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An Introduction to Transcriptions 2

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For our first edition of TRANSCRIPTIONS we witnessed the written form being brought into the realm of performance. From the visual, to spoken, to performed TRANSCRIPTIONS has become an investigation into notating the experience of art.

Susan Sontag once said “a writer is someone who pays attention to the world”.(1) For a number of decades visual art has increasingly turned toward the production of experiences. But what does this mean? Any and all artwork elicit some kind of aesthetic or situational experience. As we traverse art history towards the modern and into the contemporary this idea of the experience is no longer a discernable or readable meaning by the viewer but the production of something else that positions itself between the object, the space and the viewer’s body.

TRANSCRIPTIONS 2 is concerned with the act of story telling; how dialogue, text, poetry and language inform the experience of art. Over the course of one hour in the galleries of the Elder Wing of Australian Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia a group of artists and writers shared their knowledge and experiences of selected works of art. This thoughtful action was presented to an aware audience creating a moment of kinship and perhaps bringing us somewhat closer to recognising what that ‘something else’ may be.

For our online community the presentations and performances take both written and spoken form. By doubling-back and reformulating these presentations with photography and moving image we encourage a deeper reading into the works and the artist’s thoughts around them. The act of transcribing remains a fluid moving mechanism always inspiring a new way of engagement.

Artist Tino Seghal once stated “the objective of this work is to become the object of a discussion”. Here, for this second live issue of fine print we too believe in the power of discussion and the politics of listening. This dynamic and potent moment between an artist, an artwork and an audience is the beginning of an inspiring line of enquiry—can transcription illicit a new and necessary narrative around art-making and meaning?

We choose to conclude this introduction with some words from American writer, poet, critic and editor, Toni Morrison:

I am a writer and my faith in the world of art is intense but not irrational or naïve. Art invites us to take the journey beyond price, beyond costs into bearing witness to the world as it is and as it should be. Art invites us to know beauty and to solicit it from even the most tragic of circumstances. Art reminds us that we belong here. And if we serve, we last. My faith in art rivals my admiration for any other discourse. Its conversation with the public and among its various genres is critical to the understanding of what it means to care deeply and to be human completely.

The second live issue of fine print was performed in September 2019 by Sera Waters (SA), Andrew Purvis (SA), Elle Freak (SA), Eleanor Amor (SA), and Brad Darkson (SA).

— Rayleen Forester for fine print