PICA’s Resource Room Residency program begins with Alex Felton, who will work in and around the library collection, exploring notions of productivity, studio practice, and artistic (non-) meaning.

“I’ve been invited to haunt PICA for a few months, to practice a sort of omnipresence. I’ll be employed as a walking, talking referent—available for consultation, but with little expertise. It’s an opportunity to use the Resource Room for a focused investigation on nothing in particular. Anthony Huberman promotes the notion that ‘art seeks to compromise our understanding of the world.’ Curiosity is the ‘currency of art,’ so an artwork succeeds only so long as it can evade our attempts at understanding. Art proposes hypotheses and the mind wanders.”

“A library can be approached in this same way: at first it seems to house only empirical evidence and full-stop Facts, but it slowly reveals itself as the perfect place for an associative, presumptuous stumble through its pages. A misconception of the facts may well lead to innovation; nothing more to be gained than a sense of world history and culture through osmosis. This retreat from a rational purpose is what qualifies art-making as a political act. In Albert Cossery’s The Colors of Infamy, a student apologizes to her mentor for taking up his valuable time, a concept he refutes: ‘The only valuable time, my dear Nahed, is the time we use for reflection. This is one of the inconvenient truths that the slave dealers despise.’”

Art is life (so said Marx) and life is all about the dutiful consumption of information and—for the artist-as-Wi-Fi-hunter—the extension of production time. Josef Strau practiced a scenester version of this, protracting the discussion of art past the point of making anything except new friends. Western economies are moving away from manufacturing and toward income based on intelligence. Protecting knowledge and controlling the ports of dissemination are becoming far more valuable than a product; the container itself is the content. Writing in Wire, Kenneth Goldsmith echoes this: ‘the ways in which culture is distributed become profoundly more intriguing as a cultural artifact itself.’ We are constantly re-distributing these cultural artifacts as reflections of ourselves. The simple display of resources becomes a viable medium.”

About the Resource Room Residencies
PICA’s Resource Room Residency (RRR) program was initiated in 2012 in order to provide time, space, and resources for artists whose practices live at the intersection of research and art. The program encourages a consideration of libraries, archives, collections, and collecting, but can find outlets in many forms and disciplines. RRRs are provided with a modest stipend and unlimited access to our archive of books, media, and ephemera for three month engagements. They intersect with PICA’s members and the community at large through salon discussions, screenings, public performances, and printed materials. The 2012 RRRs are Alex Felton, Claudia Meza, and Lisa Radon.