Artspace

et al.

et al.

simultaneous invalidations: second attempt

1 - 22 February 2001

 

Simultaneous Invalidations: Second Attempt is literally a second attempt, a reworking of a previous installation. While Simultaneous Invalidations was credited to L. Budd et al, Simultaneous Invalidations, Second Attempt is attributed simply to et al. (an abbreviation of the Latin for “and others”), a non-name, a placeholder. L. Budd is but one of the known aliases of the artist, and occasionally collaborators. So the new pseudonym is not there to fool anyone; in fact it’s a signature move. Tropes and materials, concerns and methods, too, are continuous with previous work.

Looking into et al’s genealogy, we encounter such European progenitors as (the perhaps also budd-ed) Rrose Selavy. Duchamp’s occupation of this feminine persona questioned gender and its role within the institution of art. Similar questions have previously been raised by Budd’s use of other names. Their trace remains in the ungendered “et al”. While it cannot claim to be a critique in itself, this name marks the possibility of one, and perhaps the continued need for one.

The unique attribution makes a paradoxical request, asking that the show be considered singular, rather than a sample or an instalment, just another work by so and so. By not specifying an author, the work is made general rather than personal. It gains a weight, a scope of address, transcending a single viewpoint, a conventionally conceived individual subjectivity. We are challenged to see this work as an experience that stands apart from, as well as embedded in, the consistencies, the career that has made it possible in this institutional space.

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