I have spent the summer pondering the French philosopher, Quentin Meillassoux. For weeks I have wondered whether it is possible to grasp the meaning of a statement about something that exists prior to any form of human relationship to the world and what this means for art. After many hazy days lost in thought, I am still puzzled. So armed with this realisation and a John Baldessari and Botkier leather tote bag (still available from those lovely people at the Independent Curators International shop at a snip for $300), I’m ready to take on the new season of the artworld aided only by a fistful of the editor’s cash and a need to find the answer.
Photography is something that surely has to be about that which cannot exist completely outside human thought. But more significantly it looks nice on the walls of my East London Haggerston pad. So having missed Photo Shanghai, I’m determined to take the Easyjet from Luton Airport to Amsterdam for the Unseen Photo Fair. For there is a key item on my wish-list: Lisa Oppenheim’s subtle explorations of phenomenology at Juliette Jongma’s stand. Just to confuse the relations between the living and the inert I plan on first pausing at the city’s legendary Grey Area Coffee Shop for a massive prerolled stonker.
From Amsterdam I’m planning on boarding the Intercity train to Berlin where I want to set free that which pre-existed humans. Birds! Yes, highlighting my PETA credentials through the activist action of taking off all my clothes, I shall take ownership the 40 live birds that Marc Camille Chaimowicz will possibly be featuring in his solo show at Galerie Neu. I’m then going to deliver the birds to collector Bert Kreuk, to see if we can make some cash from the re-sale of the animals – having been described by some as an “art-flipper”, if anyone can, it’s Bert. I’ll also be slipping Bert another item on my wishlist - a copy of Georgina Adam’s fine book Big Bucks: The Explosion of the Art Market as a primer of where it all went right for collectors of his ilk.
Flush with cash from Bert’s resale of the birds, I’ll be hoping to buy an elephant in order to ponder if contemporary art is the gateway between the human and non-human. Luckily Bharti Kher’s lifesize sculpture of the noble beast is coming under the hammer at Christie’s New York sale of works from the collection of Shumita and Arani Bose, on 17 September. From there it’s straight over to EXPO Chicago on BlackJet with Bharti’s work in tow where, after refuelling at dienstag abend’s ‘bar’, I’m going to crash the 4pm panel on Friday 19 September ‘Collecting: Challenges in a New World’ and ceremoniously present the slain elephant to the audience as a metaphor for a vision of human consciousness cohabiting with swarming animals.
Finally with the audience’s cries of acclaim still ringing in my ears I shall fly to the Taipei Biennial. For here in this Nicolas Bourriaud-curated show might lie all the answers to my restless questions about the unbearable lightness of being. Armed with humility and the last of the editor’s cash I shall invite Nicolas to Taipei’s oldest tea selling shop, Lin Mao Sen Tea Co where together we will take gongfu and ponder the great immateriality.
Online exclusive first published 16 September 2014