Working (it) Out with Gillian Dykeman

Episode One | Maryse Larivière: One isn’t a lonely number

Listen to the podcast here!

Making art for an audience of one (4:00)
Talking to imaginary art elders and the appropriation of voice (6:00)
Writing fiction in art practice (10:25) / (26:00)
Parrots and Smoking (11:49)
Small and experimental art spaces (14:54)

Welcome to the first installation of the Artslant podcast series, Working (it) Out. Each interview begins with one question - "Does art require an audience?" - to ask artists about the role of audience in their practice.This question came up in the Fieldwork seminar I took this year in the Masters of Visual Studies program at the University of Toronto. Initially, the answer seemed like a no-brainer "yes" to me, but then, one has to define audience, and further, what counts as art (must it enter discourse to "count"?). If audience is considered in the making of work, where does this consideration enter one's process? If it demands an audience, then what are reasonable demands? Must it serve its audience in some way? How do didactic panels enter into this relationship? I've asked many artists whether art requires an audience, and the answers have been surprising and in many ways offer insight into their feelings about their own work.

Meaning tends to dissipate with repetition: say any noun 20 times in a row and it ceases to correlate with the object it describes; it starts to sound nonsensical, but keep saying it, and the word begins to take on a new texture, to create a pattern, a refrain, and to inhabit deeper meaning. Deleuze and Guattari describe the territorializing phenomenon of birdsong in their chapter "Of The Refrain" from A Thousand Plateaus. Through calling out a repeated sound, rhythm develops, and this rhythm transforms empty air into a territory, a place. Asking the same question at the beginning of every podcast is a heuristic approach, but perhaps patterns will emerge, order from some chaos, and poetry through discussion.

My first guest is Maryse Larivière, a PhD candidate in Art and Visual Culture art at the University of Western Ontario, and was a co-founder of Pavillion Projects in Montreal. Larivière has just had two shows in Toronto simultaneously, one at an experimental artist-run space called 8-11, and another with Kunsteverien, a nomadic gallery project. Larivière's practice includes fictive and experimental writing; often employing conversations between herself and an imaginary interlocutor. These writings typically accompany installations filled with colorful sculptures and repeated motifs of parrots, oversized bird toys, deconstructed furniture on extended legs, textiles, and at times sound. For her show Love, Sex, Dreams (L.S.D.) at 8-11 gallery, she created a book based on a conversation between herself and Jeff K00ns, appropriating a voice she may not have otherwise been able to access. A second book, Where Wild Flowers Grow, was released with her eponymous exhibition with Kunsteverien. Larivière's approach to creating work is wrapped up in the idea of a very specific and well considered audience.