Just a Thought: Maybe I´m Not Not Doing Art Properly
Just thinking today about Tehching Hsieh, whom I know is advising on this project, and of his “No Art Piece”….Even while not making (my own) art, I have not been in any way abstaining from contact with art or thinking (almost obsessively) about art. It can’t be this month because I have already committed to many of the things I outlined in the last post during the next 30 days or so, but I hereby commit to finding a solid week before this residency is up where I abstain from all contact with all art—including, music, film, everything I find artful. I’ll fill all of those little voids with something that is not art. Nature if possible. Or maybe just whatever I can find that seems the most opposed to art. (Balancing my checkbook? Reorganizing files?) I think it might be really useful for me to not just not make art, but actually subtract art in my efforts to identify the things I am trying to identify here. I wonder if it will even be possible though–my work and my social life all involve almost constant exposure to art in the next few months…. We’ll see. When I do it, I’ll write in here the whole time. Oh, except this is (at the larger scale) an artwork too, so I guess I will have to stay away from here too….
Another, different thought, but maybe related. Many times, in many contexts—mostly in residency applications—I have proposed doing an artwork called “Do Nothing” which explores the conflicting ideas in this culture around doing nothing, and also explores what kind of physical infrastructure would be required in order to do as little as humanly possible for a longish duration. This proposal has constantly been met with fear, concern and even ridicule when I’ve submitted it to curators, but I still stand behind it is an intensely artistic (and scary, scary) exploration. Then I saw a medical study that paid you to do nothing for 90 days, and at first I thought “Yes! That’s the residency I’ve been looking for for all of these years!” I was going to apply and do my project in that context. But after reading a report from someone who did it I was deeply horrified. Just a rhetorical question here I guess: why does essentially the same action horrify me when it is a medical study, but fill me to the brim with inspiration when it’s art making?