The Use of 'Art'

............................................................................................................................................................
....................

These musings leave us with the question: why ‘art’? If Playing the City truly hopes to shake people from mindlessness, would it not have been better to have gone un-publicized, and to be disconnected from the ideas of ‘art’ or the ‘art gallery’? Why have these ideas been mixed up with the project in the first place?

We’ve seen that Playing the City has radical intentions – to confront, to provoke mindful thought – and we’ve also seen how, through its associations with ‘art’ it works against these intentions. We’ve seen that, beyond the province of the artisan, ‘art’ is often an arbitrary term that is used to describe an in-between area; an area that, by its nature, defies the use of labels and fixed definitions (defies the use of ‘art’); and that the ‘artist’ is often simply a person who is able to inhabit this area, to swim as well as walk.

To name something ‘art’ is in many ways a concession to transcendence; it is to take the unknowable and to make it safe, to tether it and to make it acceptable to those who do not swim. The artist (the in-between person), more than anyone, realises the absurdities of these labels and he uses them with care, aware of the dangers of rising too high: of losing sight of the sea. He understands that labels have their uses, that they can often be valuable; but he also sees that they are often not quite as solid as we think they are, that they are cracked, and can crumble.

And so the in-between person will always question the use of ‘art’, especially in reference to his own thoughts and actions. He understands that its use is a concession – that, sometimes it may be necessary in order to make himself understood – but that, in mooring his actions to this term, he has also pared them down.

If Playing the City were truly intended as a radical event, is it wise that it has associated itself with such a well-worn and safe term as ‘art’? How much more effective would these events have been if ‘art’ - the life-jacket for those in need - was not safely in reach? Sure, some may have drowned; but equally, others may have learnt to swim…

We could consider this an oversight on behalf of those involved, but it may also be illuminating to search for another explanation…



- Contents
< Blunt Tool?
> PLAYING THE ART GAME

No comments:

Post a Comment