live ongoing action

Manuel Pelmus has recently described his practice as “live ongoing action”. Consequently, my subtitle has the form of an announcement for a live action that has begun, is going on now and will continue indefinitely.

In English, a live event is one takes place when people are watching, as opposed to a recorded event that is broadcast at a later time. Live also implies watching the recording (and the framing) of the event as it happens – in this situation, what you see is conditioned by those who make the recording. Both cases involve simultaneous recording and watching. The verb to live, on the other hand, means “to be or remain alive”, “to have your home in a particular place”, “to survive”, “to exist”, “to last”, “to dwell” etc.

Leaving the meaning of the adjective live aside, the verb to dwell makes us think of being present in a space that belongs to us in one form or another, or where our place is. More precisely, to dwell may mean to be located or locate yourself in a familiar space that you can see clearly and where you can contribute to sense-making practices.

Manuel Pelmuș’s action can be the kind of action that occupies a place, that dwells in a space and clarifies it. His recent project, Permanent Collection, involves various actions generated by a cultural context – exhibition-related or not – and a relation to art institutions and the policies developed both within and outside of them. His practice determines actions of mobilization, of setting in motion jammed mechanisms, ingrained policies or interpretations and meanings that are provided institutionally, by prolonging the power of the government or a dominant cultural discourse.

The physical action of being in a space, of pushing the air around while moving, of filling it with a voice, of disturbing it with its vibration can also mean a gesture of animating a space with severely restricted access (such as private collection) or limited access (public collections stored or displayed in “dead” exhibitions, waiting to be reactivated, to be placed in a context).

Permanent Collection is a long-term project. An action is going on under the Art Encounters Biennial in collaboration with Mihai Mihalcea and Ion Dumitrescu (sound design): A soundtrack, mixing acoustic effects and a monologue by the artist, commenting on notions of distance and dislocation, presence, and communality, is broadcast into the space of Kasia Redzisz’s exhibition at “Corneliu Mikloși” Museum of Public Transport in Timișoara. A simultaneous iteration of the same project is going on at Kunsthalle Wien, where a “group of performers transform and re-mediate art-historical references, cultural artifacts, contexts, events, texts, and gestures using only the body as a medium”.