Thursday, May 30, 2013

I distrust my disbelief.

It's something I've taught myself to do when working on an art project. Of course, things go wrong, and I might be heading the wrong direction. But most of the time, once I'm in the process, there is no way of telling. And I do lose faith. I stop seeing any magic whatsoever in what I'm currently making. Without magic things are the opposite of art - so could I be doing the opposite of what I should be doing? Aren't all the other grasses on potential other sides greener?
This is where the critical mind comes in handy, in a paradoxical way. I hear myself think all these "rational" thoughts, these fair criticisms of my own endeavor. And I distrust them. I don't consider myself fit to judge this objectively, and treat myself as a simple worker who needs to keep on working and stop whining. Rationalized whining is still whining. Actually, it's whining of the worst kind, because it uses rhetorical tricks. And it doesn't befit someone of passion - which any artist damn better be.
(Oh, and obviously sometimes the magic appears, after a while. And makes me smile, quite condescendingly, and somewhat complacently, at my whining, disbelieving self.)

 Mario Merz, Untitled
(an exhibition of his is opening at the Paris Gagosian)

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Dancing for Yourself

Awesome, isn't it?
Dancing for yourself is the best, and we all (?) know the feeling of something that is so good it should really be changing the world. Sometimes, we take things just a notch further, and include our private rituals in the non-private world, as if testing what the world can handle. But this esthetic extension is usually our little secret. We sometimes share its secret powers with a select group (maybe grafitti, but also psycho-geography, flash mobs, or even sharing a smile with a stranger who caught us laughing to ourselves...).
Here we have the secret revealed. Dance does change the world. Nothing is ever going to be the same. Say hello to a different persona, space, movement, sound, life.

Now that we've gotten this far, you need to know something: this event was staged. The person dancing is a performer, and what you have just seen is an art project.
This information changes the experience of watching the video (or in this case, it actually changes the experience of having watched it!). So here is someone who was acting as if they were putting their private ritual spontaneously out in the open. Someone who was building a universe for us to see and interpret. Preparing our experience. Possibly - preparing exactly what we felt before we learned this was a set-up.
This knowledge seems to be making it more difficult to fully enjoy the event. After all, what a staging implies we know all too well, and though charming it may be... feels like keeping a safety net, a secure distance.

Finally, the last step: Let's assume that possibly, this first video was, after all, a genuine, spontaneous dance. There is no final answer. The evidence is not convincing, either side. Once we're in the world of such uncertainties, how does it feel to watch the spectacle?
The work is not about excluding Gene Kelly. Or the prepared-choreography-space. It's about including the lady from the bus stop (let's say she is an anonymous passer-by). The work is to have Gene face the challenge and acknowledge the other dancer. The one that seems to be her or his own spectator, that remains their own private dancer, and that keeps making our day.


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