Jay Heikes | Daily Rituals




In searching for a way to re-invent the process of making a work or existing as an artist in 2014, I began videotaping myself in the studio and out in the world to see how choreographed my movements had become. Many, many hours were spent scrutinizing these movements and tracking how inspiration turns to contemplation, then fuses into planned action, only to become mulled form; a process I see as typical to any artist trying to bring abstract thought from external space to internal and back out again. So in gathering hundreds of hours of tape and dedicating a year to the rewiring of my working, daily grind, I accidentally arrived at a series of videos representing seven days of the week, through roughly 30-40 minute sound and image collages. Each day of the week adhered to a theme relating to a musical genre: Monday was Goth, Tuesday was Country, Wednesday Tribal, Thursday Electronic, Friday Noise, Saturday Psychedelic, while Sunday broke the mold, diverting into a day I renamed ‘Sickday’, problematizing the week with a sort of emotional intermission and forcing an 8th day I titled ‘New Day’.

Each video had a mind of its own and turned into a tangential, associative field day where I saw it appropriate to appropriate original artists’ work by filming them directly off my computer screen and mixing in copyrighted music as background, creating a contemporary soup that begged the question, is the incredibly easy act of appropriating another artist’s work these days permissible? Or is only the monetary exchange what is forbidden? Have we arrived at a form of global, communal authorship that is forcing us to confront the idea that everything in the future will be permissible, just not for sale, where a generation of artists, with Sherrie Levine and Marcel Duchamp acting as royal blood, have opened a Pandora’s box robbing us all of our livelihood. Is this what is holding us back from fully cutting off the hand of the author: our own desperate protection of livelihood? I have thought about this constantly and all of the copyright cases I’ve followed from Richard Prince vs. Patrick Cariou to Luc Tuymans vs. Katrijn van Giel, point to the exchange of money as focal objection. Gallery artists have been involved in a hype-driven, money drenched, decades-long, downward spiral with the struggle of how to retain the spirit of making art against the demands of a system that conforms everything in its path to the semblance of marketable, refined, luxury goods. There are days when I think Daily Rituals destroyed my livelihood, but there are other days when I think it saved me.


Jay Heikes, 2016