by Lena Pozdnyakova
The Spreadsheeting method, implemented during the 2023 School of Commons (SoC) year, positions itself as a care-driven instrument distributed through Spam emails to the SoC 2023 cohort. This methodology navigates the tension between institutional/commercialized and process-driven/utilitarian spaces, inviting engagement with Google-embedded practical tools. This method explores relates the research on the evolving relationship between artworks and documents that has been subject to experimentation since the 1960s and 1970s. Focused on process-driven, conceptual works, often ephemeral and produced in an archival mode, these practices challenge the institutional separation of artworks and documents within the art world. Key questions emerge around creation, routines, and documentation in knowledge production and contemporary art, exploring the impact of document-based formats on artwork aesthetics, authorship, and viewer/reader perception. The format of Spreadsheeting art, constrained yet playful, acts as an archival device for the “There, there” working group’s reflections on care, maintenance, and awareness during times of crisis.
Additionally, Spreadsheeting art playfully incorporates themes explored by the “There, there” working group within their listening space. Serving as a supplement to the sonic-based components of bi-weekly emails, each document includes visual material and playlist links to uncover themes from various angles. The method encourages playful audience engagement, framing the presentation as a “hack” of the habitual system to evoke a different kind of attention. Ultimately, Spreadsheeting art transforms into an archival device, aligning with contemplations on care, maintenance, and awareness during crises.
The method finds inspiration in the works of artists like Bana Haffar, Lena Pozdnyakova, and Aisha Jandosova, who employ Google spreadsheets for creative showcases, work displays, and research. Examples include Haffar’s music releases, Pozdnyakova’s exploration of daily life embodiment, and Jandosova’s transformation of letters into symmetrical patterns. These precedents illustrate the potential of spreadsheet-based work in bridging the gap between artistic expression and documentation.