Happy Detective

method: Researching while sharing your paranoia (Bedroom Storytelling)

Staging the death of the artist in the room as an introduction for sharing the process of application procedure for PhD in practice in Belgium.

Document of the Paranoid, Practical PhD Guide is noted by Femke Snelting and shared within a.pass researchers.

The story is staged later for a public museum tour guide and published as a project documentation on the website of Q21 residency, Museum Quartier Vienna


To deny that which is, and explore that which is not

I invited you to gather in my room, let’s call it Secret room, because it’s a mystery what we going to talk about. I can only promise to give you an experience impossible to reproduce again in any other moment in time. The mystery already started and you are on the location of the potential crime scene for the investigation case. The story is now situated in certain space.

Incident for rising action of the story:

Shortly after our arrival at the PAF, I discovered the text written on a mirror. It was a call for help of an artist left powerless when facing today’s art system.:

I hear them talk about the death of art, the death of art is the death of the artist, someone wants to kill me, help

Description of the characters:
I, Adrijana, will be in the following story an eccentric, amateur detective. In mystery crime stories, the detective may be a private investigator, an elderly widow or a young girl, that generally has nothing material to gain from solving the crime. This fits so well with the role to artists expected from the perspective of society.

Therefore when I Adrijana saw this message, she was guided only by a personal motivation and a desire to help. She is mostly trying to figure out how to continue doing art. She is occupied researching about the examples of different artistic practices that are found in the periphery of art history, usually dismissed on its importance for their legendary and anecdotal character.

The artist was asking for help. I had to find who would have motivation and profit of the death of art, who are them who talk about it and this will take me closer to find out who is this artist and what was he or she doing that put him or her in danger?

I thought it is kinda strange. Who announces the death of the art if not the artist herself or himself? Who are these others? The institution, curators, critics, academics, collectors, dealers, the public. People with jobs?

Also, I have t say, I had moments of doubting to take part, reading this message as one of varied strategies of myth making common to the art field, that has as its sole intention the speculation of value.

Chapter 1 MEMORY

Looking more carefully around the room, I have found myself surrounded with evidences.

I opened a drawer and found a poster for deep space experience from the company called Mnemosyl, who intends to redesign human experience. Mnemosyl is regulating identity by setting standards. This is a poster for a collective guided session with an inhaling products, design human experience and this is based on a limited repertoire.

Nothing can be more against art then this. Art needs conflicting and undesirable memories for poetic dimension and political articulation of thought and artists need to stand up for resistance to these normative strategies! I suspect that our artist was in contact with a group of artist who organised for articulating piracy, distribution and collaboration networks for exchanges and collective experiences so that imagination can be found in reality, which multiplies life to produce memories.


Next two evidences that there is a crime against art have a sculptural character: Milky way chocolate bar and two yellow bubble gums.

Milky way chocolate bar comes from the stack of them exhibited on a pedestal, marked with the label NO and titled One on One, which means that only one person is invited to enter the room and interacts with the artwork. Tricky! This led me to the conclusion that maybe the artist doesn’t follow the protocols.
Distracted by those bubble gums that are not chewed are more of a sculpture.

Is artist happy enough?

This chewing gum is taken from the vending machine that measure happiness. Marked with 1 for miserable until 10 for ecstatic. I assume that the artist was visiting this show and choose these two gums in the level of happiness, depending on the mood of that day. Somebody needed ten years of investigation into happiness to design this test machine and I couldn’t find which gum artist chose and weather it means that artist was happy or not.

Was the artist happy to be an artist because artist must love what he or she does? The level of happiness could help me to measure a success of the artist? And if artist is not professionally successful does it mean that she doesn’t love to do art? Or he or she just didn’t have luck.

In some languages, like in my language or German being happy and being lucky are expressed in one word. In English synonyms for happy as an adjective characterised by good fortune are lucky, fortunate and providential.

My artistic way of thinking, which is in this story also a detective ability led me to conclusion that the death of the art is death of the belief in luck. Luck is a quality shared by random, unintended or unpredictable events or a luck is the cause of events of chance and hazard. Luckiness is also a success attained as a result of chance.

If there is a belief in good or bad luck, there is a belief in irrational influences on it, and there is a practice based on such a belief – a superstition!

I couldn’t find out how happy artist was, but I have found the Hater Blocker Contact Lenses on the sink, that have protective charms. They resemble nazars (from the Arabic word for sight or seeing) and are used against the ‘evil eye’. And evil is in the eyes of The Other. That’s why I am wearing those lenses now looking at you.

Now we are sure that the artist was training his mind for happiness or luck and trying to protect herself or himself from the evil.

Chapter 3 POWER

In stories, there are only three believable motives to commit a crime of killing another person: greed, survival and revenge. In art world these three translates into: creating value, branding and institutionalising. They all fall under one – power!

There is a category of sociopath/psychopath/religious/fanatics types. You would think that the artist-genius is killed long time ago, but it seams we can’t exclude the social construction of monster-person from the story.

So, … Money! There is some evidences found, that imitate the money but not speculate about the value:

Art is a visual allegory, a metaphor, a ‘vision.’ It is a proposition, not an expression of truth. As a money is a metaphor for value.

There is a stamp translated from Portuguese to English: How heavy is a cloud? A proposal for incursion to an unknown and mysterious territory. A confrontation with a world about which there are no references only fragments and silenced narratives.

Blue as the sky, blue horizon, blue as the see, blue screen, blue light, blue bird, blue as a stuck of sheets of a blue paper.

You can take one of those from the exhibition and become a collector.

This sand is speculating on the blue. Barriers are manmade manifestations of political decisions made about territories, which are often drawn with little regard for natural and ethical boundaries. As identity is.

As clouds in trousers, artists are trying to regulate boundless artistic freedom, give structure to work, set of rules, listings, manifestos. Is it a seduction, just a feeling of being in control? Or a key for success? Or just a consequence of precarious existence, lacking in predictability, job security, material or psychological welfare. Did artists first branded themselves then became precariat or the precariat was branded? And it’s all for fun! And we can shred the money.

This entrance bracelet is an evidence from the artist’s birthday party. If an artist makes a birthday party, a celebration in his name as an artist, we don’t have to see the artwork to believe that the artist is an artist.

Postmodern, politically conscious artist when branded can’t escape the fact that whenever something is labeled as art it looses its dynamic and the political dimension that motivated it on the first place?

Bring no questions to a meeting with strangers! Everyday this artist had to struggle against the heavy hand of the art market, the end of art history, a confusion of values, the strategies and language of art-professionals.

In art there has to be seriousness and wit, aesthetic and political engagement, inventive resistance to architecture as monumentality and other symbols of the State. All this is part of artist’s uncompromising commitment.

This no bull premium taurine is an evidence for the strategy of re-appropriation, cannibalisation of a dominant structure by eating it, digesting it and excreting it in an entirely new form.


To deny that which is, and explore that which is not.

Artist has been all the time within ourselves alone.

We are born in times of indifference with the obligation of becoming successful.

the end of the introduction

(the story references objects/texts from the artworks/exhibitions, in order of appearance: Mladen Stilinović’s sentence/work/statement, 1977; Mnemosyl poster by Aurore Zachayus, Milky Way chocolate from the work One on One by Hans Peter Feldmann, from the exhibition Ways of Seeing, Villa Empain, Brussels, 2017; two yellow bubble gums from the work Measure of Happiness, from the exhibition How happy are you, by Stefan Sagmeister, MAK Vienna, winter 2015; contact lenses Evil Eye Hater Blocker, by Yngve Holen, bought in the Berlin Biennale, 2016; a coin One danae, by Vadim Zakharov, picked up from the Russian Pavilion and a bill Sorry picked from the exhibition Paradiso Lussemburgo by Filip Markiewicz, in Venice Biennale, 2013; a stamp How heavy is a cloud? from the same name exhibition of Giselle Beiguelman, bought in artshop of Galpão Videobrasil, São Paulo, 2016; blue sand from the installation Speculating on the Blue, by Flaka Haliti taken from the Kosovo Pavilion at the 56th Venice biennial; blue paper from the take-away work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, from the exhibition To Expose, to Show, to Demonstrate, to Inform, to Offer, MUMOK, Vienna, 2016; shredded money, a work by Christian Bors & Marius Ritiu, bought in Art Brussels 2015; entrance bracelet for Rens Cool’s Birthday Bash; a badge from Jimmie Durham’s exhibition A Matter of Life and Death and Singing” in MHKA, Antwerp, 2012; a can from No bUll PRemiUm TAURiNe, by Pieterjan Ginckels, from the exhibition “Eating Each Other” in ExtraCity, Antwerp – got it for my birthday, 2017; take-away poster from the exhibition Od Danas Do Sjutra, at the Cavalo Gallery, Rio de Janeiro, 2017.)


from the Bedroom Storytelling at Performing Arts Forum, 2017.