Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sensing discourse

"- What is the role of the artist?
- To not get tired of running all his life."

The Critical Run initiative, by Thierry Geoffroy, at first glance, appears exciting. Lighthearted and simple, yet livening. Take a group of people and make them discuss serious issues - while jogging.
Let's run and talk. Let's have fun and share. Let's move. See what happens - to us, to the surroundings, to the topic.
It reminds me of some of the Lone Twin works, and of other, more discursive, initatives.
But then you see the videos.

- and you realize why this is a copyrighted format. Actually, it's not about the conversation at all. It's about the hilarious situation of displacing discourse into a territory that is not its own. It's about creating a mess with a mass. And hoping (?) for a miracle of super-discourse through a discourse-smashing environment. As we all know from films, the most profound ideas arise on boxing rings.
But wait! It gets better!

Oh, Canada!
Think! Exchange! Travel far! As long as you can fit it on a headband...

But let's be honest. Discourse is a problem for the work of art, if it stays within the aesthetic experience. It either gets chewn up by the experience or we move out (last movement?) of the aesthetic experience and into the realm of plays-on-ideas. Which is also a tough blow.
Then we have to face the perspective of functioning as anyone else who thinks. And running with them. And quite possibly getting completely lost, syncopated, out-of-breathed, shafted, as my teenage years would put it (notice the momentum of the word). No wonder one can feel the need to go back and, well, try to, well, do, well, something about the loss. Someone like John Baldessari*, witty enough to both play the artsy world and keep his eyes on the ball:

And, to get a fuller picture, how else, a remix of the remix:

Is the relief you feel when being able to read accompanied by a feeling of the loss of Baldessari's purity? Could it be there is not enough movement? But then again, isn't it nice to feel that a words translates into a thought?
One of the videos of the Critical Runs is entitled "Does the artist has any impact on society?" (sic!)
There is one comment underneath: "Not in bad English you don't. Does anyone have..."

* For a succint intro to John Baldessari, see the stylishly designed FLYP magazine.

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