fourth series of interviews for the project How
We Behave of curator Grant Watson takes place in Los Angeles and San
Francisco in February 2013. Together with Frédérique Bergholtz Watson carries
out interview sessions that are structured around a mode of gathering material
from invited guests and California residents from different generations. His project
takes place in the frame of If I Can't Dance's Performance in Residence
programme. The Los Angeles interviews follow a workshop at the Roski School of Fine Arts (UCLA) and are accompanied by artist MPA.
How We Behave departs from an interview
of the same name with Michel Foucault, which appeared in Vanity Fair in
1983. In the interview Foucault talks about living life as a work of
art, which we interpret to mean making an art of your life in practical as
well as philosophical ways. Foucault also talks about this subject in
relation to the gay liberation movement and the fact that people with few pre-given
social structures or codes of behaviour have had to invent a life for
themselves both individually as well as collectively.
commented: “What strikes me is the fact that in our society art has become
something which is related only to objects and not individuals, or to life.
That art is something specialized or done by experts who are artists. But
couldn’t everyone’s life become a work of art? Why should the lamp or the house
be an art object but not the life?” Elsewhere Foucault expresses his
fascination with the idea that bios itself could become the material from which
a work of art is made, and identifies a precedent for this in antiquity. By
using classical texts, Foucault is not suggesting that people repeat the
practices of the past, but rather that they try to invent new forms of
subjectivity which might start from aesthetics.
the time of the Vanity Fair interview, Foucault had been lecturing at the
University of California in Berkeley as visiting professor at regular intervals
since 1975. Here he first met with Hubert Dreyfus and Leo Bersani, who would
become leading Foucault scholars in later years. Foucault was also known to
immerse himself in the gay leather scene and frequent the bath houses of San
sessions took place so far in New York City in May 2012, with a public
presentation at The Kitchen on the 8th of May; in São Paulo in November 2012,
with a presentation in the Nucleus for Subjectivity class of Suely Rolnik at
the University of São Paulo; and in Amsterdam in January 2013 with a
presentation at the Appropriation and Dedication seminar of If I Can't Dance.