Today’s post is going to explore the idea of hybrid. I see a great potential for artists to have kick back about my ideas regarding art being the craft of life. To do so, to really acknowledge and understand and accept that art is the craft of life it takes responsibility. Not that art making does not take responsibility but that dealing with what you are doing at fundamental levels, habitual levels, sometimes deep-seated habitual levels may take one to a new level so to speak. We could just keep making paintings and sculptures and so forth. I have respect for all of those practices. But I honestly feel that it is time to try something new, even newer than installations, video, sound, net art, robotics and all of the other new technologies. This is because it is not just about materials and process, it is about changing the way we think about art, what it is, how it is done and what it means to be an artist.
The exciting part about it is that as you begin to delve into this process life really does begin to change. I have seen that in my own life. Drinking water throughout the day, day after day has helped me to retrain my thinking across the board. With water, I am constantly reinforcing my goodness that is coming from putting something healthy into my body. Walking is helping with that as well. I have been waking at the same time everyday and walking for an hour with my father, which has been tremendously impactful. I am starting to read more and more. Right now it is fiction but when I get back to Ohio I plan on, well, just doing whatever I want to do basically. But I think that might take me into reading about art and the everyday.
I am experiencing a change taking place. I feel like I am opening up to life more, letting more in. But let me talk more about hybrids for a bit. I talk of hybrid with galleries and museums in mind and the people who frequent these places today. My idea is that these places could begin to incorporate more and more programming into their diet in order to engage people with people more. I see that theme of having people directly interacting in natural, mutually beneficial ways to be a theme that pops up again and again as I think about what art is these days and where it is going.
In my writing I have been talking a lot about galleries and museums going away. I do so because I think it helps drive home the point of enacting real change in the arts. Art movements of the past have always had a kind of revolutionary flavor to them. This is no different from those movements though it does beckon on a bit more of a sea change than simply a new style for example.
I have been trying to get to a point in my work where I could envision people still making video and sound and net, art and so forth but also beginning to let go of those practices. Of course I am not sure where all of this change could go though I am so very inspired to write about it’s potential and how the narrative in the Western cannon has brought us to this place. Sometimes I miss going to as many art shows and openings as I used to go to. But it seems that change calls upon the change of habits in order for it to be enacted. And as I have laid out in other writings, this progression of art as the craft of life is something that has developed organically through the Western tradition.
So I am a bit torn. I want to help enact change like my heroes that have come before me. I want to bring development to the artistic zeitgeist. Or perhaps better stated help the zeitgeist bring it though me. In the meantime it is difficult sometimes and isolating too. This huge event called FRONT is happening for contemporary art right in my backyard and all that I feel called to do is talk about changing how art is done in some really pointed ways. As I have said in other writings, I think that FRONT with its cultural exercises is heading towards the same things that I have been talking about. The idea that art is an exercise is a start. It is going towards being a part of everyday life. There is still the idea of exhibition going on with it. My vision for this has been to see exhibition as something outmoded in that calls for the death of the author and participation in art is doing away with the call for exhibition any longer.
Of course people have done interactive installations in galleries and so forth and at other sites to be sure. But where I am going with my thought is that this effort must ultimately break free of all notion of contrivance. It must ultimately become on par with every other life act.
I know that this is a vision of mine. Just having a vision does not mean that it will come to pass no matter how rational or spirited it is. But in this regard I simply feel that my work as an artist is better served working through these ideas than doing anything else. I am able to throw myself into this work much more than anything else because I really believe in its power, its potency. I know it will let some people down to be confronted by ideas that say “stop making art and live it instead.” And I also get that it can be a lot more comfortable to look at a thing on the wall rather than have to talk to a person face to face. I get that. Still, I am drawn to explore this idea that art is the craft of life.
I am just starting to feel the good effects of this change in my life. Yes I am giving some things up in the process but I am also gaining insight into what I wanted along the way which was to get a clear conception of what is most contemporary in art practice today. I see that I feel a call to not only write but to live! To live my work. For even writing is still a kind of putting forth of an exhibition. Conversation as I have stated is a much better model for how to engage with a living art.
I want to also say that I do not feel that this thought is a manifesto as much as a deep listening to where art is right now and confronting what this means for art practice. I do not mean to say that one should eradicate joy from their life but that also if one has a vision that is true and relentless and just keeps giving and giving and giving then one should follow it through to where it want s to go. Believe in the inspiration that is coming to you.
For some that will mean continuing on with their practice which may range from avant garde to traditional, but I truly hope to add to that development with this conception and its enactment.
Art is the craft of life.