Morgan Canavan & K.r.m. Mooney at White Flag Library

Morgan Canavan

“The reason that street style resonates and has become a phenomenon has everything to do with women seeing themselves in other women. The moment that jolt of authenticity is compromised and the trust between the voyeur and the wearer begins to break, the game is over.”

Morgan Canavan
20 February/21 February 2016; 20 February/21 February 2016, 2016
u.v. print and primer on stainless steel
13 x 12 x 3 1/2 inches. 

Protocol (object-oriented programming) 

The trust begins to break, does break, and yet this is where the game begins. An art of interstices, the smallest distance needed for a voyeur and wearer to reappear.

In a small serial arrangement within the White Flag Library,  Morgan Canavan & K.r.m. Mooney sever the object, break it in some basic sense, simultaneously creating a new interface in which unrelated objects begin communicating. An interface, for example, between one another, or between you and I. This unrelenting communication indicates that no matter how immaterial or slight we become, once severed, the distance collapses into an interstice or interface in which we are again speaking, multiplying meanings out of next to nothing.

An act of speaking, an emergence of an idea into an object requires a point at which the two systems or subjects meet and interact – a means for unrelated objects to communicate with one another. It is object-oriented, this interface, integrated into a field of other objects. This object-oriented interface can sort any object with comparable protocol without having to know anything about the inner nature of the class (except that at least two of these objects can be compared). We could call this the act of exhibition, where the object emerges into a field of other objects. We know nothing about their inner nature other than that they can then be compared. 

The reason the work resonates has everything to do with objects seeing themselves in other objects. In the act of looking, and further, the act of criticism, that jolt of authenticity is compromised and trust begins to break. The insertion of the critic, like a programmer inserting a line of code into a stream, doesn’t simply observe the object, but becomes a part of its interface, altering it until edited out. We are looking for a new game, a game that comes after trust is displaced in which the object and its criticism observe one another equally as interrelated objects speaking. We must return to protocols – the basis of any game.
Morgan Canavan and K.r.m. Mooney installation view

The protocol is a description of:

1.    The messages that are understood by the object. We must ask the object observing the other objects what, exactly, is understood. In this case, we are interrogating the artist-as-object; the institution-as-object; the library-objects; the varied viewers, circulating objects; and the critic-object attempting to witness the messages emerging.

2.    The arguments that these messages may be supplied with. We must parse out the arguments, such as the cut and displaced Market Data, the clarinet nodes and unfunctioning steel grates. Here we regard the argument - the reasons or set of reasons set out with the aim of persuading others that an action or an idea is right or wrong. In other words, we understand the argument embedded within the game is one of criticism. Objects of limited data addressing one another.

3.    The types of results that these messages return. We must ask: What are the objects to the artists, what are they to us? How will they circulate, what results form in and around the work? Does it advance the object’s market data? Does the object transcend or return to the artist? Does the criticism-game, or the words of the critic-voyeur alter the trajectory of the object-institution-artist?

4.    The invariants that are preserved despite modifications to the state of an object. How do the objects transcend our observership? What of the newspaper persists beyond its transfer to a new state as uv print and primer on stainless steel? What of the steel vice mount, objecting to its modifications? How do the clarinet nodes continue communicating? What is the object in-itself and what is it in-relation to a broader field of objects, actions, or ideas?

5.    The exceptional situations that will be required to be handled by clients to the object. The object, perhaps, is always in an exceptional situation – not to say a state of exception, simply that its relationship to us, its clients, will always assume further modification. This act of exception – of taking out, excluding – is the remainder of our interaction with the object. Criticism is most dominantly removal, exclusion, and it is in an exceptional situation that we even speak.

Caravan removes a section of the text, excerpts and jumbles it, edits and rereads it, an interface with uncertain outcomes. We peer through the text, the text peers back.

Motivation (README.txt)

K.r.m. Mooney
Syn I, 2016 (detail)
Steel vice mount, inset clarinet node, silver
Dimensions variable

The game is over and we are wondering what it was all for. We follow the protocol, upload it to github or wiki or whatever. We look to the object itself for answers.

Mooney’s objects are titled with a single prefix, syn, suggesting that they are united – acting, or considered, together. We see them sympathetically like disordered lines of code copied into our notes out of context. Or else they are the leftover hardware of the self, disconnected.

K.r.m. Mooney
Syn I, 2016 (detail)
Steel vice mount, inset clarinet node, silver
Dimensions variable

A design goal of both object and protocol is that they generate verbose, useful error messages including context of where the error occurs. The reason behind this work, clarinet nodes and so on, is to create better text support. Text, in this case, always to create a kind of support, a plinth, to prop up the rest. But we are acting together in an interstitial space between the object and the errors it generates and this itself is a kind of criticism.  

Excerpt from github description of clarinet streaming parser

We assign the object a function in order to  listen, an event in which we are again speaking, multiplying meanings out of listening itself.  To add to the text, to take away - both emit a single argument.

Write - write bytes onto the stream. you don't have to do this all at once. you can keep writing as much as you want.

Close - close the stream. once closed, no more data may be written until it is done processing, which is signaled by the end event. 

We have been writing a kind of code, conditioned by its context. Writing bytes into the stream, attaching metadata to the rippling path of the various objects. Syn, with, considered together. The criticism is inseparable from the moment of its emergence, the method of its circulation and dispersal. The object, despite its arguments otherwise, watches, listens, disperses within this stream, dependent on its ongoing negotiation with the world. Both the object and its criticism always in error.


Written and designed by US English on the occasion of Morgan Canavan & K.R.M. Mooney’s exhibition at White Flag Library, Saint Louis, MO.