In “Notation 2008,” exhibited at Woburn Square Studios in London, UK, we encounter an installation that embodies Kjartan Abel’s interrogation of the signifying practices within the art world. This piece, consisting of a receipt machine on a plinth, engages the participant in a performative act of generating randomly created music scores, each press of a button yielding a unique composition.
This installation transcends mere artistic expression; it becomes a critical discourse on the commodification of creativity, especially poignant in the context of music. Abel’s analytical approach to the interpretation of art finds resonance in the way “Notation 2008” deconstructs the idea of music as a marketable commodity. The receipt machine, a mundane object of commerce, becomes a tool for artistic production, challenging traditional notions of value and authorship in art.
By transforming the ephemeral nature of musical creation into a printed, tangible commodity, the artwork invites a reflection on the semiotics of value in the art world. It probes the complex relationship between artistic creation and its subsequent transformation into an object of economic exchange. This process, facilitated by a button, a computer, and software, is emblematic of the contemporary art-making processes where technology plays a pivotal role.
Abel’s emphasis on the postmodern condition of the art object is evident in the way “Notation 2008” blurs the boundaries between the artistic and the commercial. The installation becomes a site where the receipt – typically a token of transaction – is recontextualized as a bearer of artistic value, questioning the metrics by which we gauge the worth of creative output.
Moreover, the random generation of music scores speaks to the element of chance and the undermining of the traditional artist’s role, themes prevalent in Abel’s critique of the modernist canon. It is a visual and participatory representation of how artistic expression, particularly in the digital age, is increasingly subject to the forces of market dynamics.
In essence, “Notation 2008” serves not just as an art piece but as a critical commentary on the art world’s mechanisms of commodifying creativity. It reflects Abel’s interest in exploring the intersections of art, technology, and commerce, and how these domains shape our understanding of value and meaning within the realm of contemporary art.
Materials used: Receipt machine, Plinth, Button, Computer, Software.
Exhibited at “Notation 2008″, Woburn Square Studios, London, UK.