‘Why should one understand anything? Should we not just experience it?’ – Julian Dashper (p. 75)
1. Memento Mori
In September 2010, the first anniversary of the death of New Zealand artist Julian Daspher was marked in New York by exhibition of a single artwork by him.
Entitled ‘Future Call’, a telephone was installed in MINUS SPACE, a Brooklyn art gallery, and then periodically phoned from New Zealand, nominally ‘ahead’, time-wise, from much of the world — but the call was left ringing and unanswered.
‘Future Call’ was usually undertaken by the artist himself, but in the Brooklyn show the call was now placed by the artist’s wife, Marie Shannon.
What had been a trenchant commentary on the nature of time, presence and distance, New Zealand art in a global environment, and technology and mediation, ‘Future Call’ now became a poignant reminder of the absence of the artist from his artwork.1
And this was Dashper’s great skill: he made artworks that often had an existence apart from their embodiment. They were frequently works that could be carried anywhere, a nomad’s art gallery, curated in the mind, and changing with circumstance.
This is not writing