Art Pulse Conversation with Marisa Jahn
Joseph del Pesco: Marisa, you open the book with a personal note indicating that there are more individuals and groups than you were able to include. One might think of this kind of information overflow as a byproduct of your research. Some were examples you chose to leave out, but others were stories or histories you either couldn’t fit into the pages, found too late, or couldn’t find enough information about. What are some of these byproducts?
Marisa Jahn: There are a few kinds of individuals and groups whose embedded practices I couldn’t cover.
For one, I didn’t cover projects initiated by institutions that sought to embed artists in non-art contexts. Examples include the artist-in-residency projects in the late 60’s/early 70’s by Xerox Parc in Palo Alto, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and CAVS at MIT. While I think these are all important and fascinating moments in transdisciplinary work, in Byproduct I wanted to focus on projects in which individuals had approached institutions where they sought to embed themselves. What I saw was that when institutions sought to embed individuals in non-art contexts, there was a certain amount of scholarship dedicated to contextualizing these works; this critical attention was lacking in most of the selections I featured. Also, when an individual decides to approach an institution, there is a certain admirable chutzpah or gall involved. It’s this kind of miraculous and laudable got-nothing-to-lose attitude that engenders political and social change…