Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Art in Action

One of Elizabeth Underwood's many visions - a web portal for presenting and encouraging New Orleans-based site-specific work that addresses devastation and healing. Maps lead you to sites and artists write about their motivations. Read her manifesto at the website. A summary of Elizabeth's motives: "action creates connection and connection heals, encourages dialogue, and fertilizes "the environment" with the seeds of change." Elizabeth is right on--is there a better place to try out the social function of your art than here? Shown here is the Hurricane Free Zone project by G.A.S., which addresses how people who live in conditions beyond their control often have very little to comfort them other than "collective positivity" - a brilliant rip on "Drug Free Zone" signs.
-Courtney Egan


courtney said...

Hakim Bey's writings on what he calls "Poetic Terrorism," (a term much more loaded today than when he wrote it in 1985) seem to relate to this project.

more on temporary autonomous zones

ARTinACTION said...


ARTinACTION said...

Have you seen this great online journal?

I found it while looking for the text of Manny Farber's essay on "white elephant art -vs- termite art" (which is here:

I am currently very interested in the differences Farber categorizes as such, as they pertain to visual art ie: sculpture, installation, etc.

I of course identify with the "termite" approach/philosophy though having once had huge nests of termites explode out of my kitchen walls one hot summer I am somewhat disconcerted by my identification with these insects.

I particulary like this paragraph:
"(Kurosawa's Ikiru) sums up much of what termite art aims at: buglike immersion in a small area without point or aim, and, over all, concentration on nailing down one moment without glamorizing it, but forgetting this accomplishment as soon as it has passed; the feeling that it is all expendable, that it can be chopped up and flung down in a different arrangement without ruin."

Though ArtInAction does have a "point or aim", and some of the work under the AiA umbrella aims at something, it's my belief that overall the project as an entity (impermanent, fluid, messy, physical, uncommodifiable) is very termite-y in its thrust.

And this is reflective, an expression, of my own personal bias about the visual arts world as it exists in the 21st century: I am a proud post-modernist & believe that the true post-modernist is not suspicious of "meaning" (spiritual/political) as expressed in art, and s/he embraces notions of soul & heart while working in ways that function beyond boundaries of academic definitions of value.

Termite = rhizome. We shouldn't be afraid to be gestalt-y. We must be brave while delicately navigating the web between the corporeal and the great abyss!