how it looks, we’ve seen the pictures. The ghost lives; it has grown.

 

But in the desert water supplies flow through hidden, unknown underground channels that are always finding new courses.

 

Art isn’t isolated points or moments. It is interrelated with everything around it, can be found anywhere. In the air, in the sound, in the walls around us, the water we drink, the words we use, in what we see and hear and how. It depends on how the light falls. Art is in the world, OF the world, an expression of the world. Concrete, living, practiced form. It is ours, it is US. It can’t express anything else but US. We have the depth, the height, the unpredictability, the wildness, the other possibilities in us. And isn’t it exactly these other impulses, other narratives and morals, even in a world dominated by market thinking, that point out the alternatives?

 

There is no other, better world, only this one. But it could look entirely different. Doesn’t every single segment, every single moment, have thousands of possible out­comes?

 

It’s hidden before our eyes. The exceptions, the surprises. The magical. We can think bigger than ourselves.

Against the models. Against the structures. Against the concepts. Between, over, under and through.

No one knows how much, or how little, 1 + 1 can be.

When the light breaks, falls from another angle, the shadows change.

And I own my life, I can choose.

No one knows the limits of the world.