Art Squeek - Up from Minimalism

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Up from Minimalism

(UFM) On this page: {} {Translations in UFM} {Basic Philosophy} {Artists are Different} {} {}

Translations in UFM

For film-makers, the more emotional and human the subject matter, the more different they believe the work to be done to translate the reality (real or otherwise) to the silver screen. This goes back to the narrative and the story: The narrative is: The Queen died, and then the King died. The story is: The Queen died, and then the King died of a broken heart. Of course the more human and identifiable the emotions, the more abstract the expression can be. And of course in performance art (and other non-filmic art; eg, game play) *any* abstraction can be used to create the translation. THIS is the lesson of minimalism that is lost in the modern era. Note that in the film "Potemkin", it is the boucing baby carriage that carries so much truth - even the person being shot in the eye is less horrifying and the help-less-ness of the baby. From Rothko to Rhinehardt is the span from the abstract/ emotional to the minimalist/un-emotional; ie, from the viceral to the surgical. One can feel the emotion in Rothko's work because every brush stroke is so clearly torn from his life and world-view, but in Rhinehardt, we must KNOW/LEARN what he is to understand the outrage that he is expressing. And thus, there are (at least) two different goals to art: To evoke understanding, --or-- to provoke mystery. When we use understanding as the vehicle of our work, then we hope to involve the viewerin our more subtle view of the world via a message that we want to communicate clearly - despite the fact that the viewer/participant may have to dig a bit. In the case of mystery, we purposefully withold key information (often THE keys to decoding the mystery), so as to intrigue and draw the viewer in. For example, in John Cage's "Four minutes" of silence, the viewer's own ambient experience pourse into the space provided - in much the same way that a visitor to a museum pours (if they are not pre-hensile or pre-sensile) their own thoughts into an abstract and especially a minimalist work; assuming that they haven't "SPOILED" the experience by reading the museum label. In both cases, the effort to decode/understand the art work may be too much --or-- the viewer may just not be in the mood for that kind of work; eg, not in the mood for some John Cage, but expecting some Mozart, communication Generation, Black Star, Coltrane, etc.

Basic Philosophy

Almost by necessigy, the artist must be involved; ie, committed to the life and times of the artist. This is NOT a question of faith in man, his destinies, nor in any general idea whether scientific or spiritual. It is a statement through expression to the firmest and boldest ideas (both good and bad) that the world expresses. We as artists hope for the best, and yet all of our outrage at indifference, predjudice and greed is for the most part ignored by governments, businesses, etc - and we are only sought out when some nice decorative work needs doing. Thus, our dedication to the existence and existance as well as some hopefull future existince that will be better than the present is the projection of ourselves as humans that just happen to be artists. The transformation from bystander to victim is the torture that *must* drive the artist's committment. To stand idly by while the blurble of the fourth estate is waltzed into a dark recess of the House of Usher by the regimes of the world - is an atrocity that can not stand; the matrix must be challenged - even though it may mean our death. And the regimes and status quo realises that simply to ignore us may yet serve even better for the abys of oblivion is omni-present. THen we walk the steps; and we are beaten and we can only express in crying and pleading our selves what we have known to be going on for all the time that there have been tyrants and comfort that silences most voices. And that is why (i in the particular was transformed from a "mere" letter writer in Amnesty International into a gothic shadow of my former self - a lurking artist who knows the deepest extent of torment and the involvement that such knowledge provokes. To be otherwise is to be a dabbler -- always in the sunshine and whisling a happy tune past grave yards and worse that one hardly acknowledges. But, even a dabbler can not predict what event might allow the muses to transform us into a committmenteur rather than just a dabbler.

Artists are Different

In his novel, "Breakfast of Champions", the writer (often SciFi writer) Kurt Vonnegut delves into the idea that "artists are different, they don't think like normal people". [Vonnegut, Pp. 167 & 229-230] And as artists, we must feel free to reject or embrace or ignore (or dress in a nice hat) ANYTHING. An artist friend of mine once said how artist had to be so smart because we have to learn so much; ie, to be able to transform history, science, technology, events, etc into art. Yes, but more mainly to be smart *differently*; the artist as liberator (at least from the mundane). Rejecting even the "holy" Aristotlean western reductionist logic, etc.