Tomorrow night I will be performing a new guerilla media/performance piece (as yet untitled) at Art Chicago that may get me arrested. (At least this time for good reason)
This piece is about how we are as people naturally suspiscious of any kind of authoritive intrusion into our lives. The IRS, “homeland security”, police, etc are very seldom viewed in contemporary America as positive things in our daily environment. Only when we need their protection do we consider them as good. When they are pulling us over or knocking at our door they are simply a bother.
Why is it nessesary for mankind to create systems of control that it continually pushes against? How has it become nessesary that society is not capable of self governing, that only by strictness and rule will people behave in a manner that is not negative to the community?
Can we not as a species evolve to overcome the need we have to be told what to do, how to act and when to think? If we are not capable of change, if the aggression and ignorance that society continues to expound are not educated and meditated away then how much longer can we survive as a race?
I wonder at the difference between how we perceive ourselves (the way we look, act, sound, etc) and how others perceive us. Someone who can feel so ugly to themselves can be absolutely beautiful in the eyes of another. A person who many would think of as gorgeous may think of themselves as unattractive. The disparity between our perception of self and our perception of others is astounding.
What confounds me about modern people, especially the female gender, is the lack of self esteem. So many women view themselves as less because they re not meeting some ideal set by a corporation or moral ethic dictated by religion.
How is it in this age of technology that we have become a slave to our desires? What has driven mankind to such an extreme that it continually refashions itself into whatever popular opinion demands?
I spend the major of my awake time finding beauty in the smallest and most precious things. The transient moments where each play of light finds new revelations about the how and why of our lives.
Somehow we as a society must begin to see ourselves as others actually see us. The viewpoint of the popular must be dictated not by the consumer machine but by the yearning of the self for expression and knowledge. Only when we can tell others how we truly feel will they respond with honesty and trust.
I ran into a concept last night that I find strange and funny and hope that it is something that changes as time goes on in our society.
The gallery that I am showing at this month is in the River East Arts Center which hosted their open house last night. I went and stood around and watched people filter through the spaces. Some just there for the wine, others making vague attempts to “understand” the works being offered in the various galleries. As I returned several times to the gallery hosting my show (Inspire Fine Art) I listened to a conversation between someone who wanted to buy a piece of mine and the gallery owner. The women who was interested in my work was explaining that she would not know “what to say” if she meet the creator of the work and was declining to be introduced to the artist (me).
When she figured out that I had walked up during the conversation she switched gears and began a polite conversation with me about the difficulty in talking to an artist about their work. She explained that she might, in discussing the piece, say something that could offend the artist, an incorrect interpretation of the work, etc. She said she really liked my work but did not want to talk about what see saw in the work as it may be “wrong”.
What intrigues me about this is not that idea that society has developed a “I don’t understand it” approach to modern art, which is an issue I have discussed and dealt with in the past. What got me thinking was the other artists, the ones who would be offended by a “misinterpretation” of their work and who would be angered or hurt by this misunderstanding.
The idea that an artist not only creates a piece but that the creator has a specific “correct” view of what the piece should mean to everyone and how the piece should be interpreted by everyone is absolutely ridiculous. The ego of the artist that thinks each of their work must be seen in only one way is astounding. How can anyone who makes art, that which purports to be the freedom of expression itself, dictate to another how they should “see” anything in the world?
If you make things, those things should have a life of their own once you have finished them. That life that they live must be something apart from you, the creator. It must exist as its own thing, evolving over time as it moves from context to context as a form of content.
[amidst these proceedings I was happy to meet another part of the shape of my friends lives in the world. Someone I can not believe I had not meet before – what a small world we live in.]
There has always been something very anti-climactic to me about the opening of a new exhibition. The days leading up to the installation of the show are full of stress and pressure. At this point I usually freak out and withdraw myself from human interaction as much as possible and eventually my mind produces something new, usually at the 11th hour.
Yet this release of creative pressure leaves me not with the afterglow one would expect from such aesthetic eruptions but with the feeling of emptiness. As if somehow by releasing these things into the world I am slowly carving off bits of myself and setting them free.
For a long time my work has been about the freedom of expression that exists between the viewer and the art itself. About the relationship that grows between the object (both the container and the content) and the participant (the viewer, casually or actively). But in reality the content I am creating is a personal struggle with the feeling of entrapment I have for the confines of the human form.
By tethering myself to the idea of an exhibition I am forced, like the animal in the trap, to sacrifice some part of myself in order to once again be free to explore the world. I merely sever the ties between the object and myself so that I can move on and live once more.
The approaching weekend is an opening of my work at Inspire Fine Art (Chicago). Getting ready for an exhibition is a strange and obscure thing. I never really feel that my work is finished, mostly I get bored playing with a particular piece and move on to the next one.
But these pieces, specifically the video installation “Transcendental Landscapes”, are so new in terms of content that I myself have not had time to fully explore the possibilities of their interaction. The colors and forms are as fresh to me as their maker as they will be to the viewer this Friday.
More and more of my work is about the human body’s interaction with the content and how the content is capable of modifying the participant’s perceptions of their environment. We are becoming a unit that is watching itself continually. Data storage, surveillance, blogs, every facet of human communication and exchange is being logged and recorded. We form a complex map of time as it occurred, slowly melding into one mind, one common experience.
If you are out this Friday night stop into Inspire and see what I am talking about.