„We Aimed to be Amateurs“, book launch and film screening by Jan G. Lee* (Mirage), presented by Sebastian Cichocki and Łukasz Jastrubczak
The show features a dead person. The medium mumbles in a low, indistinct voice. She chews her fingernails and rumples her dirty apron. She pours hot wax into a dish of water. She spits at a mirror. She claps and strikes herself on the cheek with a deck of cards. The studio audience becomes bored and unable to summon up any enthusiasm for the old-fashioned performance. When the voice of the dead man is finally heard, it sounds weak and artificial.“Ask me about something,” it implores listlessly. The presence of the deceased electrifies the medium, who smiles and sits up. From a sheet of paper, she solemnly reads out in impeccable English questions that strike the audience as peculiar:
“Why are you not a logical positivist?”
“Does nature exist for you?”
“What is your critical standard?”
The dead man answers only the second question. His answer is in the negative.
* Jan G. Lee was born in Lafayette Hills, California, in 1938. An artist and author of literary texts, he is a forester by education. From 1968 to 1971 he conducted artistic actions (“visions”) at Mount Diablo State Park, using natural processes (objects subject to rotting, erosion, melting, crystallization, turning to powder, etc.) and including various species of animals and plants (such as Nesting—birds’ nests made of valuable ores, Poisoning—the production of vials of emerald-colored poison from the extract of Toxicodendron diversilobum, and Layering—drawings made by animals walking over cardboard set up near watering holes). In the mid-1980s, in a rented warehouse on the outskirts of town, he began making detailed models and mock-ups of his hometown of Lafayette Hills, along with dolls depicting its residents.
The book fragments and film screening are brought to you by Sebastian Cichocki and Łukasz Jastrubczak