Erik Sanner Home Visual Other About

lookin' for tasks

matthew and i had a little memory-based disagreement this evening. luckily the evidence was at hand.

back in the day, i'm guessing late ninety-six, he started teaching me about the situationists, and we talked a lot about art that wasn't art, or living in a way that was where art is meant to take you. i think. this is back in the day, after all.

anyway, the situationists used to do these wanders, i think they were called. very much about games, and living an aware life, and making the absurd apparent (i think).

matthew and i used to engage in some activities which seem overly mundane but became ritualistic, i think that was another part of it, we were already trying to do things, not just hang out and talk, but take silly or strange pictures, etc. anyway, i think, again this is all memory, as a result of both years of messing around with paint, drawing, collage, photography and video, and then the introduction of the situationalists, we decided to invent a "game" which was sort of a participatory art piece. most of this was probably his instigation.

it was called, eventually, lookin' for cats. it involved cards, and i forget what else. i do remember that if we saw a cat we all had to race back to home base (my apartment).

what sparked the memory, though, was our discussion of the art project aspect of our kisokaido journey. defining tasks to be completed each day is something we're both excited about, for a number of reasons. i like the "feels-like-work-yet-fun-and-absurd" aspect. matthew likes the "we're-not-necessarily-creating-a-product-or-engaged-in-artifact-making" feeling, rather the
sensation that it's something we're engaged in purely to enrich our experience (and perhaps other people's lives as well, particularly if we interact with them, or document and share the tasks). one task he proposed for consideration is helping someone every day. i think this is already done as a matter of course in some cultures. doesn't feel like art, but definitely feels like something we both want to do, so yes, this is a way we're very very likely to go (not excluding anything or committing to anything yet). as a high school student in china for a few weeks, out running one morning with two friends, we helped push a stone-laden cart up a long hill, i don't know how long it would have taken those guys otherwise, that's maybe my most enduring (and favorite) memory from that whole trip.

anyway the disagreement. i remembered my favorite rule of the game (probably it was my rule right?). oh yes, in addition to cards and wandering, a clown nose was involved. i forget the rules involving the clown nose (wouldn't surprise me if i do have this notated somewhere, but want to go to sleep rather than hunt for it). anyway, whoever drew a certain card, or whatever happened that triggered the role-status or change of situation, one of the players was allowed to pose the other players as he wished and take a picture. (matthew had no memory of this part of the game. well, brother, hope this reminds you.)

saw this sign.

when it was my turn to wield the camera, i asked matthew and michie to strike the pose illustrated in the sign.

this task-definition is really feeling like something we're both going to get very involved in. it's the big question of everything, really. what exactly is it that you want to do? right now? every day? what do you want to do?

matthew even said asking for suggestions might be an interesting approach. anything you want us to do, taking less than one minute, once per day, while we walk from kyoto to tokyo? all ideas welcome, to be seized or deemed not-something-we-want-to-do. definitely open, though.

if you can figure out a way to relate it to hiroshige or woodblock prints, that's a bonus.