May 6, 2011

On invention

Administrator's note: This is an excerpt from an email I received about last night's performance; my response follows:

"The show was a great chance to get a better understanding of your work by seeing examples made from different stages of your method development. Three years ago, I remember having no idea how you could do something new with the theme. I still don't. But I've no doubt you will find another way to go with it. Does it feel like the entire burden of invention is yours alone?, because generally it takes a society to make something new from what is already there. Where does your input come from when you invent a new way to complete a panel? Is it from all of the books you read?"

As usual, Emily, your correspondence inspires. Often I am not moved to consider a piece "post" but in this case it is an on-going continuum of "pieces" - this you are aware of - that remains within the "system," and thus retains whatever "meaning" is to be found by residing within that system.

The practice of the artist is his/her system. Definitions, meanings, responses, refutations and, most importantly, discourse emanate from their practice. My actions upon text, inextricably bound within my readings and teachings of linguistics, semiotics, structuralism and post-structuralism, issue forth from a simple methodology (bisected text) but are evolving from my imagination. In speaking on it with those who are interested, I find myself describing what seems a logical progression - from "static objects" to games, to participation through deciphering, to "real time" transcription. This has lead me to new recognitions - on "public vs. private," on spatio-temporality, on performance, on memory - yet it somehow always returns to the discursive site; the "locus of meaning."

Although I completely understand what you mean about how we bear the "burden of invention," I prefer to speculate that once one's art practice has gelled, the "invention" and evolution of that practice should easily generate "invention." If ideas are machines that make the art, then that process naturally evolves new/different versions, or reactions, or even methodologies. I am constantly considering CAD work, although I remain currently pleased with my immersion in personal and shared "hand-made" objects/installations. The energy that comes from both the partner-performers (like yourself) and the viewer-participant very readily "completes" the "work." Duchamp said it best: "The spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualification and thus adds his contribution to the creative act."

Other possibilities for me (and you) to unravel: the idea of "public art," which has not been fully unpacked, i.e., the role of interaction/participation to make artworks truly public; the contextual specifics of the multiple "sites" where art is found, including the discursive; the "ethics" of spectatorship in the production of art and its "exchange use." All these and more will consume me in the time that remains to explore.

I thank you for your comments. Watch this space, as always, for continued information and conversation.