Saturday, September 30th, was my first day sitting at my “Office Dialog” desk installation (perhaps I should call it my office hours). I received curator/writer Robert Boyd and Michael Galbreth of the Art Guys.
Robert and I talked about his dual citizenship with Australia and the US. He was born there to American parents and left at 3 years old. He talked about how he wanted an “out” in case things go bad here in the U.S. after Trump’s inauguration. We conversed more deeply about how life can be different there than here and which place could be more life affirming. Certainly, there are benefits of staying here in the US versus what he could get there. However, there are benefits that he can receive in Australia that are not possible in the US such as universal health care and strict gun control laws for example. I tried to get him into a conversation of what would be more fulfilling as a citizen of each place, what sort of duties and obligations would be needed from him in each country and for anyone else. Personal safety and having an established safety net were uppermost in the type of entitlements that would appeal to me I admitted. However, for Robert, being 6ft, 6 inches and the body of a linebacker, a low crime rate and the threat to his personal body integrity is not what he worries about. Our dialog meandered through the intricacies of applying for an Australian passport, to the writers Bruce Chatwin and Robert Hughes, to the artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov as artists making alterative worlds and private, theoretical utopias. This would not be too dissimilar to the heterotopic space of the art installation we sat in that day. I must go back and study their work again. Thanks Robert!
My conversation with Michael Galbreth was through our cell phones. Michael decided that calling him over the phone would be better for the concept of extra-territoriality.
This got very interesting as we touched upon artists prerogatives and whether that can be realized by all peoples and citizens. “Space” as internal space was discussed. Artists seem to do a very good job of defining and creating extra-territorial space. Michael brought up a very good point about citizenship. For all the concepts of and the value of “choice” to realize true citizenship, we actually do not choose which states we become citizens of when we are born. I wonder how long in infancy and childhood that sense of oblivious statehood exists? There are a lot of ideas that we can expand upon. Ever the erudite person, Michael brought up Leibniz’ Nature and Freedom, and the one and many distinctions of metaphysical views; Thomas Paine’s recognition of small change, “It’s the direction not the magnitude” of our intentions that make a difference in society; and Thomas McEvilley’s Shape of Ancient Thought as something to consider when we think about where our ideas of citizenship originate. I invited him to come visit me in person. It made me very pleased that he complimented my idea for the show of an artist trying to define the internal and extraterritorial space to converse about these ideas. But he especially admired that I can have participant’s statements/notes/drawings notarized if it is truthfull. Praise from Cesar!