This interview appeared originally in the bi-montly newspaper produced by galerie Jan Mot
A TELEPHONE INTERVIEW WITH SETH SIEGELAUB (AMSTERDAM) BY RAIMUNDAS MALASAUSKAS (VILNIUS) ON FEBRUARY 23, 2004.
Raimundas Malasauskas: I would like to trace the route of the "Art is to change what you expect from it" sentence that was used as a slogan of Paul Maenz Gallery. Paul said it originally came from you. Could you please tell me about the possible implications, use and the impact of this idea?
Seth Siegelaub: Art has to do with change; I said that, right? At least Paul Maenz says that I said that. Behind this is the idea of not having a preconceived idea or putting something into question. I think it may have had to do with a type of strategy for making art, but also for looking at art, I suppose. It also could be related, for example, to the "shock" value of a work of art; i.e. provoking one to think about things that one would normally not think about as art, or as "legitimate" art, or as "acceptable" art. It was maybe clearer then than it is now, because art at that time, before us, was a relatively narrowly-defined domain of activity. You were a painter or sculptor or something like that whose craft or activity was clearly defined, whether you were good or bad, or rich or poor. Our generation was really involved in changing the expectations about the borders of these very limited ideas. Our activity was very different than any art movement "ism" that came before us. Earlier, what was changed was the content within the accepted genre of painting or sculpture; a new image, new materials, larger scale or size, the process, or things like this. In the period of the 1960s people were thinking of changing the whole sphere of art; the limits, boundaries and the nature of the genre itself. This quotation probably had another feel or flavor to it in 1965 or 1968, whenever I said this, when this was just emerging than today, when one would take this type of project for granted; today it could perhaps be formalized into being some kind of "art strategy". Today, one has become accostumed to having expectations for this type of "surprise"; one takes for granted that this idea is an important element in a strategy for making art today, but at that time you really couldn't say that.
14-march Yesterday we spent from 18.00 to 3am in the streets, at last alternative, Spontaneous demonstrations took place criticizing the government’s cynical and Fascist manipulation of the events. They even changed the TV programme last minute and showed a movie...