OUR COLUMNIST SCULPTURESTEPH SAYS ABOUT RAGNAR KJARTANSSON’S PERFORMANCES AT THE NEW MUSEUM IN NEW YORK THE FOLLOWING:
‘Apart from a film of ones parents documenting ones own (supposedly) conception, a social gathering and experience of creating something together (making music, chatting, building a tree house) were once upon a time what we humans did or how we lived life (I do remember it!).
Then came all those technological revolutions which took over more and more of our ‘human doing life’ experiences, so we could devote more of our time or existence to ‘talk about’ and ‘share it’ instead of living experience. A gathering of a group of individuals interacting with each other directly (not through an artificial media) has become performance art, possible to happen in an Art Gallery (or Museum).
It is, as if you have to go to a gallery and in future a museum to experience a second hand historical experience of someone else in order to ‘observe’ a social experience instead of ‘experiencing’ it. One day it might well be the closest you can get to what ‘experience’ is. Is this a reaction to the massive changes humanity is going through as a consequence of modern media communication (information instead of conversation)?
Or has the Art world/ market manipulated our culture, values and their communication to divert the instinct of living life through experience to a narcissistic dependency on comfort, wealth and individual isolation? By chasing the illusion of experiencing real life through virtual means to the benefit of the trend setters, and suppliers who feed us these fake realities and the gadgets that perpetuate the consumer industry of ‘real life’ or ‘Authenticity’, we simultaneously make them a lot of money, wealth and give them the power or control to do so.
I do not have a problem with performance Art, quite the opposite but just like with any other current Art category marketing tag; there is Performance Art and then there is the fashionable PR campaign (and the motivation behind that is definitely not Art).
Although in this case it is not the Art work that doesn’t work. For a more authentic feeling, I would have not chased to get someone to find some ambiguous area within the forest of regulation, health and safety, law, public and corporate responsibilities to get the smoking permission- but would have tried to locate an actual working men pub/ bar/ club and arrange with the owner a time and date of a performance or event to take place.
…but maybe there are none left in NYC 9or London), as they had to make way for the ‘corporate culture and life’ people can buy into, to live the bland, politically correct, advertisement or celebrity image we are all encouraged to emulate.
So an Art gallery may just be the only space nowadays for the ‘unexpected human happening’ or ‘Experience’ to be performed.
Museums accessioning Performance Art for their permanent collections may just have an instinct to start preserving human social interaction (which inspires ‘Art’) as a thing of the past for a future virtual world.
…a thought while reading your ‘thought’.’