At first sight, Asha Schechter's work is all about photography and printing. In the early months of 2011, Rivet saw an apartment show curated by Mackenzie Schneider at Loisada. It featured newspaper printing plates as well as the newspapers they produced. These newsprints mostly showcased text-less images, some of which looked like errors from the press.
And it is this moment of error and translation that called Rivet's attention. Schechter's images are culled from sources we all know--Google, Illustrator, etc. it's as if things move indiscriminately from the virtual into the real and vice versa. While this surely points to the visual nature of our everyday culture, Rivet noticed a sensibility for dealing with images (the things represented in Schechter's prints) as tools. He culls them together and uses them in different settings (consider the print plate and the actual newsprint and the webpage where anyone can find the "source") to underscore a reality of the image rather than a particular meaning or an interpretation of the overall composition.
Why is Rivet interested in equipment? Graham Harman, one of the main figures of object-oriented philosophy, coined the term tool-being to re-define the reality of things. For Harman, a thing is never simply an instrument, rather, he suggests that we can never access a thing's being. Humans are inclined to see inanimate entities around them as sheer instruments (as literal objects, subjected to the human subject). We are, he says, surrounded by tool-beings. What we find suggestive in the tool-being is what the notion can do when transferred to the field of art.
Right now, we're thinking about Asha's notion of "deployment." In the meanwhile, Asha is reading some selections from Latour and Harman.
Asha and Rivet are presently conceiving an exhibition for Artium's praxis program (Feb -March 2012). This exhibition in Vitoria (North of Spain), provides the perfect pretext to include Bilbao-based curator Aimar Arriola in our conversation. Not insignificantly, Arriola introduced us to Tetriakov's "Biography of Objects," which has also helped us shape the framework for the Artium exhibit.
Our first four-headed conversation with Aimar and Asha took place at the end of December 2011. Where Rivet and Asha had focused primarily on deployment as a putting-something-dormant-into-action, Aimar brought forward the term "repliegue" (literally, "folding onto itself" and, more figuratively, "withdrawal") as figure of emancipation. These suggestions, though opposite at first sight, were all prompted by Asha's de-contextualized use of stock images and they get to the heart of the question about the agency and autonomy of the image. They also brought us to another yet-to-be-continued conversation about the life-cycle of things, and particularly about the life-cycle of images and their slippery range on the spectrum of specificity and generics. A third conference call will take place shortly before the opening at Artium and will be followed-up by a live conversation at Bilbao's L'Occasione.