Dan Friedman
We will destroy the museums, p.3

V. We will destroy the museums: from within

The drive for a unified political and social state comes from a preoccupation with the self and its mythical unity. The main contribution of the only words in the exhibition (there are no labels for the images) is to undercut the prejudice of the exotic. Despite appearances this is not another postcard home from someone who has gone to India, Burma, Egypt to find himself. This is the explicitly artistic record of someone who is helping to provide a constructive vision of what the psyche might look like – the similarity between some of Colbert’s landscapes and the psychic landscapes in the J-Lo vehicle The Cell is a coincidence, but not a surprising one.

The exotic locations are not chosen because they are distant but because, according to the artist, the psyche is too much of an exotic destination, and one we should visit more often. The appearance of the exogenous, in a museum that is explicitly concerned with outwards and onwards movement is a supportive encouragement to be mindful. The exotic locations, the wild animals, even the constant recurrence of sleeping figures – a sleep that is close to death – all remind the transient visitor to the exhibition of the many states and places yet to investigate.

The narrator recounting the highly intermittent and hypnotic voiceover to the video tells us that he has been out of touch for a year and that he will send “letters that are more myself than I have ever been” to make up for it. These are intended to replace a year of silence, and correspond to each of the 365 days. By the end of the dreamlike video, however, the voice is suggesting that these letters should be burned and the ashes placed by the river banks. As the snow melts, these ashes will run away in the spring waters and the letters will become even more true. The self that is explicitly contained in these letters moves on, and the vehicle, the paper, that contains it becomes a prison which must be dismantled. Could art sitting on paper in a paper museum more eloquently advocate the dismantling of the museum that holds it, and holds it back?

[1]       [2]       3
Image: ashesandsnow.org

Dan Friedman is not sure where he will be living this fall.

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