- Across UK
John Baldessari’s The Pencil Story is an attempt to convey the artist’s thought process, recognised today as crucial to conceptual art. Baldessari describes his instinct to sharpen a neglected pencil, a found object, and attempts to reason or justify this, stating: ‘I think that it has something to do with art’. The apt title choice for Robert Good’s debut podcast series summarises the lack of a singular agreed definition of what art is and how it can only be alluded to. In this series, the Cambridge-based artist makes a bid to unearth universal questions as to what makes art important and what stimulates experimental creativity.
Good, a text-based artist and founder of ArtLanguageLocation has explored the links between text and aesthetics since 2010. Toeing the line between organised and obsessively arranged, his works include collections of found objects, words, or inanimate beings, addressing the theme of sequencing within language and the art world. Naturally, in this series, we are likely to hear Good’s own signature as a coherent voice that attempts to explain and rationalise his subject’s accounts with his own linguistic touch.
This podcast is an extension of Good’s curiosity and his ability to comprehensively understand and rationalize the creative process. Each podcast is structured around a 35-minute conversation with a half-way tea break. In that time, the basic introductions are covered to make way for chipper debate and conversation. Good almost takes a position of council: able to coherently describe what is presented to him, question what the artist is feeling, and articulate their response. Most poignantly, when talking to Lizz Brady on her art and its links to mental health, the stigmatic topic is wholesomely concluded with Good remarking: ‘The joy of life is not overlooked, but often underplayed in art; maybe that is art’s role, to think about the challenging side of life’.
Continuing on with the theme of found objects and words, a personal highlight is one of the first interviews with artist BA Zanditon. BA rummages around in a box to pull out incomplete documented works or objects before analysing herself. She describes her appreciation for rock and concrete fragments often disregarded by others. This relates to her need to touch, like a psychological reaction to the world around her. Good offers a few definitions and phrases as an eruditious gift to complement BA’s concrete infatuation. Particularly tickling is his offering of the adjective ‘cementitious’ which describes something as ‘containing cement’.
Encompassing a diversity of practices other than contemporary art, the podcast lays out a spectrum of artists within the musical and theatrical realms. Minimal overlap and comparison between the disciplines mean that as listeners we ourselves can deduce the parallels and decide what footing we give to the earnest interpretations that Good lays out. Art often acts as a gateway into conversations that are nothing to do with artworks themselves; this series does just that. For many, this approach might make a great escape from overtly meta, self-assured rhetoric that can often be associated with the arts. The podcast can appeal to those perhaps looking for inspiration, or perhaps ‘outsiders’ looking in, yearning for a better grasp or even an introduction to the subject or thinking behind it.
To paraphrase musician and interviewee Beric Livingstone, artists need to trust their process, even if ideas are not immediately realised. In this case, what’s clear is that potential listeners must consider their trust in the architect, Robert Good, and his modus operandi.
Something To Do With Art podcast is hosted on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/robertgood_art