The idea of materials is something that comes up in art related thinking quite a bit. Traditionally these have been thought of in conjunction with making some sort of eventual artwork per se that gets most likely exhibited somehow on a wall or pedestal in a gallery, museum or home. New movements in social practice are changing that paradigm to where art is seen as something that happens between people as a social interaction for example through activism of some sort. The conception that I am currently working with takes that notion deeper and further by saying that everything we make and do, on our own and among each other is artwork already and that it is through a daily practice of mindfulness and expression that we can help to consciously be a part of that artwork. Intentionality plays a key role in this regard.
So this idea of materials used to be that paint, marble, even pixel, found materials and so forth were used in the employment of a concise or disparate manner to formulate that type of phenomenon that Danto and Carroll have talked about that dealt with embodied meaning and purpose respectively. As art becomes all that we say, do, feel, think and make in life the concept of materials gets widened and at the same time brought into more specificity. All of material reality in this way, throughout the day, is the so-called material of the artist now. Remember that it is my conception that everyone is an artist and also that everything we do is art. The shirt we put on in the morning is a part of our art, the resultant artwork. The breakfast that we cook. The mode of transport we choose. And on and on into the day.
Social media in this way replaces the old convention of an exhibition in a gallery or museum or even on a wall in the home. Classically, physical photographs are not even shared as much now that digital platforms have become so prevalent (a revolution in regard the dispersal of art should very well be taking place). Of course, a documentation of sort of the people’s everyday activities and occurrences skyrocketed as social media platforms took hold. The change here is a somewhat subtle one but extremely impactful. It is that all of these shares by folks of what they are doing throughout the day can be seen as a paradigm replacing the old one of exhibition such that sharing through the internet and also in person becomes the means by which the dispersal of lived experience and the materiality associated with it get brought into the consciousness of one another. In effect, social media has already replaced the brick and mortar exhibition as such similar to how paper newspapers are going out of business in exchange for the digital domain.
Sharing our quotidian experience becomes then a way to meditate on the qualities of everyday life such that we can learn from one another how to best live our lives. Some of it might seem blasé some of the time but the truth of it is such a picture into the world is mind-glowingly informative and transformative. Such immediate and globally pervasive modes of communication naturally lend themselves to a new era of art sharing. And with the element of engagement that comes with social platforms we see a means through technology where we may interact socially at a more and more dynamic capacity. We no longer have to be in the same physical space such as a gallery or museum as another person in order to talk with them or carry on a conversation about art being shared. Online platforms allow one to carry that conversation on at one’s own convenience.
This is why I continue to promote meditation and conversation as key modes of art being the craft of life. Granted I realize that art can be a many splendid things, but my point here is that it is not about comparing materials and modalities of the conventions and traditions of art including painting, sculpture and even new media such as video, sound, robotics and so on but rather opening the mind to the idea or notion that these instances are only examples of a much wider-ranging continuum or spectrum that includes all lived experience and engagements with material reality. Essentially art is more than art, more than the conventions and practices we have come to associate with it. Art is everything, everywhere, every-when, always. This is the conception I wish to share with you. It has been said before in different ways but it bares repeating and refining as it is in the very stuff of life, the conception and aspirations of our very lives.