Having worked with Olivia Plender on a book about a whole body of work, titled Rise Early, Be Industrious (2016), I am delighted to be working with her again. This time we’re thinking through what it may mean to build a website for a practice as diverse, but at the same time very consistent, as hers. We’ll be working with designers APFEL, thus bringing other people I’ve had the pleasure of engaging with in the past in another configuration. Currently we’re considering structures, access and how to work with projects that are less visual, and where conversation and collaboration are what ‘happens’. We’re also thinking about how to build an index that in and of itself is an embodiment of how Olivia works as an artist with a research-based approach – where everything is connected to longer arcs of interest that alternatively converge and diverge – and the inclusion of a variety of mediums, without medium becoming a focus in itself.
For a recent conversation with Olivia, you can listen to this podcast, titled Learning to Speak Sense (2016), in which which she talks about ‘productivity and care, about suffragettes and museums, and about adolescence and schools. She looks at groups without charismatic leaders, embodied education, and the possibility of transforming errors in honest discussions. And she tells us about women gaining authority through voice training – the material aspect of speech –, and about how, sometimes unconsciously, we adopt a voice for which we feel socially rewarded’. This quote (from Radio MACBA) gives a flavour of the breadth of her practice, and the challenge of documenting and gathering its diversity.
Olivia Plender, Learning to Speak Sense, sound piece with hand painted instructions, installation view, Ar/Ge Kunst, Bolzano (2015)