Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Alex Martinis Roe

Free Associations

Free Associations

Alex Martinis Roe. Free Associations, 2010.

Five white chalkboards were installed along a long gallery wall and were written on by participants using white chalk. The parameters for this encounter were controlled using a booking system. As people indicated their interest in experiencing the piece, the gallery generated new booking times. In order for an activation of the work to take place, there had to be five people booked in to write on the boards for twenty minutes at a time. Each person who booked in agreed to use one of the white chalkboards to write continuously in white chalk on the board for the twenty-minute duration of their allocated session. The instruction for the writing was to write continuously whatever came to mind, similar to the psychoanalytic parameter undertaken by the analysand to “freely associate." The white chalk on the white board was guaranteed to be private as whatever was written was illegible. The encounters took place in a public gallery, which generated a tension between the private act of writing one’s thoughts and the knowledge of the presence of other spectators. The fact that five people participated at any one time generated a kind of group. This enacted a collectivity, which, rather than demanding sameness in order to participate, demanded the simultaneous difference of each participants thoughts.


relational, free association, group, psychoanalysis, participation, performance, collectivity, access, booking, writing, chalkboards, encounters, difference

Encounters: Conversation in PracticeFree AssociationsAnti-Vertical Demonstration Expanded WorkshopMegaphone for Anti-Vertical DemonstrationAffirmations: The SceneDiagram of AffidamentoStenotype (detail)


Berlin/Melbourne, Berlin/Victoria


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