Things you do everyday you won’t believe were considered great art.

Art, like shit, happens. Sometimes, to create a masterpiece you don’t have to do nothing extraordinary. You just must keep doing what you do everyday. Here are several examples of ordinary daily acts turned into art.


What you do.

Maybe you like hiking to the mountains to have a nervous breakdown if you see a double rainbow. Because you love rainbows and cats above everything.

What the artist did.

In 1968, Richard Long walked into the woods. But first, he drew a straight line on a map of Exmoor, England. And he followed it, without deviating an inch. He called his walk a ten mile invisible sculpture.
In 1971, Hamish Fulton just hiked taking the Pilgrims’ Way, the route from Winchester in Hampshire, England, to the shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury in Kent. To make it more interesting, he did it without sleeping. So he could hallucinate for free, who knows. And that’s just one of the 300 art walks he has made.

Richard Long – A line made by walking England. Walking a straight 10 mile line forward and back.

“In November 1968 Richard Long made a work on Exmoor by walking for ten miles in a straight line on a compass bearing of 290 degrees. The work was documented by the relevant section of the one-inch Ordnance Survey map on which the line of the walk was drawn in pencil, with the inscription below: ‘A Ten Mile Walk England 1968’ (fig.1). It is a significant work in Long’s career because of its unprecedented scale (a ten mile invisible ‘sculpture’) and also on account of the unique environment in which he chose to make it.”

Hamish Fulton – The Pilgrims’ Way 1971.

“To date, he has undertaken more than 300 such “art walks”, lasting anything from one day to two months. He has hiked across Europe from the Mediterranean coast to the English Channel, wandered by himself into the Beartooth Mountains in Montana, and been dropped by Super Cub aeroplane a month’s trek from civilisation in the wilderness of the Wrangell-St Elias National Park in Alaska.
… he walked all 120 miles of the Pilgrim’s Way without sleep in midwinter: “I started to hallucinate,” he says. “A small blue bag on the path suddenly turned into a turkey.”
He has even walked backwards for 10 kilometres while wearing a blindfold. “You need another person to help you so that you don’t get run over or fall into a hole,” he says, “but it is fantastic. I like to introduce the notion of ideas into walking, expanding the idea of walking, instead of walking simply as a recreational pursuit.”


What you do.

According to all the sexist philosophers out there, that’s all of them, if you like to talk you are probably a woman. But everyone likes to have a talk…

What the artist did.

In 1968, Ian Wilson chatted with people on the street, at exhibition openings and on their homes. He called that: “oral communication as an art form”. Later, he decided to be more formal and he extended invitations informing where he would be and when. Surprisingly, the people showed up so they could talk about ‘The Known and Unknown’, Plato’s ‘The Parmenides”, and “Time”. Ian refused to record his talks.

Ian Wilson – Oral Communication, december 12 1970.

“Initially, Wilsons verbal work was of an informal nature, taking place on the street, at random exhibition openings or in people’s homes. It was in this manner that he presented his work ‘Time’: the word in its spoken form. A deeper discussion on the subject of ‘time’ also emerged. In 1969, Wilson shifted his field of exploration to the medium itself – ‘oral communication as art form’ – and in 1970 was invited to present ‘Oral Communication’ in Europe.
Over the course of the 1970s, his discussions took on a more formal character, and his interests shifted towards ‘The Known and Unknown’, based on Plato’s ‘The Parmenides’. In contrast to a ‘performance’, during a discussion the audience can actively take part in realising the concept of ‘oral communication’. Wilson does not want the discussion to be recorded either on film or audio.
From 1970 onwards, his discussions were announced using cards, which served as invitations informing the addressee of where Wilson would be and when.”

Posting inspirational short messages.

What you do

You just posted a quote from somebody about something in your profile. It seems so clever and enlightening. Read it again. Yeah, it really doesn’t mean anything.

What the artist did.

Jenny Holzer pasted broadsheets on buildings, walls and fences in Manhattan. Yes, pasted, not posted, because it was 1977. No Internet, if you can imagine that. In those pieces of paper you could read things like “abuse of power comes as no surprise’ and ‘there is a fine line between information and propaganda’. That’s two of her Truisms, a series of phrases very similar from those which people post in their profiles.

Jenny Holzer – Truism.

“Holzer moved to New York in 1977. Her first public works, Truisms (1977–9), appeared in the form of anonymous broadsheets pasted on buildings, walls and fences in and around Manhattan. Commercially printed in cool, bold italics, numerous one-line statements such as ‘Abuse of power comes as no surprise’ and ‘There is a fine line between information and propaganda’, were meant to be provocative and elicit public debate”.


Sending a postcard.

What you do

Well, even today you can buy a postcard. Although sending it via mail it seems like having a chat via telegram. But ecards it’s right now the most profiting sector in our economy (no it’s not, that’s another free bad joke for you).
The problem with sending a postcard it’s what you have to write on the blank space. You end up using phrases that combine the words: great, fun, beautiful, city, miss, you, hope, you, here.

What the artist did.

On Kawara sent one postcard each day between 1968 and 1979. The two friends who received them should be so annoyed. In the postcards they only could read the time the artist got up that day and the message “I got up”, to clarify the facts. After several years, they might as well hoped to get the message “I went to sleep, forever”.

On Kawara – I got up.

Considered the most personal and intimate of his works, I GOT UP is part of a continuous piece produced by On Kawara between 1968 and 1979 in which each day the artist sent two different friends or colleagues a picture postcard, each stamped with the exact time he arose that day and the addresses of both sender and recipient.
Moreover, Kawara’s postcards do not record his waking up but his “getting up,” with its ambiguous conflation of carnal and existential (as opposed to not getting up) implications.


Checking the time

What you do

Back in the ancient age, people wore strange machines called watches. And behold, they lifted their wrist up to their eyes to check the time. Now, your phone tells you the time with a sensual voice while massaging your unnameable body parts. Well, at least it should be like that.

What the artist did.

Adrian Piper checked the time a lot. In 30 minutes he dialed a telephone local time service every 10 seconds. Not only that, he recorded the voice telling you what time is and presented it like his work of art.

Adrian Piper – Seriation #1.

A soundwork that consists in 30 minutes of me dialing the local time and recording the operator’s recorded voice announcing what time it is at that moment, in 10-second intervals. Of course the time the operator says it is at that moment is not the time it is at the moment the listener is hearing it.

Sharing files on your computer.

What you do.

You, pirate. Yes, they know that you share anything that isn’t yours: music, movies, video games, programs, state secrets. And they know where you live.

What the artist did.

During three years, Eva and Franco Mattes shared everything on their personal computer. Even their bank statements, private email and… embarrassing duckface selfies, probably. Yes, they did the contrary as the rest, they share what it was theirs. Like you are doing right now, involuntarily, thanks to the beloved NSA. God bless them.

Eva y Franco Mattes – Life Sharing.

In January 2001 we started sharing our personal computer through our website. Everything was visible: texts, photos, music, videos, software, operating system, bank statements and even our private email. People could take anything they wanted, including the system itself, since we were using only free software. It was not a normal website, you were entering the computer in our apartment, seeing everything live. It was a sort of endurance performance that lasted 3 years, 24/7.


Recording your night out at the club.

What you do.

You go out and wonder, why this immortal night of endless fun should be lost forever like tears under a hot shower? So you record everything with your phone and post it in your profile. And now your friends and your boss can see that you are a pathetic loser with a drinking problem.

What the artist did.

Gillian Wearing went out to the Birmingham nightclub circuit and recorded what was going out there. But she didn’t appear in the 40 minute video. Instead, she presented the piece as a study of the mating rituals of the human young primates of England. Well, sort of.

Gillian Wearing – Broad Street.

Broad Street (2001) is a forty-minute color video examining the nightclub circuit in her hometown of Birmingham. Composed of five separate projections of different sizes and variable heights, the work is frenetic and disorienting, like its subject. In recording the rituals of courtship and seduction, performed under the pretense of dancing, Wearing examines the ways in which individuals distinguish themselves within a crowd.



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