It is December again, the days are cold and short but also dry, and I have been wandering the streets of Bergen today with my girl and youngest son collecting empty plastic bottles, our contribution to a better planet, which made us 23 NOK! While we were walking we were talking the baby sleeping and Hilde asked me: Look at those green overgrown stairs up to the house for elderly people and nobody seems to have taken the path for ages, would you call that an urban readymade, Ronnie? Uncertain I quickly answered: Definitely not! But are not all objects readymades the moment I classify them as such in all consious subjectivity? And that again made me think if these disposed street bottles with 1 NOK refund are maybe temporary readymades in the sense that they are especially thrown away for us to be found and noticed and cashed to consider them as ... or buy a...
Did it not all start for Marcel Duchamp with the fact that he fixed a wheel upside down on a chair in his atelier out of boredom? To give it a push once in a while to see and hear the optical illusions by looking through the turning spokes while he was stuck creating a painting? I do not think his first intention was to put it into an exhibition for the sake of it anyway but eventually more a punk statement after the discussion (confusion?) he provoked with his actual paintings at that time not being clearly futurist or cubist but instead a mixture of both. After all purism and fundamentalism are of all human sorts and seasons.
I am not sure if you know but at one of the readymade sites you can actually order by post little plastic signs with the following text: Urban Ready Made – Location – Artist – Date – the Bernini Foundation – website address. Idea is that you can hang it near the classified object and so take it of it's anonimity and loudly pronounce it is a piece of art. I have two of them at home and lying around waiting for my ego to choose sides.
It is December again for all of us and while walking through Sletten and Slettebakken, excuse me for my language but those names make Dutch people actually smile or some even laugh or upset (ha, first I wrote: blush!) any time of the year, I also begin again and can not escape to notice the expanding amount of decorations installed behind practically half of every home window. Repetitive endless Bethlehem stars and plastic candle stairs giving insufficient light to the cold slippery dark streets of the hottest town districts. I do not know about other passersby but they do not give me any extra warmth. I immediately picture in my head a special KIWI 1000 supermarket offer: Readymade Holy Coziness for only 49 NOK! Which means we are almost halfway in getting it ourselves soon, aren't we, my son.
And then look at the trees in their now half dead or sleepy front gardens... Not only the pine but any urban bush available is forced to participate by being cruelly electrified in chains of light. Suddenly those actually hardly ever looked upon sad bushes are uprated to real Manifests of seasonal Beauty. Could they be called, in the spirit of the bottles, December URM's ? Are they not temporary artworks and masterpieces? Or does this only occur when some person or me starts to collect them in an artistic series of photographs, giving it a sophisticated or unexplainable title and exhibiting it in a gallery for the selected few, preferably in an exotic other country? I guess the answer is 'no they are not either way' but how can I be sure. The first time I came upon the term urban readymades I liked it too, I do admit. It kind of suited the odd objects or circumstances I once in a while encounter in the streets. Those sometimes humorous city sculptures which seem to be left by time or neglect, stupidity and ignorance and make me stop for a while and (re) consider other things as important. My girl got me on an overgrown footpath and so I am more than willing to follow Jeremy's quest to search for another suitable term if a term is actually needed. So, what about VULFA? Very Urban Lost & Found Art! Or am I too unstable urban now?
I wanted to include an image I photographed of the timbered pinetree the landlord of the estate I live on so kindly forced into my view when I smoke my cigarette on the balcony while having a break from writing this contribution at the kitchen table of our still starless house but decided not to because i do not want to see a christmastree while i visit this site.