An Open Letter to United Motion from Display Distribute
针对“匿名计划1”的补充提案，我们认为有必要在2016年12月会议记录的基础上，进一步以书面形式详述我方关于联合公告“帆布包计划”的意见。“联合 United”与“分销 Distributed”两个词之间的对应意味极为巧妙，而我们的确有意图将帆布包计划的“展示 Display”部分进一步带入“动议 Motion”的范畴，使该计划的形式、呈现方式及其偶尔引发的景观效应，与艺术生产主体间的关系变得更为一致。
Dear United Motion,
Based upon the proceedings of the meeting a fortnight prior, we would like to further express in writing our intention to expand on the aforementioned ‘tote bag motion’. The irony of this ‘聯合 United’ and ‘分銷 Distributed’ production should not be lost, and it is indeed part of our intention to push the initial ‘展示 Display’ of United Motion’s opening intervention further into the realm of ‘Motion’, whereby the relations between the subjects of artistic production will find greater parity with the degree and manner of the work’s form, display and, sometimes, spectacle.
Our understanding of the ‘motion’ you reference with slogan-bearing tote bags distributed freely to art publics begs a slightly different practical trajectory from the 公告 (the former of which must, in the specificity of a request for change, outline a larger path, either historically or speculatively, of action). And it is only by such action that we may move beyond the surface of t-shirt philosophy into the processes of ‘motion’, whereby the very relations which we question can begin to be reconfigured.
The first 匿名計畫 project involving industrially made bags and t-shirts purchased from online retail giant Taobao in order to lambast injustices within the art industry was, statedly, like an ‘opening’ for the exhibition to follow. Indeed, this splash was perhaps enough to catch our attention, but it is to a greater degree the notation of several oversights which spark our engagement. Our proposal, therefore, is simple, and is a continuation of your initial motion, bearing this certain manner of critique as a form of constructive solidarity.
We second your motion. Our request is not only a reconsideration of the form of these schwag goods in relation to the propaganda beset them, but the documentation of various modes of their production—the very contradictions and value assessments that intersect within the starry configurations of the museum, artist, intern and gift shop. These minor inventories shall be made transparent as a small publication to be integrated with each bag. Just as Taobao and the megamarket give, there will be an illusion of choice. What we stress, however, is the transparency behind production rather than only the vibrancy of the finished product. Such documentation of detail may appear banal, but we consider it an accounting crucial to a real process of decision making, and therefore a question of participation, something of which the art world is actually extremely adept at delimiting.
While we are certainly far from resolving the enormous disparities and exploitations within artistic labour, what we can do is consider the motion itself as an experiment and attempt towards addressing them beyond the initial blowing of a whistle. As whistleblowers, we have a desire to expose that which is hidden or overlooked. But as artists implicated in varying relationships with the very institutions which we critique, we also have the possibility (and responsibility) to use the materials before us, the data and/or the narrated sharing of experience to subvert signs and create new signifying relationships from within that very system in which we are enmeshed and dependent. This is an ambition of every art organisation seeking better conditions for the cultivation of art, and it is present within every play of identity politics within art. From our faceless, nomadic bearings here, we still demand the need to tie the call to arms of a hashtag to the material witness of the hands which put it into production. We must gain a better understanding of our (as one no longer merely dwells in the individual artist studio) means of production in order to improve the conditions by which we can negotiate them.
Again, we second your motion. This is merely the first in a series of compositions.