Sunday, January 02, 2011

Four Propositions Concerning Art Blogging


My first proposition is: Blogging is about being stupid.
It is accepting that I do not know what I should know before starting to write. But wait! "Should know"? Let me rephrase that: blogging is accepting that there is no required knowledge to write. In part, it is accepting Beuys' affirmation that everyone is an artist. Everyone is an art-writer. Everyone is a potential member of the art milieu. And this everyone also means different aspects of me. Suddenly, the quickness of the form, it's simplicity, encourages me to move forward. To take risks. To dare write something I am not sure of. One could say this is the continuation of the beautiful tradition of Montaigne's Essays (which translates into Attempts). Yet here, the very way it is created and shared encourages the risk, encourages the attempting to see where the thoughts, the words, took me, take me, might take me. But that is just the first step. Because the consequences are quite far-going.

My second proposition is: Thanks to the internet, writing about art can become closer to making art.
The problem with writing is what is usually considered it's greatest advantage: it stays. Letters form words which form sentences which are a pest - they do not let go. So anything you write can and will be used against you, be it literally or metaphorically, by someone, or by yourself, reading what you wrote many years ago.
Writing, then, must become serious. You have to weigh your words. You become responsible. Meaning, what you write needs to pass the test of an imaginary future reading.
The internet may not seem different, because here things also stay (you can find all the internet publications from the past at archives.org). However, there is so much happening, and what you publish has so little apparent weight (you don't feel it, hold it in your hand, share it physically), that even the concept of a "virtual" world seems logical. And yet the beauty is that "virtual", here, is quite real. The letters still turn into meaning - and practically instantly, they turn into social meaning.
But maybe because of the lack of weight, as opposed to other circumstances, when writing the blog, I don't feel obliged to anything. My distance to what I write about can change. I can be a distant observer, and then suddenly move close, challenge the work, ask it questions, see where it takes my thinking. This limit of private/public allows me to think to myself, but in a way that creates a new type of space, a new type of relation. Am I still writing about the work, or am I writing myself into the work? After all, I have no obligation to be a critic. Because I define what the blog is, I do not need to correspond to any criteria - and so the writing can become more personal, more experiential - sharing the experience I am living. And, as my experience is often related to creating new works, the limit becomes blurred - the work I write "about" (or "from" or "out of") is working its way into the one I am (sometimes unconsciously) thinking about or preparing.

My third proposition is: The models of participation in art change because of the internet.
This new type of sharing has other consequences. As opposed to most art writing, it becomes difficult to define what exactly is my position in the (traditional) world of art. Am I reviewing, creating, alluding? It is up to the reader to define what role my text plays in his experience of the art/world.
But also on the scale of the art milieu, the situation becomes more fun.
Am I a big, important fish, or an insignificant lost fish? Reading the blog it is hard to say. And that is, because it really is hard to say. The art market tries to establish market rules - artists have values that either go up or down, and if the art businesspeople had it their way, art would really be an extension of the art market. But this model is greatly inadequate for art, and I am the proof. After a few years writing the blog, I had more and more people contact me. One of them was a curator at the Warsaw Centre for Contemporary Art. He wanted to link to me on the Centre's online (and sometimes offline) review called Obieg. Suddenly, people from the milieu now considered me as an insider. Several people asked me "How did you manage to convince them?". Apparently, they were not used to a model which goes beyond traditional, linear processes. Of course, these new models are far more complex, which can be quite exciting: I can participate in a review and be written about, my work can be the subject of my own analysis picked up by someone from another site, the blog could potentially be published in a paper edition, it becomes a sort of a one-man-show that keeps evolving. Galleries start considering the blog as a serious partner, they become interested in the person, other artists contact me, first as a publisher, then as a person, new unexpected projects come up... All this has been happening. And every time it does, it seems the definition of what I do shifts.

My fourth and last proposition is: Blogging about art can be an exercise in moving.
The great and crazy composer Cornelius Cardew once wrote: "Notation is a way of making people move. If you lack others, like aggression or persuasion. The notation should do it. This is the most rewarding aspect of work in a notation. Trouble is: just as you find your sounds are too alien, intended for a 'different culture', you make the same discovery about your beautiful notation: no one is willing to understand it. No one moves."
A similar thing happens with writing my art blog. This is one way of changing the conditions of living, or appreciating, art. When it works, you feel how it takes you elsewhere. "You" meaning me, but also you, the potential reader. And yet, every once in a while, you, no, I discover that the reading remains on a level I am not satisfied with. It becomes a reading of another text, and so, once again, I have written a different text to the one I was writing. This happens, of course, with every creation. However, the blog, the internet, has this wonderful capacity of allowing for the exercise to be constantly exercised. I go back, I rewrite, I answer myself. I enter dialogues. Exercise. Yes, that is what blogging is for me - an exercise in moving.

The above text first appeared (in a Russian translation) in the Korydor online magazine, as part of the Kyiv Offline project.
The picture is Seeing Got Us Here (A Bunch of Leaves), 2010, by Wojtek Ziemilski.


34 comments:

Tom said...

Are you familiar with foucault's writings on Hypomnema? These principles reminded me of those he discusses.

Ta said...

do you mean exercise? an exercice in spelling and respelling :-P

great post!

vvoi said...

@Tom: History of Sexuality... some vague recallection, but had to google it up. I lacked a hypomnema to remind me of this...
@ Ta: I stand corrected. Thanks!

Jeff said...

My biggest complaint about the internet and art blogs is that many blogs like say BOOOOOO*M do not allow criticism. One cannot critique what is there. You literally cannot have a discussion. It must be some vapid smiling chat with some hipster who thinks that a Holga is the end all and be all of photography.

It is patently pathetic.

Art without criticism robs the art of its value and hurts everyone involved.

oliver said...

What is it in critcism that creates better art? Surely teh process of making is by far the most exciting part. Therefore writing can encompass that...

Connecticut contemporary art gallery said...

Its actually only useful where it doesn't get childish however. ome people try to turn these blogs into Youtube and that stuff should just be saved for youtube.

Erin said...

True, for every degree of critical potential the art blog opens up, so does it welcome a space for decidedly un-critical thinking -- but we should not view this as a problem. Analysis of art must come from a public place if it is to be liberated from charges of elitism. Just as we decide for ourselves which moments, experiences, interactions merit further consideration in our daily, non-virtual lives, we can distill what we find compelling in what we read about art (or anything else, for that matter) on the web -- these clung-to pieces of information become the ideas that push the discourse forward!

Polly said...

for me blogging about art is a helpful way for me to get feedback on any work I do, enable my writing about art to become more fluid and natural and hopefully provide posts that someone may be interested in. Even if i don't have many followers or views it's a great new way for me to continue on growing and evolving, as essentially I am just a young naive girl who doesn't really know herself or her surroundings yet. What I blog about maybe complete shit, but at least its something I'm passionate about right ?

Nico Theodorus said...

Very inspiring. The more I'm sitting down trying to find ideas for writing, the more I'm blocked. Would like to write out of courage, instead of expertise. Quite tickled by your "freedom", vvoi.

Ellen said...

Art can't really be experienced through a screen (except digital art, of course) - it's like having a discussion with a person on webcam, far too impersonal

Ellen at The Raven and the Cellar Door

Mar said...

For me, Art blogging is FREEDOM. I am free to express my art in form of writing. boudoir art

Van Gogh said...

"Blogging is about being stupid" - sounds true

Missy Beasley said...

Wow, yeah, I agree. Everyone is an artist only on different subjects. And, there are those who don't realize they are artists so they haven't yet learned how to focus that imagination onto something beautiful.

My specific area of art expertise is filmmaking and acting and it's like there is something new to learn about it every day.

I try and push the fact that these new filmmakers and actors are indeed artists on my site.

Steve Mars said...

I don't particularly agree you. Firstly art and even an art blog hopefully can still be what you or "I" want it to be, perhaps a water colour of my dogs playing in our sand-dunes, or a oil of a gorge in flood, etc etc.
Yes art can be other stuff as well, but that should not detract from other peoples enjoyment of their art.
I was pleased to see Miles was mentioned amongst your music preferences, but could not really understand why not mentioned first...but what no Kurt Vonnegut in the authors...
regards
Steve Mars, from the junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers waiting for the floods to arrive.

Josh Redman said...

I'd like to write a post on my own blog, related to Cornelius Cardew's quote that you mention here. Thought I should tell you before lifting it off your site! Incidentally, someone else called Cornelius is a really good electro-acoustic (techy with real sounds) music artist from Japan. Thanks!

Canvas Art Lover said...

Wow. I love your website. The information you put together is fun and easy to read. I will check back in a week or so to read more of your stuff. Great job and happy I found you.

Patrick's Blog said...

Everyone can be, and is an artist. Everyone can be skilled in different art forms, like painting, or music.

Anonymous said...

I love your site. I've been wanting to start one like it of my own for a long time but I don't think mine would be half as interesting. I love heraldic art and I'm a huge fan of Andrew Stewart Jamieson's work. Perhaps you could do a write up on it.

Chef de Palavar said...

Art is art when determined through perception whether to become art as art we know is art. Is art that is thought of as art but in reality non existent still art because one perceived it as art. The thought of art is art as art is not art. Art upside down is art again and art inside out might not be art, but a rat disguised as art.

Stacey said...

Not just artists - let's not forget about us art dealers as well! :) Writing about current market events, art news -- and our reaction to those occurrences -- is critical in pushing the art world forward.

Tribal Art Hunter | Professional Art Consulting and Buying

Art From Books said...

I think art blogging has its advantages and draw backs. The freedom to blog about your art or any art in what ever way you see fit. Your comments become part of the art also, a look at your direction etc

However i do agree that art blogging is a bit fussy when it comes to criticism. When you watch a film you discuss it, read a book discuss it. With artists it is almost as if you can only pat them on the back and say well done. Anything else is deemed out of order.

Granted it should not be bitchy, what is the point? But it should be honest

Ben Gage said...

"..an exercise in moving." I like the way you ended, you're an Art Handler.

ChrisB said...

When will you post again?

Nadia said...

Hi there! Just wanted to let you know I nominated you for a Stylish Blogger award! :) http://modestimages.blogspot.com/2011/03/blogger-award.html

BlogFront said...

Hi Kyiv,

BlogFront.org is committed to uphold the quality standards of blogging. We strive to maintain and promote only the most credible blogs in their respective fields.

Spam blogs or "splogs" has been a problem for some time now and people are getting confused about which blog to trust.

We would like to thank you for maintaining such a reputable blog. We know that it takes time, effort and commitment to keep such a blog and as such, we have added your blog as one of the top Art Blogs.

You can see your blog listed here: http://blogfront.org/art/4

You can also claim your BlogFront Top Blogs badge at http://blogfront.org/badges/art

Thank you for keeping your blog credible. Let's keep the blog revolution alive!

Maria Blanchard
BlogFront.org
Blog Revolucion

Alex Wilde - El Experimento said...

I can agree with you that "writing about art can become closer to making art". Of course, you have to be careful of what you write otherwise it could be used against you. But you gave me the impression of you being "arrogant" when you say that "Blogging is about being stupid."

jhon Mathew said...

Its actually only useful or every degree of critical potential the art blog opens up, so does it welcome a space for decidedly un-critical thinking.Everyone is an artist only on different subjects

party bags said...

I do agree. Internet helps a lot to people, especially in expressing one's expression and connecting to people.

umanbn said...

Not been on your site before...you are spot on with some observations, I find when blogging I dare myself to be say or post something I might not otherwise do. It places a distance between you and the viewer and yet is still direct....also on what is Art, who says when it is. If Art were only seen by one person would it still be Art...? Good stuff..

Wayne Tully said...

Blogging for me is to help anyone realise something, whether that's from their imagination or based on something that they have been influenced by. If certain parts and thoughts of art create ideas in someone, then that is something that can be productive for creativity and artistic freedom.

Michael Henderson said...

i think your first paragraph describing blogging as being about being stupid also describes the way I feel about making art. you have to be willing to make something even when the idea seems stupid sometimes.
and blogging also is about self promotion which has also always made me feel stupid.

DPLblog said...

"every once in a while, you, no, I discover that the reading remains on a level I am not satisfied with. It becomes a reading of another text, and so, once again, I have written a different text to the one I was writing. This happens, of course, with every creation. "

This is what makes blogging interesting - it's like writing in a journal where there's no purpose or goal in the text that come out, just a loose idea, much like drawing. I might "want" to draw a flower, but what comes out is a picture of the relationships between petals, or the space around the flower in a room, or your lover in the corner watching TV while you're drawing the flower. My blog is loosely based on thinking about my old art, but the stuff I've been writing winds up a little bit philosophy, a little bit journaling, and a little bit criticism of current events.

Nice blog.

(Mine's cleanstudio.blogspot.com if you're interested.)

Anonymous said...

Awesome post, I am passionate about philosophy and art, I'm not so good with specific art theory. My only thing is, I think more people need to apply the classics (such as Nietzsche or Plato) to contemporary art, espescially regarding our concept of self and our responsibilities to others. There's a blog that attempts to mix Philosophy, art and literature, and sort of succeeds, with the aim of mixing up and re-casting the ideas inherent to those 3 areas, it's www.johnnyhardcore.blog.com

picturethis6gmail.com said...

Art For Thought
Student or convert?
By Rich Klemm

Just for a time,I was not a Student of independent thought. I was fond of class academic and always have been.You see I am a working artist which at times needs to return to the classroom for drills and in my own craft. Showing no forthought to the instructor or the class premise that art is for the intellectual I feel art is to be seen as a single voice and not the unified voice of the instructor.
So the focus is on art education and not the primary use in the visual form sill what becomes of the individual wih both visual and the use of the academic. This would vary to the instructors belief that all of his/her method,should be a copy of their method th find the visual form and all seems to be a copy of the instuctord school of reasoning. and the visual aspect follows along untill the truth begins to become the final picture.
The students will copy the teachers syle and method using the way they were taught, Students follow the aspects of the teacher but, because of independent thoughts, methods, and thinking crete their own art. which adjusts to the way or reason.

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