I was faced with the proposal of doing a distillation of my work for a cd-rom, but in the end, I voted against it, because I simply did not want to present a reduction or derivation. So there’s a dual motive; most importantly, there’s the artistic one that says that an object is an object, and cannot be reduced or explained properly, much like when you try to help someone achieve a vicarious pleasure by describing an experience to them, that they weren’t party to experiencing firsthand. You know that you’re going to fail if you ultimately want to recreate your enthusiasm.
But there’s also the mischievous pleasure found in the possible disinformation aspects of creating a whole body of work — one which lacks obvious lines of support within other, more established sources.
It’s like a “faith” thing. We take faith when we’re devout; but we also take faith when it gives us comfort, or even when we’re lazy; ie, too lazy to read into something by ourselves. We ask to have our hands held, we remember parents reading to us and taking care of us, and suddenly, we’re in an age where the glut of information overwhelms us and faces us with the challenge of reading, which at times we know to be a greater challenge — of our good sense, because we also know that much of what’s written and published no longer has that required stamp of authority. Everything everyone says now seems to emerge from a position of authority. Any semi-literate person can host a web-page; and if the design looks professional enough, we choose to believe in that party’s authority, to say whatever they believe, even if it lacks the research and support to back it.
And then there’s the general feeling that no one likes to stand out as a nay-sayer, so few people will bring that role back upon themselves to bring down false authorities; the rewards often appear too thin for doing so.
I’m definitely intrigued by systems, and by artists who use systems in their work. Peter Greenaway, for example, whose paintings show an entirely “other” side to his filmmaking, and which he has always admitted to be a wholly artificial construct. You always know that what your seeing looks artificial. You just don’t always know why.
And sometimes, that bothers the more naturalistic aspects of film-going, because we see reality depicted artificially, as though it were true reality, when in fact it’s not. We know that films aren’t real, but we like to believe that they are. So when they don’t enable us with our belief, we reject them as bad or unfriendly. But if you consider film as 24 paintings a second, you might be in the audience for an entirely different reason, having more to do with entertaining the eye, with light.
Music: it’s pure sound, when it’s at its best. If we decide that imposing a formal construct upon it is the only solution, we get into secondary issues which might often detract from the primary one, which is organized sound, to be post-Cageian about it. We see the storytelling aspects of Opera or Country music as natural, because their folk aspects are centuries old. But in another way, their time has come, if we are truly in a post-PostModern age.
We have just come from deconstructing popular art form with Modernism, and post-Modernism is already a relationship we have with the past. We’re always post-something. Since the early 90s, we’re in a place, where the artist’s awareness, or attitude about hyper-professionalism is what is on display. Ease of creating an illusion and affordibility all adds up to make a good artistic statement.