Aleksandra Mir quotes:

  • Stonehenge had an aura but it was also just stone. Then in the sixties, it became a great hedonistic, hippie, druid, rock-n-roll party site. There are amazing pictures of people up on the stones going wild and that's the image I recreated for my model of the project: full access to everyone. I even invented a Stonehenge soccer team that uses spaces between the stones as goals.

  • I think the wildest wildlife you can find these days is in Chernobyl, where wolves are running around breeding quite well in the nuclear disaster zones.

  • I'm very jealous of an era where people were inventing something so beautiful as the Concorde and thinking that's the next step. I'm jealous of an era when people thought, "Let's finally go to the Moon."

  • I try to make that tension almost stupidly overt in my projects, almost ridiculously so. I keep coming back to the same obvious points again and again.

  • "Hello" is pseudoscience. The only smart way to read it is not to believe in it, not to trust it, or to put yourself in it and imagine what's out there that you haven't been told or seen.

  • The Stonehenge proposal got a lot of interesting criticism. One of the best - or worst - said something like, "Go home to Las Vegas." I think this project could possibly be realized at a very late part of my career. Right now, I don't have the authority, the budget, the credibility.

  • Seeing your work go into storage in an art museum is obviously a tragedy of any cultural product - which doesn't mean I am anti-institutional.

  • I follow these intimate connections of strangers and, surprise!, end up finding even myself in the work at some point.

  • In a way I am saying the nation-state doesn't exist, borders don't exist, you can try going anywhere. It is a kind of pre-Internet consensus I always had in me.

  • I'm depending on other people to take the work and run. And if they run in so many directions, they sort of cancel each other out. So the meaning is always open.

  • You pick people, and they pick you sometimes. It's especially great to connect with people you think you have nothing in common with.

  • The space program caused so much future-thinking in culture. People who couldn't go to the Moon were building space-fantasy chairs and corsets and hairdos and anything that they could put their hands on.

  • The moment right now, it's a tragically regressive time we live in, you know. We just grounded the Concorde. Where's the future? We've lost the future.

  • Dutch beaches were known to me as man-made territories, as part of various land reclamation projects. But I was also interested in the media reality of the Moon landing. I wanted to use that event as a measure of time, to see what had happened in those thirty years - which happens to be my lifetime as well. I was born in 1967 and I remember seeing the Moon landing on TV when I was two. All those things were in play. Then it became a big production. It took five months to gather up the goodwill and make it happen.

  • I've made a poster at home. You know the iconic image of Che Guevara, the black and red graphic of his face? I think it's the perfect graphic, the best graphic ever made. I cut a Concorde out and put it over his head so it's Che looking up and the Concorde going by. Both are dead, maybe obsolete.

  • Of course, I'd welcome protest. Good criticism is hard to find.

  • I'm so extremely well prepared for negative response, I've taken precautions.

  • "Naming Tokyo" kicked off at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in June, and it's going to travel to various art institutions for years to come. Every time it is shown, I'm developing the research and involving more and more people in it. The final conclusion of the work would eventually be to put up street signs in Tokyo with my names on them.

  • I think the optimal artwork is in constant circulation with the world around itself.

  • There are ends, occasionally, with projects. That happens. But they are natural dead ends. It's usually the outside situation that demands an ending. I never really settle for one.

  • I'm neither shy nor impressed by media and press. It's just another industry to me. My response to the criticism was, "I work with a steel factory. Why can't I work with the media?"

  • I've gotten all kinds of reactions and it's been used in so many different ways.

  • I wanted to contribute to the landscape tradition in art. By now I guess we are comfortable with the thought that man has been everywhere or affected everything in nature.

  • The plane as an object has been a huge effort to make. It is a sculpture, a technological invention, a piece of aviation culture. But really, it only exists to be inserted into a variety of landscapes, to be a catalyst, to offset them.

  • National parks, zoos, protected areas, polluted seas - using the whole world as a readymade, I thought about it as a stage set. To activate a stage set you need a drama, an actor to offset it.

  • Of course I can have a simple reaction of sympathy and sorrow to destruction. But you also know that you can't have new things if you don't occasionally destroy the old. That's something you're really not allowed to say because things are often destroyed according to particular power relations so it means taking a stand in those cases, which I am not really interested in doing either. I think I am simply interested in looking.

  • Really the moment I decided I wanted to do art seriously, I left art school. I wanted to be with people who were interested in the same things I was: popular culture.

  • I was a lousy academic. I spent most of my time in the cafeteria. But I met fantastic people from all kinds of fields; law, medicine, history, and they eventually dispersed all over the world to do their fieldwork. I liked the way these people committed to the long term in a sincere, visionary way. Their projects weren't about "next season." They were ten-year commitments. They were lifestyle choices that had traditions of fieldwork built into them - moving around, living on location, discipline, a real rigor for research.

  • I wouldn't say the anthropologists were making art, but they were definitely justifying their practices with very personal reasoning, passion, and they were also experimenting with form. There was a sense of trying to be as sincere as possible, whether you were investigating something far away from you or very close.

  • I find myself doing fieldwork physically, in the tradition of anthropology. I literally go to the opposite end of the world, to the most exotic faraway places I possibly can, only to find the closest things to me when I get there.

  • "Hello" is always presented as a linear narrative, a singular chain, sometimes in a loop. But the reality of making it is that connections are naturally sprawling all over the place, so I am free to edit any way I want.

  • My purpose isn't to be confrontational. My purpose is to find out about the world and play myself against it to the extent that it is even conceivable.

  • I'm completely uninterested in the origins of Stonehenge. I don't care about the real story behind it or whether it should be saved or not. What I'm interested in is this: in the Victorian era, you could go there as an early cultural tourist and you were given a chisel to chip off a bit of the stones and take it with you. That's what you did in Victorian times.

  • People get upset when Baghdad, the "Cradle of Civilization" is burning, or when the Buddhas in Afghanistan are falling. These are real concerns.

  • In 1989 I came to New York to go to the School of Visual Arts. Then, after two years, I switched over to the New School for Social Research and did cultural anthropology in the graduate school there.