After all In the beginning there was emotion.

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.


  1. Actually I like the change of font size! It makes the last part of the text seem like an afterthought, a thought after a pause.

    Lost and Found is an interesting alternative. We use "found" a lot, as in found object, found image, found sound, etc. But not lost! What would a "lost sound" sound like, for example? Right off this track, but I really like the line from the Captain Beefheart song "Click Clack" where he says "She's goin' on down to N'Orleans to get herself lost and found."

    For a long time I used the term "discarded" for all the various abandoned and unwanted items I encountered in the streets / in the forest, or wherever else people throw things. The problem with "discarded" is that although the meaning is precise, the word is not elegant. My thesaurus offers these alternatives; dispose of, throw away/out, get rid of, toss out, jettison, scrap, dispense with, cast aside/off, throw on the scrap heap; reject, repudiate, abandon, drop, have done with, shed; informal chuck, dump, ditch, junk, trash, deep-six. I rather like the sound of "deep-six" whatever it means! But can I actually say, for example, "I think I'll deep-six my old roller skates"?

    Maybe another twist on Ron's VULFA proposal would simply be ULA: Urban Lost Art.....

    I've just spent several days in a seminar with my graduate class, where each of them have given a short lecture. One of them today had recently "discovered" Psychogeography, various mapping practices, etc, and is rapidly heading into her own realm of urban instability. And another one was working with the concept of "Semiotic Arousal" which he has explored, among other things, through images of lost & found furry children's toys.

  2. Click Clack is my favorite train songs but the 'Lost and Found thing' actually comes from somewhere else: years and years long and ago two guys (Menno Grootveld and Jan ?) organized monthly an evening in De Waag in Amsterdam and called it 'Lost and Found'. The idea was that anybody could show or present any material up to, I think, 5 minutes long. Video and film, a song or sound, a series of photos or slights or object or story. In principle anything that could entertain the audience. Often the material was lost in the family's attic, on the street or flea market. The guys moderated it a little and had all kinds of equipment like players and projectors available for the material that was brought in on those evenings but had no ideas themselves what the program would actually look like. The evenings were sold out events.

    In 2006/07 I made a version on this idea in Chisinau called 'Give and Take'. I would inform the audience a month ahead about an evening program with a theme. Anybody who contributed to that theme with a poem, song, painting or video or whatever had free entrance and drinks. I started this because I noticed through the years being in the former ussr that people always expected me to come up with something new but that I hardly got something too hear or see in return. Plans now exist to revive these evenings but to call it 'Kefir and Beer'.

    It could be in the spirit of Duchamps to organize an exhibition, where everybody can bring in found and lost self pronounced artworks which are from urban settings but would probably not survive without intervention of the finder. I could actually imagine all participants to the Oslo seminar in May to 'save' one ULA from the street IN REAL and make a small display to visualize what we are actually talking about.

    For the rest I too have been thinking all day long what a lost sound would sound like, ha ha! Interesting thought to start collecting them. In principle one does not have to be scared for a huge collection, only for a long search! Or maybe it is actually more the visual leftover of what once sounded. In that case I think this time I have a picture that covers it somehow.


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