This is an artist that works socially and politically and involve people directly in his production. It´s interesting and inspiring for me to see how he works.
Perhaps the most ambitious project that Jeremy Deller has undertaken to date, with more than ten institutions involved as sponsors and/or hosts, and participants projected in the thousands over a nine month period, the goal of “It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq” is modest: to encourage conversation about our world. Conversations about the war and the country of Iraq are few and far between in the United States. Outside of the hyperbole of the media and the rising death counts in the papers, Americans find it difficult to intellectually connect with a country to which we are paradoxically and inextricably tied. As we enter the seventh year of our conflict in Iraq, many Americans outside of the Army have never met an Iraqi citizen or had contact with a soldier who has served time in Iraq. “It Is What It Is” is a project that attempts to redress this information gap, albeit in a small way, and in an unconventional context. It is a project that strives to present a broad, informational, nonpartisan perspective of Iraq through firsthand encounters between the general public and those who have significant scholarly research to impart, military experiences to describe, and heritage to share.
Bringing together the multifaceted perspectives of a diverse group of people from places that are geographically, economically, and politically distanced is a task that is well suited to the environment of an art gallery. One of the most basic challenges of contemporary art practice is to forge a connection between art and what is going on around us every day, but while few people would deny that art comes out of life, there is still great skepticism surrounding the relevance of art to how we actually live. “It Is What It Is” is one in a long line of projects on precisely this subject that Jeremy Deller has dreamed up over the past decade. The goal of Deller’s work has been to both examine and celebrate elements of the everyday—from our musical obsessions to our local customs, to the struggles that we might encounter in our workplace for fair compensation, or in the street for our political beliefs. His method is to look at these aspects of life as art—and not to take these aspects and make art out of them. This is a crucial distinction. “It Is What It Is” highlights straightforward conversation—as is— supporting, appreciating, and respecting it in a manner that indicates to us that in its richness, it can achieve the level of art.
“It Is What It Is” puts a premium on discussion that is open-ended. Skipping easy categories of “for” or “against,” the invited conversationalists bring to the table their wide experiences in order to broadly describe political and social issues that affect those in Iraq as well as those outside. These conversations might be a bit messy, which is good, as black-and-white readings of this situation have been of little use up to now. “It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq” does not promise to solve the problems between the U.S. and Iraq, but it posits that there is beauty that approaches art in human contact and intellectual exchange—that is, in simply talking amongst ourselves.
—Laura Hoptman, Amy Mackie, and Nato Thompson
In October I´m joining an international dance festival in Brest, France, with Jennifer, dancer from Carte Blanche. We did Half.Way.Through a dance piece shown during Try In House at Carte Blanche. It was made to a short movie and now we are reworking it to fit to the stage and the dance festival.
This is the sketches I have started to do. Last time I used ropes on stage, now we are looking for different options. The same ideas, with different expression. There are many technical challenges to meet, so we will see what we will end up with.