We can think within the box, outside the box, behind the box, or refuse to open the box or close it.
I think Dr. Amador brings up up compelling issues that need to be addressed because the neo-liberal university, in fact, and it should be no contest, is a not the most optimal avenue for an art education to be achieved.
All artists working in any medium, are themselves works-in-progress, always-already even before charcoal hits the page or text manifests digitally in MS Word through the typing of words.
I’d like to think of this inability to pinpoint where we are at, in terms of where art is, or what it is, should be called a kind of transdimensional issue. Why? By transdimensional, I simply mean the academy, nor artists themselves have a solid epistemic nor reliably canonical frame of reference on which to stand.yet.
An MFA program, for example, in many respects is supposed “to open doors,” bu there is difference between the art market, connections, networking, and actual “Art Thinking” as described by Luis Camnitzer.
Does it makes sense to send people who know already how create “the best art” or are “the best” at art to school for art? Why should they even go to school then? Should it not be otherwise–that those who do not know how how to make the best should go to school for it ? Think about it. It comes with a price.
One must ask themselves, however, a much more naked question: how are we, as a creature, to be with art? What good is it for us, and also does it bring us closer to what we wish to see or what we wish to not see? To sense of our own confinement? To sense freedoms? Freedom, as Kant explicated positively, is coextensive with the self.
Here, however, we are talking about state education ending and a new era dawns, and freedom in art, in contemplating its meaning in “art thinking” or, if you want, in thinking about art as way of beginning to start to think at all.
Maybe, thought does not even really happen until there is a object to which thought is attached, through which meaning is generated, by which we can levy or allow to rise,heavy or light that meaning, held up on one side of the scales of Final Judgment against the weight of the Feather of Truth.
What if all the academese–that this or another—that we spout is nothing but a horror show compared to what the artist is attempting to convey? I think critics of the neoliberal university, both within it, and outside it, should be listening to artists more, rather than merely staring at them, and/or objectifying them. I am not talking about willfully aligning with the intended purposes of the artist’s vision. What I think should be considered is the re-ability to see after one has not seen, and re-ability to hear after one has not heard, as if for eons one has not seen or heard, as if no one ever knew, as if no one really understood what art is for the mind of the creator of any given work of art.
It is not creativity alone that should mystify us, nor any of its ideological underpinnings, or any matrix or set of unruly coordinates upon which pieces or fragments of what can be known are situated.
Perhaps, art is not the antecedent, condition or consequence of our experience, but a prerequisite for knowledge.
What I see is a cubism of sorts taking place in the arena deciphering what the neoliberal university is really for other than created informed consumers who from a compare/contrast structure can choose between produce A and B and also tell you why, the reasoning behind their decision;, and more specifically, (and believe me, I loathe that I just used the word “cubism” this way,: however, we are living in a time where art functions on many levels both cognitively, spatio-temporally, politically, as well as epistemically it might as well be a hybrid of two ideas stitched to a image colored lilac, yet has an extra branch or arm growing out from underneath it that does have rhyme or reason for being there, and is not so much the tangling up of dimensions, but inability to see the seams or decision not to care why art itself is not exactly an academic exercise, nor a means to arrive at an academic exercise.
Before their essays, teachers picked up sand, wrote on it often to elucidate the idea of change and transience.
The slow death of of state education is actually a transformation from a site of “memorized skill sets and creative technologies” dictated by an occasional expert, into something more ideologically-driven, neoliberal bastion for global agendas, wherein thought is made simple in an effort for it to spread, which has lead many artists to thwart liberal arts or other-non-engineering undergraduate degrees to occupy a free-floating space betwixt theory and practice, between academia and actual creation, between commercialism and alienated inanity (obscurity), and always, always in exile within the society that does so desperately want art to be part of their lives, yet cannot pin-point the reason for why that is the case. Yes, we want to be entertained and marvel of human ingenuity. Yes, we can appreciate things like “craft” and “skill,” etc. Yet “art thinking” is something much more.
Art-thinking requires what I would call a cubo-labyrinthine transdimensionalism: an ease of mobility to get through the ideological maze by way of leaping from one dimension or sphere of thought to another in order to elucidate how the whole or system works. In a way, "Art thinking’ helps us understand the features of art, as if we were traveling through a worm-hole, and each worm-hole is just a door within the labyrinth created to serve as an automatic exit to the labyrinth, which can perhaps lead to fresh dimension of thought and/or lead to new (perhaps less obtuse) discourse (present company included).
Here are some “cubo-labyrinthine transdimenisionalist” axioms to consider if one can conceive of a cubist subjectivity within a meritocratic maze, where one’s mobility is contingent on what one thinks, and not on what one owns or has.
a) The game of creative technology is a game of politics; not for one, but for a multitude.
b) 21st century alienation does not come within, it comes through without, as a result of the phantasms associated within conceiving the multitude.
c) Social relations in regards to creative technology are often framed as “cultural events” and delegate bourgeois fads without us knowing why. Some fads are born from critical theory, Frankfurt School, say, or all the way up to Deleuze, even Badiou. This fad looping effect, much like a poetic line “turns” constantly," does not help. It should indicate to us that French theory is greater than its own literature (or rather has become that way), and that the Cartesian cogito is the being qua being, the subject to be understood as the displaced space of low-brow subjective gossip.
How did this happen?
Because “cultural elites” of any stripe, in literature, music, painting, by definition, occupy a a space high on the “totem pole.” Is that the most wisest way to know what art is, to understand art? For some expert high on a totem pole to tell us what it is? (and subsequently, splatter its meaning with kerosene, light a match, burn it away)
What about artists outside academic approval?
d) The proletarian artist is often shunned or ridiculed by his contemporaries, in spite the creative technology found his or her art’s own art, sinks to the bottom of the sea for a reason (an ideological reason). But the end has not yet arrived.
What if MFA programs of the past, were simply a way of throwing the gauntlet down, incensing Beauty to anger? What if at the bottom of the sea, proletarian artists are, in fact, free in a sense: they continue to create flotsam (their art) and jetsam (their own alienated selves), but their artistic vision and self matures enough to produce a real work of art? Is that a contradiction because art is is by definition, “artifice,” (fake), as opposed to the actual. (Plato), three steps away from the idea?
We are told by the great teachers in American creative writing programs: forget yourself and write. Don’t worry just write. Yet, I could easily just write the word “the” over and over again, not only filling up pages, therefore not worrying at all, and just writing. Hence, art as taught creative technology is a fake endeavor about learning how to make things fake (four steps removed from the idea, after mimesis)
But is the material mobile?
Does it move?
Is it disturbing? In some sense or not at all?
Is the work complex?
Is there affectation at some level?
Perhaps. all these things, or none or some.
How are we to “take” or understand participatory art or art that involves the observer or the audience itself, if all our lives we brought up believing in the arm’s length space litmus threshold for intimacy? What is participatory art not doing except challenging that notion? Open a space for interaction? Yet why is there a need for this? Is there a schismatic
fractured self, that wants to be whole again. Are we driving for some self=reflexive, sudden politically charged moment or Utopian moment of mindfulness. The New Age explanations and justifications run ad infinitum (a fad that forces you to enjoy your Utopian moment or else–which creates a disturbance or awkward social space where one’s left wondering what we are supposed to understand because one has not been paying attention)
so now then e) Fully immersed in the the abyss of literary restraint (upon which Franz Kafka proposed an ice-pick to used to release the liquidity of meaning), flotsam and jetsam subsists with the “art thinking’s” help, that is, by allowing art to retain its burning desire to come to the surface, where art and self might launch into the air, having had cracked ice, through the frozen sea, ascended to the surface where “the culture elite” are fishing—not hidden from sight any longer; for they are on vacation; they have tackle-boxes; and bait, that is critical theory books…and there is artist who happens to evoke imagery or text or an experience will bury himself and herself in a critical theory compendium, about that same experience, good, bad, or ugly to extract one single “artistic thought”.
f) There are reason why a book is never finished. Because it’s ready to be re-read. Some of the time, it the writer’s fault that one must re-read, other times to the benefit of both the reader and the writer. The majority of the time, that is the case. Yet when a critic’s library, packed to the brim, with highest caliber or echelon of literary tastes, is not fully read, but is only half-read or quarter-read, then what kind of expert are they. If they have never created, why are they playing zookeeper?
Both Camnitzer and Badiou are right in calling for or conjuring a thought paradigm that questions not only arts place in the world, but the philosophy of art, so that there in is, in fact, dialogue and intimacy between creator/the artist and the audience, the laymen, who engages with art or desire, too, to use “Art Thinking” to apprehend aesthetic experiences.
The only obligation that an artists have to prove to themselves is answer the question: did I fully complete, and even fulfill or fully realize that which before was only scraps or shards of “art-thinking”, as a prerequisite for knowledge?
g) As such, then, “creative technology” is not executed by artists, alone, out freedom, but is, in fact, guided by the cultural producers of “intellectual property,” which constantly attempts to revolutionize the modes of production, therefore making art and desire for art worthy of a topic to be studied, which is to be expected, and demanded by the public sector, non-profit sector, if not wholly acceptable by the masses, which are, like something out of Roman Emperor’s Caligula’s political purges, eager to critique art in an effort to belittle it.
h) Because of the death of state education and movement into this fluctuating predicament I have called cubo-labyrinthine transdimensionalism, the engineers of “creative technologies” have choices:
- they can continue and do heed the warning of popular philosophers, go on and play out the role of the bourgeois in the context “of craft”, as they have done in the past,
or 2) artists can subvert this broken hermeneutic paradigm’s demand for an aesthetic revolution as a way out where the public’s taste is the selfsame critique for its wanting to be “cultural” in the first place.
Then there is another way to see it, number 3) sell out, write to the market, work for “the Man” out of fear of losing money or being destitute or bankrupt in the future (and perhaps not entering the neoliberal university for an MFA degree and acquiring its perks? Amenities? Favors? Therefore…join the ranks of the enemy of art art even).
The third option happens often.
i) Those who do not know how to make the best art in school, however, can learn skills that could lead to art outside of school.There are many reasons to not embrace “art thinking.” Too many, in fact, and might and most likely will remain within the territory of academic constructions, not an actual school of art, even if such an art is only fledgling.
Consequently, public appeal does not warrant the status of a meaningful art. Whether by image or text or animation or drama or music, it is the public that should be stirred to the utmost core of their meaning; they should be disturbed without knowing they are stirred; puffed up without knowing they are puffed up; taught without knowing what,why, and how they know-----otherwise any artist who remembers what freedom was like, that is, of a pre-911 world, will lose his or her visions, strategic directions, that is, as the idea of an emancipation “struggling artist” by “hitting the jackpot” melts into thin air, alienated as all artists are from without, that is, from knowing rejection and deprivation as much as they do, not on their own, only but inspired by individuals within the the masses who fall for gimmicks and clever tricks or snappy turns of phrase, or worse to enlighten them about nothing.
The mere collecting of books, and worship beauty on the side for its own sake—not because they want to read or so not wish to find beauty, but because the bourgeois invites them, too, hatred, if not total dismissal of an un-investigated art work; however, erudite or naive it is to accept art as a means to an end. Those who balk would rather have a means to re-visit the vacation of an artist’s mind, or fully embrace the commercial value of a work of art for its “beach read” feel, which as a cultural phenomena does not tear down the foundations of our slumber and does not help us see the marginalized voices, the non-bourgeoisie, even unto the Third World, as such through a world a window by which one sees ourselves inwardly, a world whole entire, famished and brittle, lending us to no shock when we do not gasp or turn away. Mirror splattered with blood, as the hyenas’ sunk jaws in the one calves and thighs, shook off a piece of meat and it scurried away as quickly as it could.
The future of art is not as grim as it might appear.
Some still seek life and light in order to illuminate. It comes through the cracks of darkness, the light, its is the reason there is something behind, beyond the darkness. A world of light, perhaps. It’s been that long, you should know better. Light does exist. We just choose to shun it or wish it’d go away.
Any world in addition to this one, which makes us wonder if we are indeed comprised of DNA alone, or the stardust, give us pause: for to live is to create. There are not lies, only excuses; there are not games, only the scalpel taking you under it----you are of the imagination. Time! There many plenty of examples of examples of aesthetic perfection which are, in retrospect marked by the principles of breaking from theory altogether, and letting art breathe without the the iron lung on wheels in order to guide our every breath.
Let us convince the children of future and the teenagers too that such a thing as art exists, not only for the badgering fools highest in the clouds, but let the younger generations know not to be like them, that is, solely critics who abide solely by the neo-liberalist box, and only see as they are told or wish they could see, as if they are wearing art around the crown of their own skull, and their eyes look outward into the world, completely comprised of seeking eyes for that hunger to enter worlds unknown to them. if they did not listen to what artists are attempting to convey.
Listen: what are artists trying to say? To whom do you think they speak? What is the mode of enunciation? Today, tonight even, or more, even in those feverish times that have yet to come?
I’d like to think everyone gets a chance at art-thinking, even if the bitterness of its medicine does not alleviate the problems of a world that is blind to itself, functioning seemingly along the tenets of the amorality of nature.
What is more powerful? An assertion or a negation?
I think rejecting participatory art is good start.
We encounter art always-already.
The purpose of any good action is best achieved when it’s point is pointless, and its supposed cry ineffable.