The Big Reveal
Where did we leave off? Oh yes, in my last two posts I was vowing to abstain from all exposure to the arts for a full week and wondering rhetorically whether I could make “a different kind of art” right now under an alias….
Let’s go ahead and close these loops as they lead directly to the conclusions I am arriving at as my residency here (where is here?) winds down.
Vow=not possible to keep. As we speak, I am taking a break from working on some work-work which involves looking at and writing about other people’s art and the history of artists influencing each other. In the background, as I type, there is original live music because I live with a musician. Things are being composed in the air around me as I write here—there is stopping and starting and starting again with slightly different tempo or intonation… In the morning, I will sit with a playwright and give feedback as he struggles to find voices for his characters that balance realism and allegory, and then, after an afternoon of refining questions for some interviews that I will be doing with filmmakers later this week, I will go hear someone read from their new book. I can’t escape art. I don’t think this was always the case, but during my tenure here it has increasingly become so: I am immersed in art almost 24/7. I would have to take a radical break from my life to abstain from contact with art. I think I would actually really like to do that sometime, but it just isn’t plausible right now. So realization #1: I will need to do this residency again some day. Totally differently. Truly abstaining.
Next, aliases: I have not used any aliases that disguise my identity. But I have been saying yes to opportunities that I would normally classify as art by re-classifying them as other things. I mentioned two of these in my April posting: cooking for a live audience within someone’s art installation which I would have typically called “performing”, became simply “cooking”; making experimental short videos for someone’s alternative broadcast network, which I would have previously labelled “multimedia art”, became “experimental journalism”; and now, a project happening during the next few weeks which will involve sexually charged virtual exchanges with strangers culminating in a non-virtual public moment that I would have once called “public engagement art” but am billing as “a social experiment.”
A few weeks ago I had a brief but very satisfying conversation with someone that is not an artist but whom I think is pretty fabulous and strongly reccommend as a potential advisor for RFAOH, Jason Eppink. He told me that he stopped making art several years ago and now only makes mischief (which in many cases looks indistinguishable to me from art…)
Realization #2: I don’t have to make art, I just have to do these things that I have to do. (Which leads directly to realization #3: I don’t have to be an artist. I just have to be this thing that I am.)
Finally, I actually will be showing some art before the residency officially ends, so think I will need to end my residency a few days early. Unless I can think of a way to bill a series of photographs as something other than art, I have 10 small Polaroid images that I took in December 2014 that will be in a gallery show that I orginally thought was opening on July 31st, but which will be opening on July 24th. I will keep thinking though in case a fabulous way of describing this work as something other than art arises.
But regardless, I think my work here is almost done.
The next things I will need to think about as a whatever-I-am-if-not-exactly-an-artist-shmartist-etc. are what it means now that I have shifted gears into this place where everything is art and I am just a small part of that by virtue of being aware of it, and then what it means in terms of my personal political responsibility to stand in this space where I’m now standing.
Golly gee I don’t know the answers yet, so for now I leave you with this small food for thought: