ASHLEY FRANK* (2018)
*A pseudonym, Ashley Frank is an homage to both Robert Ashley and Joe Frank — in tribute to their lyricism. They have an MFA.
Dominique Blais/the protagonist(s)/The Tyranny Of Distance
An attempt at retelling the show, The Tyranny Of Distance Angers/Los Angeles, as proposed by Dominique Blais, if such an enterprise were to be undertaken, would confront the protagonist (the term that the artist chose to refer to the person(s) activating the piece) with some embedded conceptual concerns.
Emboldened by the new-found sense of agency that the title of protagonist confers, he or she or they would first have to address the suggestion that he or she or they should attempt an exhaustive account of the exhibit. To this effect the protagonist(s) would have to conceptually define the boundaries of such an exhaustivity (see transfinite ontologies and set theory). He or she or they would have to ask what constitutes the Complete Exhibit — as theoretical object — and whether or not this Complete Exhibit should and would be able to contain its representations — that is to say, its preparatory conversations and labor, the no-doubt problematic histories (and economies) that its material components are enmeshed in, the socio-political matrix that culturally conditions their interpretation — and, of course, the Dominique Blais piece itself.
Furthermore, the protagonist would have to attempt to anticipate the critical responses that each piece in the Complete Exhibit could produce, individually, in relation with themselves, and with each other; a combinatorial system for critique that could conceivably take the form of (and be as much fun as) an excel spreadsheet. He/she/they would have to acknowledge — conceptually, but in their totality — the possible, potential and latent interpretations, reactions and commentaries to the exhibition (as a whole or to any of its individual pieces, or to any combination therein), their future dissemination, and the effects of said dissemination in a broader cultural context, in perpetuity and throughout the universe.
Under the logic of attempted exhaustivity, the Complete Exhibit would quickly evolve into a monstrous, proliferating horror imposing itself on the subjectivity(ies) of the protagonist(s), now simply rendered as a body(ies) enacting the needs of the Dominique Blais piece on timescales that would rapidly exceed their biological lifespan. These zombified protagonists — who, it should be noted, would not be paid for the oppressive manner in which their time and bodies would be solicited towards the construction of this edifice — would presumably organize themselves into a monastic order whose mission would be to preserve the tradition of enacting the piece, in perpetuity and throughout the universe.
These fanatic art-worshippers, for whom The Tyranny Of Distance would operate as a majestic firmament from which to read heavenly cues, would probably develop a microcosmic order within their macrocosmic framework. The relation between the former and the latter would possibly be organized around fetishizing the harmonious self-similarity between host, the Complete Exhibit(CE), and symbiont, the Dominique Blais piece(DBP), referred and referent entwined in a dialectical embrace, reflecting The Tyranny of Distance’s conception of translation, one in which the copy(DBP) guarantees the survival of the original(CE). The question of primacy of one over the other would become suspended, clearing the way for an orgiastic fusion of the protagonist(s) body(ies) with both: a triangle of enunciation, interpretation and by-product — the cosmic three-way of unpaid labor.
Ashley Frank MFA
Ashley Frank is the bitch-tongued late night gossip dirtbag of twinning. A.F is the the schizo-unified voice of couples when watching bad TV, ganging up on show contestants, making snap judgments and upholding vague intuitions as delirious truths: you and your best frenemy playing out an interior dialog at six AM on a spoiled sunrise. A.F is the ouin-ouin, look-at-me, petulant child of entitled boredom, the adorably lazy cultural commentator, the human-pet couch companion with whom you’ve crossed the fart threshold. The deranged alcoholic cousin of the art historian; the cowardly scenester of judgyness. Frankly Mr(s) Ashley, you’re a sickening wreck.
Text: Jasmin Blasco.