I do this writing for myself as much as I do it for others, including you dear reader. I find that times seem to be changing, that we are called by the status and nature of the social network to express ourselves in more and more abbreviated ways. I believe there is still room for many different types of interfacing with ideas in the written word. I see the benefit of the concision of comments and responses in social media. But I also feel, in a very palpable way, a great import to continued reading of full books be they physical or digital. Full disclosure, I read mostly physical books. But at the same time I do a great amount of reading online, a kind of daily, contemporary survey of material being generated and shared to meet the needs of those keen on the most up-to-date information.
So the question arises to me, what do I seek to do with this blog? The truth is, I love to write. But along with that I feel I have a powerful and important message to share. There are a whole host of ways to share ideas and communicate these days. Podcasts and video blogs come to mind. I may explore those as well. For now though, I am really quite in love with writing and expressing ideas in that manner. I am an ideas person. My TEDx talk is testament to that. I see how I gravitated to doing a TEDx talk over say an art exhibition in a gallery (though I have done that as well).
I think what is most important may be that I get this message that I have been partly given through careful observation and conversation and partly produced to actively listening. I think that listening is of the utmost importance and I try and cultivate my practice in that manner in an ongoing way.
Right now is my chance to express an idea to you and I encourage you to go into a mode of listening until you feel inspired to comment.
My message as I have stated it before is simply this: art is the craft of life.
I see this as a truth to coincide with a great many other truths.
That statement does not negate art being a great many other things, infinite variations in fact as friend has pointed out to me. However, I feel there is a point to this statement and a power to accepting it as a truth. I see it sort of like a fractal where methods like painting, sculpture, sound and video are pieces of a larger whole that can be summed up as art. That larger whole included all possible human activities and even happenings beyond that of humanity. I think if nothing else, this conception of art helps to gently create a wider frame of reference for our very souls’ appraisal of what presents itself to the intellect.
Over the course of these pages I hope to to continue to unpack these ideas along with you. I would very much to have conversations, spirited and lively going on in the comments accompanying these posts. I think one a day a forum for discussion might lend itself nicely to growing through conversation.
Some of what I want to say here is that I have stopped making work for galleries. Well, that is not totally true. I have a piece called Visual Silence that calls for an empty gallery to be exhibited. But outside of that I have pretty much focused my energies on what is possible in the broader stream of life events and possibilities that lie outside of the gallery and museum for example. I have nothing against those institutions. I find that this awakening that I have had in this regard is something that naturally takes itself to other avenues and venues.
That being said, I do not expect people to stop making conventional art like paintings, sculpture, video and sound for example or any most up-to-date technology like artificial intelligence, drones or robotics. I think, well, I must say that some of this has developed out of my reading of Arthur Danto and his conception of the end of art. If I have understood his conception correctly, and please do tell me if this does not sound right, art ended with Andy Warhol’s Brillo Box as it could no longer be distinguished from the common, everyday item it depicted. That was in 1964. Danto went on to describe what happened in the latter part of that century and into the next as a kind of pluralism. I guess if I am being honest, I see none of that pluralism as being a continuation the story of Western art. That is why I posit that art became the craft of life. The common statement that people make upon seeing contemporary art is “well, I could do that” and the whole point is in fact “yes, you could and in fact you are just by living your life.” Or perhaps that is why I talk about taking up one’s life. It might be the awareness that can make a difference.
I realize in writing this that I am really after knowledge in a way. I think I am writing for others who want to ask deep questions about what art is, what it could be. Obviously I have a philosophy on that and that is what this blog is about for me, a chance to share what I feel to be an awakening that was made possible by really listening to another human being. I can recount that story later for you.
I really think that there is just so much in this conception of art as the craft of life. I have started cooking things that are healthy and totally get me thinking in different ways. I am writing more. I am working out. I am meditating. All of this goes into the craft of my life. And I love that! I feel alive in this way and I find it interesting that the Western canon in art has in a way guided us in a direction of the nature of life itself meeting up with ways of living that come to us from around the world outside of the Western tradition.
I have more to say but I guess that is all for now. Please do comment on what you find here. I look forward to speaking with you about this conception. I do think it is important that iterations of art be allowed of course to become whatever they need to become. But at the same time I feel this conception of art as the craft of life is one that is of fundamental importance and can really serve us in its application.
I wish you gratefulness, wisdom and lasting peace and also exuberance, stimulation and vitality.