Variations is a series of investigations of the common ground between therapy and art. The work aims to remain open, an origin for further and continued exploration and interpretations, by its creator and others, in ways perhaps unforeseen by its author.
At its core is a collection of event scores consisting of therapy exercises culled –with as little alteration as possible – from various forms of therapy and self-help literature. Presented here are some of the ways in which the artist has chosen to explore this material.
Not only do event scores and therapy exercises, upon reading, present similarities in appearance, but their aims also intersect: both event scores and therapy exercises seek to, through their reading or execution, elicit thought and create awareness, to invite both the spectator (and the interpreter) to consider and experience things differently. Event scores have an effect on the performer and audience just as therapy exercises do, and therapy exercises can be as theatrical, contemplative or poetic as event scores are. The greatest difference between the exercises collected for Variations and event scores like those of George Brecht or Yoko Ono is in fact context. And as shown by Duchamp’s urinal, the way it is presented (its context) is what renders an object a work of art.
The therapy exercises thus become scores by being presented as such: they are collected and displayed here as cards in a box inspired by Brecht’s Water Yam, presented as an object with a clear link to an artistic tradition.
A number of the scores thus created were then chosen by the artist for their particular sound-eliciting potential and properties, and their instructions were carried out and recorded. Before these executions took place, choices on how to best emphasise the sonic potential of these exercise-scores was also made. However, after this initial stage of aesthetic decision-making, the artist chose to carry out the instructions in as precise and literal a way as possible, as would a therapy patient. Though executed in real time as much as possible as straight therapeutic exercises, these executions are also presented as sound art, and aesthetic choices are at their root. In these sonic pieces, thus, intention and context constantly shift between art and therapy, blurring the line between the two.