OUR COLUMNIST SCULPTURESTEPH ADDS HER VOICE TO THE DEBATE ON PERFORMATIVE ART:
‘Seph, I fully follow and agree with your reasoning- I personally however do not think it is a good way to go for humankind.
I have done most of ‘these things’, writing with pen , ink, pencil on paper a letter, drawing painting, modelling physical media, building structures out of found things, playing in a physical environment with my friends (physically present!), making music or noise’ (drumming on tins, singing, whatever came along), and all that…, as part of my daily life, while growing up and found (in hindsight) that by doing something, the process of an idea, problem or concept in the mind that you try to communicate (expression) by translating its complexities into a tangible reality is the process of learning, and unique to us humans.
I also see this to be useful to become self sufficient and independent, as I assume whatever happens to me it is me it is happening to and I rather be able to help myself, than to rely only on the help of others, who may have very different motivations to do so than what may be beneficial to me.
It allows for the much needed flexibility and confidence that is required through life and its infinite random occurrences and scenarios each and everyone finds themselves in. While being infinite they are also always absolutely unique even to the same individual, or individuals in the same community, under the same circumstances and therefor always require unique solutions.
I have simultaneously grown up with the ‘revolution’ of modern communication media and technology, and find my experience of this ‘artificial communication basically inadequate in comparison to my experience of direct communication which goes beyond exchange of information (either read, listened to or observed) to experiencing conversation perceived through all five senses simultaneously making it multi-dimensional.
On top of that the ‘old fashioned way, ie. no communication gadgets involved, also doesn’t cost you a penny- in stark contrast to the cost of electricity, the equipment and monthly contract payments of the communication devices. So what could the reason be for trading our free quality communication for a much inferior and costly one? Cynically, I say it is the opportunity seen by some to make money from it while also being in charge and controlling (manipulating) this ‘commodity’ not to the benefit to humanity but the bank balance of their own account.
I am not against modern technology (I utilise it daily for my work and obviously here on this blog), just like with everything else I do however believe that there should be a balance- a golden middle- where both communications can be used to support the contents of one another towards quality, instead of competing with each other on the very biased rules of monetary profit making or quantity alone.
I also think that Art should not be limited to fit a communication concept but that it is communication itself and hence cannot be expressed in any other language but Art.
Flash mobs to me are evidence for the instinct of humans wanting to share experiences in real time and space as a community and for increasing numbers of individuals the gathering as part of a virtual community the only way left to experience it.
It is not spontaneous, it is coordinated, it is more akin to a PR stunt (as it can be immediately communicated to twitter, youtube, facebook, etc…) to hunt for the ‘likes’, to get the approval and validation by the ‘consuming masses’.
Traditional gatherings of tangible communities were consequences of the direct human communication in a physical reality, demanding to come up with tangible solutions to tangible problems (food, shelter, health, survival) and the experience of working it out with tangible results (as opposed to managing theoretical strategies) strengthening the sense of community and achievement, releasing various chemicals in the brain resulting in emotions of joy, euphoria, confidence and well being as a shared experience.
I know that none of this can be communicated as tangible experience through modern media technology (as an intangible communication language) and Performance Art in Art Galleries and Museums does not make any of this more real or valid to the observer than it would to the experience of a participator.
It therefor may work as Performance Art to the artist, assistants, curator, participants/ collaborators- but I doubt it’ll do much for the Gallery visitor, the spectator.’