Saturday, June 17, 2006

You say you want a revolution

I'm responding with some considered thoughts about Artpowerlines' post and comments from several days ago. (I am a slow digester.)

If a new revolution is indeed to take place, and who's to say it hasn't already begun, it will be (in mixing chaos theory metaphors with Muhammad Ali...) one that floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee. It will come about softly (without all the revolutionary exclamation points and trumpet fussing), but be carried out with a disciplined and exacting force. Relating this thread of thought with Fillou's comments on "covert fascism", per my last post) I think it's a matter of personal responsibility and taking art (if it is truly a way of thinking and not merely a material commodity) out of the context of the "institution" and bringing it onto a humanistic platform. (Joseph Beuys: "Everyone is an artist.") That's why I think the "artistic" transition Artpowerlines made from performance art to interactive participation with a broader community, not soley for and about the art establishment, is so philosophically deft and important in a lasting change. What we need to revolt against isn't the art system, but a stagnant and belligerent way of thinking. Paradigm shifts: It's not about reinventing the wheel, just learning to use it better.

By community I don't mean to single out artsy interaction, organized or nonprofit events per se. It could just be things you do yourself in your everyday. It could take many simple and seemingly meaningless and non Art forms: simply getting to know your next door neighbor in lieu of an arsenal of hi-tech home security surveillance systems as a way to fight crime; taking your ipod off once in a while and listening to what's actually around you, picking up trash on the ground even if it's not yours, reusing a paper bag even if you could easily "recycle" by throwing it in a bin, smiling on the street even if only to yourself. Call me a luddite, and maybe this is a somewhat obtuse connection to make....but whatever "force" keeps a Rembrandt painting relevant and beautiful today after so many centuries...has a little something to do with giving humanity a bit of quality face time in an era of on-the-go technology, perhaps? (and bringing that humanity, as a spirit and not necessarily as an action, back into the fold of Art with a capital "A", if this is your chosen voice. Here's to a kinder and gentler tour de force.


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