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Sunday, 8 May 2011

Have you seen the work of...?



finally, does it ever end
finally the penny drops...
this question the bane of every student of art


the thing is
when ‘they’
say HAVE YOU SEEN THE WORK OF…
'they' are being helpful - but don’t say why -
and you say;
what about my work?
or you say;
yes I have seen the work of;
what about my work?

and it seems like 'they' are trying to stick a sock in your baby voice
just as the first words tumble out…
you want to be original but you don’t know what that is
and you don’t know why
or maybe you know for certain
or maybe you have an inkling
whatever
but you know
it’s very important for some reason.

Sadly,
though there are clues
dots if you like
for you to join up,
you may not recognise them.

Here’s the secret;
it’s academic art
that’s it
and academic art can only live within discourse
so you need to know who else write, paints sculpts, installs, performs, dances, dreams, thinks, draws, philosophizes like you,
or you like them to be more accurate
or perhaps not,
then you can explore how they thought, what they did, how they did it, why they did it
what were their concerns and intentions, who were their influences and what was their form
this is so that you can enter into a dialogue with 'them'
and through this dialogue discover
if you like
how your work is the same and how it is different.

It stops your work being cliche
and enables both you and them ’them’ to place you work
have an idea where it sits
develop a shared language
learn how that language works
how words,
slippery worms, of communication,
work in this context
this common ground

it’s a good thing!

BUT beware…

it may be a good thing for ‘them’ more than you.
once placed, it enables ‘them’ to judge your work in relation to it
let me give an example.
Imagine an early student of physics getting in and out of the bath and discovering the displacement of water, who then rushes off to share the discovery with the science teacher.
We’ll say nothing of apples acorns and conkers falling from trees - you get the idea.

The upshot is that the student is told that someone got there before -
So take heart - ‘Have you seen the work of…”
is really shorthand for,

“Your work is really interesting, you have reached deep inside and produced this, and that’s good. I am aware of other budding artists, scientists mud wrestlers who have discovered a similar way to yours. If you look at their work it will enable and empower you to engage in a dialogue which will eventually move you forward, for example have you seen the work of…”

but life is short and ‘they’ have their own agendas, so you just get the end bit.

What interests me is who has looked at how this phenomena works -
How is it that I can produce, without “knowing the work of” work similar “to the work of”?
What's the mechanism - is there one by which two individuals - so called - are gifted with the same breath of life?
I’ll slope off now
reminding you that you signed up for the course
thereby inventing a world in which it can be easy to lose yourself
and your grip on whatever reality is, hopefully,
and asking myself the question,
“Have you seen the work of Alfred Korzybski and time binding?”

Hopefully some passing cyber-surfing-junkie reading this will comment by saying... "Have you seen the work of..."

Thanks Gary and Alfred.