Sunday, July 15, 2007

In A Responsiveness That Ultimately Expresses Itself In Action

Behind my voice is the chorus of all the other people who made all the other things and all the other people they made them for. All work is collaboration, all work contains the eyes of other artists. I know I’m collaborating with them but they don’t know about this collaboration… vs. say, Francis Alys. I walk his path through Mexico City when I walk Gentilly in New Orleans and he always says, “Point beyond yourself, beyond the diaristic, beyond the artist as solo flyer. Collaborate with your “Self”. Let’s get it on making art in the partnership mode.”

We cannot be in the present moment and run our story lines at the same time. Experiment with this for yourself, and watch how it changes you. Impermanence becomes vivid in the present moment; so do compassion and wonder and courage. And so does fear. In fact, anyone who stands on the edge of the unknown, fully in the present, without a reference point, experiences groundlessness. That’s when our understanding goes deeper, when we find that the present moment is a pretty vulnerable place and that this can be completely unnerving and terribly tender at the same time.

What gets made is no single subject, it’s not appropriation, not about the death of originality, death of the author, blah, blah, blah. It’s a wild, generous, sexy thing. Someone called me an anarchist yesterday; we laughed because it’s true.

The Battersean Bee Station
The Homeless Vehicle
Re-create forgotten tools
The two towers of Saint Leu d’Esserent

When a particular cultural idea like freedom becomes so abstract and overvalued, as in the case of Richard Serra, that it finally assumes control of the entire personality (or collective mentality) and suppresses all other motivations, then it becomes dogmatic and limiting. Anything which is not “in the whole” is not individuality but egocentrism.

Change is most likely to occur through people who are as far removed from cynicism as they are from utopianism. Making art as if the world mattered. Resisting the dehumanization of art. In order to change the social ills that we see we will first need to change our vision. Art is not only art. I submit that when vision is made concrete and situational, its traditional formalism and abstractness are overcome. In other words, vision that is truly engaged with the world in not purely cognitive, or purely aesthetic, but is opened up to the body as a whole and must issue forth in social practices that “take to heart” what is seen.

Within the framework of art as it is currently understood and practiced, the pedigree of work that is oriented toward compassionate action is always somewhat suspect, not least because its potential for yielding an income is low, and it creates few opportunities for the prevailing business culture. Obviously, in a cultural climate where radical autonomy has been the built-in assumption of artistic practices for so long, to propose a shift in the artist’s role from that of a self-directed, achievement-oriented professional to something like that of a cultural awakener or healer is to open oneself up to the accusation of mistaking art for a medical emergency team trying to save Western culture from itself. I think that is funny and a lot of fun.

Art oriented toward dynamic participation rather than toward passive, anonymous spectatorship has to deal with living contexts; and once an awareness of the ground, or setting, is actively cultivated, the audience is no longer separate. Meaning is no longer in the observer, nor in the observed, but in the relationship between the two. Interaction is the key that moves art beyond the aesthetic mode: letting the audience intersect with, and even form part of, the process, recognizing that when observer and observed merge, the vision of static autonomy is undermined.

“Sea Full of Clouds, What Can I Do?”
World as Lover, World as Self
Walker Mettling
The Adivasi
A city designed, crumbles
Here to fish?

How do we achieve the “world view of attachment” that James Hillman talks about? At this point we lack any practical blueprint for action, unless we are willing to act as architects and engineer a new conceptual framework for our lives. It is precisely to the periphery and the margins that we must look, if we are to find the core that will be central to society in the future, for it is here that it will be found to be emerging. It is here. You know where to find me.

Authors: “The Sienese Shredder”, “Proxemics”, Jane Hammond, “Bald Ego”, The Federal Levee Breaks That Flooded My City, Frida Motherfucking Kahlo, Pema Chodron, Pigeons, Suzi Gablik, My Great-Grandfather Who Escaped Russia With Nothing But The Violin He Made With His Own Two Hands And My Great-Grandmother Who For Some Reason Tried To Murder Him, Sojurner Truth, Dr. Isabelle Wallace, Chess Life & Review.

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