Bad Ideas
Artistic Endeavors
But Can You Dance to It?
Cult of the Dead Cow
Literary Genius
Making Money
No Laughing Matter
On-Line 'Zines
Science Fiction
register | bbs | search | rss | faq | about
meet up | add to del.icio.us | digg it

Almost Invisible Art

by Martin Knutsen


What is Almost Invisible Art (AIA)? As usual, it is easiest to approach such a question by defining what it is *not*, what it seeks to avoid, but to start out with a positive approach , I think that the best current definition is:

"AIA is Art made for the sake of its own, without any explanation or excuses. AIA does not seek publicity and is not made for the sake of money. AIA is experiemental in its approach, and seeks to approach complexity in its own terms. AIA is about Action, not Re-Action, the Self of the Artist having Control over the production, working with hirself and others. AIA seeks to play with the idea of Invisibility. AIA is fiercly independent, yet designed for interaction with other performers. AIA is a form of Art available to everyone, working in a no budget/low budget setting just as well as with ample funds."

When we originally developed the ideas of AIA as we have employed it, we had a very clear political setting, mainly to approach and emulate the complexity structures of the mediasociety, and turn these around into minatures of poetry and moments of passion, leaving traces behind for others to find so as to create resonances in the everyday lives of other individuals. Also, it was our clear aim to find a method wich could be used by the common man as a tool to perform Actions of Self, something completely autonomous and without any dependency on any given channel of expression (As opposed to mail-art). Many of our actions have been termed "blessings", as they have been *aimed* at creating a set of resonances in the recievers end. Other structures have been "open", just poetry for poetrys own sake. (When we use the Word poetry, we should perhaps employ "poetics" instead. To us any structure wich involves Words and/or symbols in a poetic manner, i.e. resonant manner, can be called poetry.) The underlying idea has been to make objects wich in their own right can be termed art-objects, and wich also exist as parts in greater complex patterns, with all the possibilities of poetic interplay this creates employed. The Idea of the almost invisible art has been working for many years now, mostly through Mail-Art channels but also in the hearts and minds of endless numbers of lonely weirdoes working quietly in their own world, for themselves. Origami BallistiKa is in such a way not original at all, and does not claim so. If we can have any claim to originality, it must be in the performance of our personal constructs, and the way we approach complexity and the deeper concepts of poetry and Action, as well as in the shere bulk of our actions. However, we have yet to find much text concerning the basic theory of this Artform, (except for the endlessly selfreferential debate concerning MailArt) and so this is an attempt to set down our thoughts on the subject, without any scholarly references. The aim of this little text, and the number of possible plans detailed below, is not to extol our own virtues, but to function as a primer for others, both now and in the future, so as to give some ideas concerning how one can break out of the various games run by others and conduct ones own games, hidden from the critical and moneyrun eye of the Art-establishment. Some of the readers may be put off by our continual reference to semi-esoteric terms and constructions. For us, the ritualistic aspect of a performance designed purely for the performance sake, is an important one, and has a lot to do with the political reasons for our personal actions, also it has proven a useful tool of navigation and construction when approaching the problems of complexity. Mans poetic talent seems to us to be in many ways linked, both negatively and positively, to mans "arche-typical" structures of understanding and classification of phenomena,and for us these stuctures of tought have been useful tools in our attempts to create a sense of wonder and weirdness, both in ourselves and others. Also, as we have experienced, sometimes when an individual is resigned to surfing the fluxes and is tuned to synchronicity, the strangest occurences happen and you end the night in places you never knew existed, talking to people who seem quite alien to the everyday-people of work and death, and this is to us one of the main beneficient results of this practice. Some places in the belowsketched plans we use the Word "ritualize". Practically, this means in its easiest aspect that the performer concentrates totally upon the performance, and conducts this in a set of steps. Personally, we have worked a bit with visualization, and have found that doing this during performances gives at least us a kick, and also gives the performances a sense of weirdness, because you are obviously not there completely, rather seeing a chinese dragon on the wall behind you or a circle of light around the object being worked on. This is a technical ability wich individuals can learn, and has nothing to do with neither demons nor dragons. This is, again, in no way a requisite in the performance of AIA, just a suggestion to enhance the experience of the performer.Much of our personal style has been designed during travelling, as can be easily seen by its minimalism, and this pattern-analyzing approach to reality-as-experienced-now has served us well this far. This does not mean that the aspiring Invisible must take these terms to heart, the only rule of the Almost Invisible is Do Not Get Caught. Any object you glue/nail/leave behind *as a piece of Art*, without any explanation, can be termed Almost Invisible, even if its 29 foot tall and made of concrete. (One beautiful example from here in Norway is the guy who made concrete statues of birds, and put them up in the concrete passages of the underground here in Oslo) For us, Origami BallistiKa, several esoteric ideas have been crucial in our development, chiefly the sigilization theory developed by A.O. Spare and his concept of an Alphabet of Desire, as well as Brion Gysins/W.S.Burroughs cutup practices, but the concept of Almost Invisible Art works just as well without any of these practical structures being employed.

AIA is, as the definition states, aimed at being a form of Art available to anyone. Our personal kit at the moment consists of a pair of scissors, a few chosen books, some superglue, some paint and a heap of discarded photos. Additional excellent tools are xeroxmachines, fax machines, a decent computer with a layout program, musical equipment, carstereos with speakers (amazingly cheap!), slidemachines, super8-cameras, cameras (Polaroids are excellent), scalpels, friends in bands, internetconnection, a telephonebook, and a citymap. *The importance of AIA lies not in the product, but in the Deployment and in the complexity of the total of Actions.* When using the term Almost Invisible Deployment (AID)we mean to imply a broad range of possibilities. As described in plans below, much of what we have been doing has been focused on the Act of linking private Art in totally invisible places with street actions and/or cooperation projects with others as an enhancement to their performances/Actions. For totally invisible places, we would recommend such sites as abandoned industrial areas, highwaywastelands, hidden rooftopacesses to buildings, and of course for those of you lucky enough to live in the countryside, any private walking spot you may fancy. For the almost invisible ones, we personally prefer busstops and libraries, wastebins and lampposts, posterwalls and toilets, shopdoors and plain walls, anywhere really where the object does not stick out and announce its presence, but there to be found by any individual with a sufficiently developed observational faculty. Most of the below sketched plans are focused around a central object/item/place. This is because, to us, we feel that it is good to have a central focus in the performance as it is performed, it gives the space of the performance a natural linkage in our perception as we Act so to say. Its relevance to the actual project does not need to be established at all, the important thing to us is that it gives us a good edge as a resonant in the Action. This is, of course, not a necessity, many action of AIA can be thought off without any theme/focus at all. Vitally central in our idea of AIA is the concept of the gift, and that of the abandonment of the structure after its performance. AIA is an attempt at passive communication, of the leaving behind of traces, hints, puzzles, constructs and plans, as we see it, designed to puzzle more than to communicate directly, to activate strangers observational faculty. If one individual walks away puzzled, we deem that performance a sucess. This approach has its serious side as well, in that at the core of the system of Control lies the concept of Stability and Predictability, puzzlement in itself is a state not deemed necessary in the ideal state of perpetual structures and so any act causing such a state is by necessity subversive, even if not political.

AIA does not, as a rule, seek to promote itself, and when it does reveal something, it should always be just a part of the construct. AIA is a challenge to the observer,not a salespitch, it is safe within its own Action and does not need advertisement nor hype, rather it seeks to achieve for the Art-worker the satisfaction of Quality. The only full "revelation" available sits with the performer(s), and can be documented in text at hirs wish. (We have sometimes concluded our campaigns with a internet documentation.) In the plan sketches below, we use the term "Document & Exhibit" quite often. This is intended as an idea for further spinoffs on the original idea, such as thaking pictures of the performances, then either gluing these to the walls where the original performance was, half a year later, or cutting these pictures up and using them as basis for new installation developing the theme of the previous one in a new direction, etc. Or, for those of you who work inside "Serious Art" <snort>, it can mean that you exhibit at gallery, etc. (Personally, we had great satisfaction from opening our own gallery in Trondheim, Norway, running on a Almost Invisible policy of No Pay, No Percentage and minimalistic PR, the documentation being the point. It cost us 15000 norwegian kroner to get hold of a 5x2.5 meter large old flowershop on the outskirts of town, wich we split in five. Recommended, there is something personal in owning land, even more so exhibiting your own Art on your own terms in such a place.) Also, in the plans, it states "make installation" or "Decorate at will". These terms have been left open on purpose, so as not to leave any bindings on the practitioner. *This is where the ART comes down*. Personally, we use constructs of multilayered miniatures, combinations of text and photo and symbols montaged on top of each other, in reference to each other, so that each piece is a complex structure in its own right, wich again is a part of, wich again is etc. This gives us much satisfaction, but it lies in the essence of AIA that all forms are allowed & encouraged. Endless possibilities.The plansketches below are mostly ideas we have *not* performed in the Origami BallistiKa framework, and are not in any way meant to be blueprints to be followed with slavish attention. Our wish has been to sketch out, in writing, some of the variations of the basic themes of AIA that we can imagine at the given point of time, and wich we would like to see performed. Most of these sketches are designed for the individual Art-Worker, some are designed at groups of people. The possibilities for complexity and unexpected poetry becomes enormous when you consider the potential of a network of Active Cooperating Individuals, we have decided to leave such possibilities largely to the minds of the practitioner.

This then, is how we see the basic concepts of Almost Invisible Art. To us, it is a game of games, but also a serious attempt to create complex and vital Art-Works in this time where Art more and more seems to have become a aesthetic exercise and not a tool for sublime communication. Below is given the results of a couple of evenings brain-storming on possible projects to perform, in addition we refer to the Origami BallistiKa CV wich should be on the net at the time that this information has become available. We have deliberately focused on clear structured campaigns and left the jocular/Discordian ones aside, since for once we try to present this subject in a orderly and structured fashion (Feel free to work in as much cakeeating and mickeymouseworshipping as you please). Also, we have not gone into the theory of the meme text, or of the possibilities of the internet in the creation of backup reference, or the concept of the symbol as a personal poetic reference, both selfmade and historical, or the concept of associative peakmoments as employed by J.R.R. Tolkien in his literary theory, nor have we approached the various possibilities of the permutation-techniques employed by par example Z'Evs in his rythmic works. All these, and many other ideas and thoughtstructures, are easily worked into the main body of AIA, as is most other artforms as well. Our humble hopes with this small text is to provide inspiration to all of those out there who feel alienated from the Art-establishment of vernisages and canapès, and who feel an urge to develop their own sense of Art. Also, it is an attempt to present the ideas we have been working with for the last years in a coherent and constructive form. We have on purpose minimalized the idea of MailArt in the below sketches, since this concept has been fully explored by practitioners of much greater skill than ours, for those of you interested in this aspect of AIA we reccomend the excellent magazine El Djarida <<publ.details here>> as well as several internetbased foras. MailArts great failing, as far as we see it, is that it is aimed internally, as a process of communication only within the performing circles, and not aimed outwards except in documentation-exhibitions wich then becomes part of the established gallery-regime. AIA is not limited to any one form of communication, rather it seeks to employ many forms of communication at the same time, in synergic actions. AIA is not aimed at the pleasing of friends and family, rather it is an open communication, like a radiobroadcast sent out into the night with no PR whatsoever. AIA is that wich it is, and that is all, it is not dependent on a receptor but only on the activity of the performer and hirs consistency (or lack of such) in action.Also, and perhaps most importantly, AIA is a dangerous project, because it refuses to be a part of the society of Control and so can be used against it. In the system of control, any conscious Action is dangerous to the status quo, as it is unpredictable and so contains a possibility for instigating unstability in the hearts and minds of the receptors.


**Plan #1**

Take three objects. Decorate at will. Place them secret places you know you will pass several times a week/day/month/year. Continual decoration? At end of preplanned time, destroy objects? Send objects to people, either chosen or random? Document objects at end of time, use documentation in street Art exhibition?


Take a city map. Throw darts at it, when arrow hits mark spot, until sufficient numbers are marked. Draw lines, make symbol, perform actions at places marked. Use lines drawn to decide progress. Develop gamemechanics? Roll dice to decide wich "path" to follow? Set up of predesigned minirituals/performances, drawn at random? Set up of alternates inside preplanned settings, decided at random?


Organize a metal/drum jam for your friends. Brew Beer? Bonfire. Premade musical background? Banners? Pyrotechnics? Actions/performances? Strange invitations? Or just relaxed campfire?


Make/Find a prototype object. (Carstereo/Dead TV's/Roadsigns/whatever). Collect huge amounts of these objects. Put them up, in groups, decorated at will, in a set of places. Make photocopy-posters w/image of object, hail it like a emperor, a boon to society. Put these up in strange places on a the-bigger-the-better scale. Invisible places. Strange propaganda? Three step pr-campaign? Make essays extoling the virtues of object, put up as street-papers (Large font!!)? Make cultstructure for a joke?

**Plan #5**

Find some old abandoned industry structure, a house/a crane/ a truckwreckand decorate continously with a gradual development in mind. (If you live by the sea, grounded boatwrecks are beautiful). Use object as point of reference for other structures. Have private poetryreadings/concerts/jams at object, document and exhibit? Exhibitions in surrounding area, centered on object? Have nighttime fires for yourself, make it a object of resonance in your head. Make slides, project on walls at night for set intervals from carbased projector. Make resonant musical score.


Find a specific commercial/buerocratic building. (Preferrably one you can enter at will). Make it center of preplanned decoration. Find out its hierarchy, make worship cult of bossman/department heads. Kim-il-Sung style. Make colourful posters extoling his/hers virtue. Put these up in areas close to other employees homes. Reverse Action afterwards, worship of dustbin emptier? Try to get an interview in beforehand, get voice-documentation, loop and use as backdrop for carradio installation? Contact media anonymously? Set up net-pages? (Church of Bob style...)


Enter a local highbrow-place. Give everybody flowers/presents/kisses. Make small cryptic callingcards, attach/hand out these, fictional adress and organization. Combine with exhibition in surrounding streetscape using recurrent theme from card. (Symbol/Logo).

Do the same thing to Gothix/punk/artcrowd places. Several times. Best done at first in cities not your own? Establish rep. for strangeness. Military precision maneuvers, using several people in coordinated Action at several places at once? Document and exhibit. Closeupphotos of recipients faces?


Find a local park/Greenspace. Decorate at will, using consistent and internally logical theme/symbology, in at least three layers of synergic complexity. Use this theme as resonance for installations elsewhere, as public blessings. Troublespots on highway? Bad areas?. Make objects/gifts/ and hand out?


Make a giant dinner. Give away to strangers. Hand engraved plates? Calling card stuck in rice? Gifts accompanying? Make the handing out a performance, using slideprojectors/ banners/musical installations in many layers? Or simple and stripped?


Make x numbers of presents. Go to local buerocratic/finacial powercenter. Give presents away to people in suits. (The point here is the attempt.) Combine with installation. Make little stickers with slogans, like "Buerocrats are our friends", "We love stockbrokers", etc. put them up as many places in building as possible. Document, streetexhibit. Decorate presents? Ritualize presents? Film the giving away?


Make set of slogans. Make Logo. Create fictional organization. Make stickers, flyers, posters. Bomb chosen areas. Send loopfaxes to random industrial numbers with slogans.


Find a given number of archetypical symbols. Make sets of poetic keywordreferences, link specific pieces of litterature to each symbol, link certain images/colours. Make installations, using these symbolic constructs as keypoints, with resonances linking them. Use as streetart. Make places for each symbol (Powerspots) totally invisible?


Put up little pictures of your parents everywhere.


Do *not* cut off your right ear.


Tape several sendings of CNN/BBC/NRK or whatever major newschannel you are fed by. Loop and splice. Add words, use cutups. Replay publicly, on walls of almost invisible place. Few invitations, combine with drum jam and party? Play on a wall in nightlife part of city, with crewe going round handing out weird propaganda, "Love your dishwasher" style.


Record a nuisance radiohit. Make adaption, fuck around. Record a brilliant radiohit. Make adaption fuck around. Make tapes of these of varying length. Get five soundsources together dirtcheap (Carstereoes? Run on carbatteries?) Mount in not easily reached places in some public area, set on continous play. Leave them there to die. (Countermuzak). Combine with mini-symbols? **Plan17**

Rent a empty store for a month. Run continual exhibitions, without opening the doors. Show slides/films on window at nighttime, hold parties with masks, set up posters and so on, but closed all the time. Play Loud music for three minutes intervals.Then shut it, disappear.


Throw dart at map of countryside. Go there. Decorate area. Have party? (Rent a minibus, blindfold passengers, have all set in advance?). Document, exhibit. Alternatively, document at moment of finished decoration and various stages of detoriation.


FInd a demonstration you agree with. Create a construction, a set of performances to be done both before, during and after the demonstration. Get really angry, taste that feeling of the group getting ready to fight/stand. Chant strange slogans. Get together group of people? Hand out weird leaflets? Conduct results-oriented rituals? (Sigilizations?) AIm at "Combined-arms" feeling, smoothly running military op?


Find a political figure. Ridicule it. Make flyers/stickers/posters. Leave Flyers in postboxes on long midnight walks. Cover walls with posters. Busstops etc. Photomanipulations. Concentrate on areas. Be elegant and sarcastic, or cryptic and weird. Combine image of politician with text from advertisements of sanitary products? Household items?


Build a small cottage/lavvo/campsite deep in the middle of nowhere. Decorate surrounding area. Perform privately. Ritualize spots of interest. Arrange parties. Document and exhibit parties. Mystical cycle celebrations? Elemental performances? Exhibit greenspaceimages in desolated cityareas?


Send predesignated number of objects through snailmail. Draw recipients randomly (Phonebook? Bingomethod?) or choose. Exhibit same number of objects with relevance to the ones sent out, incorporate the recipients name in these. Send these objects to the same list, but not to the corresponding names afterwards? Send documentation of the exhibition to the list? Keep on sending weird objects to list? No return adress, of course. Get photographs of recipients? Exhibit these? (Dangerous territory).


There is no plan #23.


Find a free theatre troupe. Mystify them. Decorate their venues, make posters for their performances, make fake interviews with critics who applaud them. Send weird fanmail. Make fictional posters for fictional plays? Escalate weirdness. End with manifesto.


Make a set of soundrecordings. Assign each recording a word/wordstructure. Perform poetry using sounds. Send taperecordings with explanation/without explanation to strangers. Make streetmusicinstallations. Make cutups of recorded material, reenact process using cutups. Burn CDs, leave them behind in record stores.


Find a musical project you know the music off. During concert, perform sets of installations given predesignated songs/pieces. Decorate area around venue. Have premade sets of poems associated to music published in weird places on the net, glued to walls etc. Hand out objects to audience? Make special editiontapes/CDs with objects, send to members of Band/Fanclub?

**Plan #27**

Find a specific tree. Honour it in all possible ways. Photograph it, use photographs ininstallation as common theme. Find out all available data on its history and its botanical species. Use these as base for cutup, glue them up in the area around. Piss on the tree, at any given opportunity, "My water unto thee".


Travel to a strange city. Enter a gallery opening, after having decorated the area. Put small objects in the various artworks/catalogues/drinks. Clap your hands loudly, cover your face with whipped cream. Leave.


Make a lot of small objects/poems/textcutups. Go to library/Bookshops. Glue these objects inside books that you yourself own using superglue. Make referential structure with bookcutups in matching numbers.


Decorate x numbers of matchboxes, the more the better. Leave them anonymously in one of your favourite bars, with small note asking if these can be handed out to audience instead of the regular advertising ones.


These, then, are some of the ideas we have chunked down as examples to illustrate what we mean by Almost Invisible Art. Some of these ideas are partly stolen, most are genuine and new.

Most of these are what we call loosely for campaigns, i.e. sets of Actions going over a long span of time as opposed to one single act of creation as is usual in most traditional creative Arts. Of course, AIA does not demand such an approach, the making of a nice object and the act of leaving it behind or giving it away to a stranger is in itself a full and perfect embodyment of our idea of AIA, and can bring much more Joy than the slaving away over a big-scale masterplan. Essential in the actual performance of any act of AIA, as we see it, is a certain sense of fluidity in the creative process, and while some may wish to follow their gameplans slavishly we highly recommend that, in addition to the construction of highly detailed plans the Art-Worker spend some time with spontaneous creativity, just getting some materials together and creating structures just off the top of the head. Its useful in such cases to have a few central objects, such as books to cut from or photos with a particular history, but this is in no way a requisite, some of the best things we have done have been with found objects and spontaneously composed fragments of poetry influenced by the atmosphere of the place of creation. This, in itself, is one of the best things of AIA, it can be made on the spot, in as basic or complicated form as the artist wants, and can be deployed in any wich way the fancy of the moment takes hir. Another aspect of AIA is its basic positivity, it is, as we see it a very good answer to the resignation wich seems to have influenced so much of the Art-scene after the surge of the sixties. In a way, AIA can be said to finally give Art back to the Artist, being that wich it is and no more.

As stated in the beginning of the text, our influences have been many, and we in no way claim this to be any unique or revolutionary development of Art as we know it, but it is our hope that individuals, and especially young individuals who have not yet been brainwashed by the statusmachine of the established Art-Scene, may find these notes refreshing and a trigger for Action. If we can make one singel individual get off their ass and out in the streets, we have succesfully accomplished our Work.

Do not disappoint us, please.

To the best of our knowledge, the text on this page may be freely reproduced and distributed.
If you have any questions about this, please check out our Copyright Policy.


totse.com certificate signatures
About | Advertise | Bad Ideas | Community | Contact Us | Copyright Policy | Drugs | Ego | Erotica
FAQ | Fringe | Link to totse.com | Search | Society | Submissions | Technology
Hot Topics
My little project.
making a portfolio
Dabbling in Inks.
Classes that A&D Recommends
i made totse art
What do you think?
pivot fight
Logo please
Sponsored Links
Ads presented by the
AdBrite Ad Network