Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Writing About Writing About Art.

I like art and I like words, on all levels: creating, experiencing and thinking about them. Its difficult to say if one is better than the other, that would be like comparing an apple to a pear; they are just different. My preference see-saws between the two.

Sometimes I like words more than art because they have the potential to be more utilitarian, it don't have all these needless, superfluous decorations and images to beautify the ideas like art. This is only a thought I have occasionally, of course because I also relish in vapidly illustrative forms, like artwork on kitsch home wares and common culture tee shirt image designs. On my days of loving words and their simplicity that trumps visual art by in terms of communicating ideas, I usually eat simply also, taking pleasure in bread, butter and water, and prefer to walk places rather than catch trams for destinations a short distance away.

Its difficult to choose what format the writing will take. I could revel in sarcasm, hiding big concepts behind juvenile bravado, but does anyone take that seriously? Will the distance between myself, the writer and the audience cause them to think I'm a fool as opposed to just posing as a fool? If I write too seriously, too academically, I feel fake. A fraud dressing up words in sheep's clothing. As you can see I've never been very good at mixing my metaphors. That path in between entertaining and intelligent when writing is not an easy one to navigate.

One desire I have when writing is to match the form of my writing to the subject matter, for example: when I'm writing about a repitition, I'm tempted to follow suit and write in a repetitive fashion. On one occasion I was writing about how art academia can be needlessly complex and I had to fight the urge to write in an overly complicated, convoluted way. Needless to say I still feel a twinge of desire to write the word 'write' a lot.

Truth of the matter is that most big art ideas or concepts can usually be described in plain English with just a word or a sentence, and this isn't a failing of the art works ability to be conceptually rich and complex, but more of an achievement of language and human understanding, for example, 'relational aesthetics is just art that uses people and human interaction and that (the actual actions between people) or the documentation of the interaction as the art', 'post structuralism is the super melding of everything because the structures and hierarchy of different subject matter no longer exist', 'Romeo and Juliet is about a love so great that not even life is worth living without it' and 'Mash-ups are musical collages'. Complex can be made simple quite easily.

Blogs are notorious for being opinionated, but, I don't think I've ever read a newspaper article wasn't opinionated also. Its what we do as human beings when we communicate.

The biggest problem is that the author knows their own thoughts and opinions, whereby which they have little value to the author because they are common, so the difficult part is the justification of writing and recording thoughts to be transmitted to others. I end up evoking one part of the spirits of dead punk rockers and one part of Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox and just screaming 'Cuss it! I'll write what I want! Whoever has a problem with it: cuss them!'. Every piece of writing written about writing about art should end with both a reference to punk ideology and a Wes Anderson film. You can't get more opinionated than that.

1 comment:

Augusta Supple said...

I like how you write.

And I think writing is at it's best when it leaves room enough for the reader to respond - otherwise writing about art becomes advertising.
Sometimes I find it difficult to find the words to express a grand, rambunctious response (love and hate arm-wrestling as they do, and me the hapless victim loving my hatred of the messiness of a response.) - and sometimes words fail as they interrupt something pure and quiet and perfect: an afternoon walk, bread with butter etc.
I like that words (especially strings of 'em) take longer than an image to ingest.
I like that an image is immediate and takes no time to ingest - and can (mnemonically at least) hang about long past the event.
The problem with words, with writing is wonderful and forever.
My problem with being a writer is my need to be in the world- not just writing about it (or theatre).
Writing about art can be tricky - because a response can grow and transform one's opinion (as all conversations do) and words remain static in our transforming selves.
My writing is often capturing the transient - the response to a transient form of communication.