jeudi 19 mars 2009


Critical Run Copenhagen
Why is critic missing ?
(from the academy to the Danish parliament)

Through the XXth century, running has turned out to be the most physically based of the most symbolical act. USSR understood it perfectly with the person of Emile Zatopek, who became in the 1950s the human bomb able to explode at the Western world's face. To multiplicate world records is an efficient way of catching up one's attention and signifying to others who has the power. 

"He is becoming the first man of the universal history to be able to run more than twenty kilometers in one hour. (...) This prodigious performance will not be ranked before long, one rhapsodizes. Emile, thus, juts out from the human frame, recedes the norms of physical capacities, becomes for all unattainable, no one has ever gone so far." (Jean Echenoz, Courir)

There would be an interesting study to make about the indexicality of sport world records towards states' desire of appearing as a valuable and respectable force.
Fortunately, the system sometimes gets corrupted, as it happened in august 2008. Jamaica offered an impressive performance through relay and sprint races. 'Lightning Bolt' and his fellows suddenly re-introduced a part of dream in a media show, where athletes tend to be the means of an ideological competition between states. 
Faster faster faster faster (4x100m), or longer-faster (marathon), our present productivist system seems to be only interested into exceeding human capacities. To reach what ?

"He is running, he is running without wondering anything" (J. E., Courir)

The current sport paradigm appears to be an entertaining metaphor of the world of work, amplified by the need of medias for a powerful emotional image. Submerged by the exploit or the work, we do not have space left for thinking. The artists' run, sporadic and dispersed, is one possible time to open such a space. A time-space created for a collective critic of the future of selfless human activities.

lundi 2 mars 2009


The invention of mechanics has induced an ever increasing toughening of certain human behaviours. The acceleration and systematisation of production processes have developped into human brain an appetence for holding the leadership. In any fields.
Why do sportsmen and women (fighting for the leadership is unisex) have to take drugs ? 
Why are the golden boys so fascinating (or at least used to be until a near past) ?
Why do the daily-used objects have to be always newer, smarter, brighter ?
Why does the official art aknowledged by institutions have to be always more amazing and overwhelming (Jeff Koons in Versailles castel, For the Love of God by Damien Hirst...) ?
Mechanics and the culture of the champion.

"they imposed it upon us
a constant competition
more more again and always more
faster faster and even faster
always faster" (Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, artist)

Speed, mechanical reproduction of the motion and not thinking. Running as the paradigm of the contemporary market economy, aiming at being the best. The body used as a pure mechanical force involved in the mass production and trained to even overpass this mass : running for the hypermass.

If the Emergency Room artists often run, they ideologically do it backwards. This run is an other type of run. It is not a race, against time, against others, against our own unaccomplishment. It is a social gathering, taking the opportunity of talking about various subjects, and incidentally catching the attention of passers-by, tourists, workers, consumers, providential after-fame and hyperproductive runners...
They countercurrent run, rather slowly, in the middle of the city, preferably from a symbolical place to an other one. These places are usually used as symbols for the other type of run, the one which goes onwards (but without knowing where, just on). London, subject of the talk :  "What is the role of the artist ?", from London stockexchange to Deutsch Bank, sponsor of the Frieze Art Fair. Copenhagen, talk : "Why is critic missing ?", from the King's new place (Kongens Nytorv) to the Parliament.

This run is a counter-apathy run. Checking we are still alive, in our limbs and in our minds.