Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Crazy Busy Week

I'm going to have to take a break from blogging this week to wrap up some work that simply must get done, which is kind of too bad really, as I'd love to delve into this article by Benjamin Genocchio on artists who use and/or abuse documentary principles:
Artists also complicate traditional assumptions about documentary imagery by restaging, rehearsing, or simply evoking past events for the camera. Matthew Buckingham’s “Will Someone Please Explain It to Me, I’ve Just Become a Radical” (2008), consists of 12 photographs of the interior of a building at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where in 1967 a sit-in against recruitment on the campus by Dow Chemical, manufactures of napalm, used in bombs during the Vietnam War, ended in a violent police action against the protesters. The artist invites us to project our own thoughts onto these now empty interiors.
Don't let my schedule stop you though...I'll moderate comments remotely, but won't be able to post again until next week...

See you then.

Labels: break


Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Artists do abuse of documentary, as they abuse of cinema or even sometimes philosophy.

I think there was a film debating about the aesthetic of Edward Burtynsky's photographs versus what they aimed to communicate.
What are are ethics in documentary
if any and are artists abusing from them and vice-versa (are documentarists abusing art by their fake dramatizations of events)?

They are also too many video artists who make simple short narrative films that should be projected in standard cinema screening rooms. The distanciation from the cinema world is irrelevant in most places. It is as if artist expect that screening rooms are not serious, made for entertainment, while the gallery is a space suited for analysis and reflection. This is not true. A cinema is just like a gallery, its
purpose is both to entertain and make people think, depending on the material shown. Unless there is a prescient need to objectify the projection screen itself, or to use complex projection logistics that are broadening from what a standard projection room can offer, there is a lot of chance your video belongs to the cinema world, including its long experimental tradition.

Finally, if an artist write a philosophy book and present it as an art piece, that's also irrelevant. There's philosophy, and there's your art piece. Both are saying very different things.
I forgot who said that current artists have replaced current philosophers as guiders for thought, but there is a problem with this. Because artists are very concerned about their apparatus, with "the ways" they are presenting their arguments often superceding the arguments themselves. The philosopher is concerned less with art and more with thought. At some point in this you reach a limit that art simply has a different time to transgress. You come to an edge where you need to separate what is art from what is thinking, and for some art, it means differenciating between looking at a book on a shelf and actually reading it.


Cedric Caspesyan

10/14/2008 08:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

People who hate Canada, be happy, because Stephen Harper looks like he's winning his place for
presidency as I write. And this means torturous pain and agony.

And so it also means adios artists and adios all fun rights like gay rights.

I truly believed that people would be more than happy to get the opportunity to get rid of Harper.

Oh god, sorry I have to go barf..


10/14/2008 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger Iris said...

I agree with you, Cedric, I also don't really get this categorization of 'video art'. Cinema is an artform in itself, and I would think video art would become a branch of the moving image art forms but it seems to be branched together with visual art, maybe the connection is still photography? I would also think performance art would branch together with theater, but I suppose this art form stemmed from visual artists experimenting with performance, so it was categorized as a visual art. If it was started by actors it would probably belong to theater, although as Cedric mentions, there's a great tradition of experimental cinema and I would add also experimental theater.

Cedric, you also mention philosophy, I suppose that's part of the confusion in the artworld today which. I don't think I'm bothered with this confusion just because I (or we) have a need to categorize and organize and systematize in an obsessive compulsive way, and not accept chaos as the fundamental basis on which life is based(or am I?). Rather because as an artist I feel very confused and disconnected, I feel I am not sure what is required of me. As Cedric says, it does seem like artists are expected to be 'guiders for thought', putting art in a completely different position than it ever was. Artists do transmit their 'thoughts' through art, but art reflects the times and not dictates it. Artists have an influencing force in breaking down the barriers of thought and transcending thought beyond the common conception, but mostly as carriers of the message, not originating it. I suppose what conceptual art is trying to say, is that art is an originator, and perhaps that is where this expectancy of artists to be the 'guiders' comes from. But traditionally, any talented musician, gifted author, brilliant scientist or painter will tell you, the creative process is a process of opening up to the stream of creativity that flows through your body and mind and out of you into the medium you are using, whether it's a masterpiece or a great invention/discovery. No true genius take the credit for themselves as the actual conceptor, I believe, just like most parents are humbled knowing the conception created by the union of sperm and egg which came out of their own bodies does not make them the 'creators' of the child, only the conduit through which the greatness of creation is transferred.

(I hope I don't sound religious here though, I'm not.... my point is that again, as Cedric says, it's the job of philosophy and religion to try and understand or explain or rationalize the unexplainable, it's the job or art to merely reflect it, nothing more).

Thanks for the good comment, Cedric.

10/15/2008 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Iris said...

ooops, so many typos in my post... I hope it's understood anyway, in the last sentence I meant to say 'it's the job of art' not 'or art'..

10/15/2008 02:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

I have to say that I have done video installations in the past,
and they were very narrative and cinematic, but they were not your standard single screen movie. More like Sam-Taylord Wood's "Third Party".

Also, it's very natural for art to philosophize or reference philosophy. Maybe in fact it always does that. But I'm concerned about the limits of art as a philosophy itself. That philosophy that lends all powers to art as the supreme format of expression and thinking. Because art remains a form of spectacle, and I think that's where Joseph Beuys failed when he reached that limit where he saw art as the ultimate philosophy, when he was actually tumbling out of art and embracing philosophy itself.

There is a point where an artist should know when to switch: "ok, I'm not doing art anymore, this is philosophy". Art can be a great vehicule for philosophy but it's important to discern that moment when philosophy supercede art (in fact exactly where it always should), which itself becomes redundant, because the medium, or the artefact, can indeed be reductive or embarassing to the ideas being communicated (perhaps because art is always and forever encumbered by aesthetic questions). The same goes for bad political art when the art is really inconvenient but the ideas essentials. Sometimes there is point in NOT making art because that's really not where you're at.

Of course, as far as criticism goes, that line can be very subtle, and it's really a case by case issue. I'm only attacking marginal exceptions. Not the legacy of conceptual art, but its excesses.


Cedric Caspesyan

10/15/2008 03:48:00 PM  

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