Tuesday, August 28, 2007

General & Particular

Cheers for your reactions, Inc. Always appreciated. Not entirely sure what you mean by 'samey' - as usually negative but you seem to be reinventing as toward positive! Whatever, though, I'll go with your prose, mate! So cheers...

Repetition/'episodity' is a feature of my work, yes. This is something of a standard move in art - as in life - and, for me, adds to, and is intended to add to, the depth and substance of any supposed art-message I am engaged in offering. The 'episodity' apes the same worrying-away-at this and that thing/issue we all do as individual people within the notion of people-as-a-whole: humanity, etc. Artists are a subset of that humanity. Art is one kind of message one might make. Thus - my items series, by way of example, is a clamour of voices, each baying out their selfhood, their occluded and individuated philosophies of likes/dislikes, wants, desires, potted histories, limitations & reflections, groping for structure, sense, meaning, in that frightening, incomprehensible, and amorphous void. The result of all these voices is both diffuse and overwhelming; but each is defensible, inalienable, and precious - both to itself and, if one believes in humanity, as a politics, to us all. But of course such particularity gets lost in generality as the population reveals itself. For me, this is the point of the repetition...it offers a kind of challenge, by forcing a kind of fundamental choice. As viewer you get the choice of skenning the crowd and remaining relatively uninvolved and generalist or zeroing in and getting particular. Each has pros and cons. The first renders one perhaps cynical, detached; whilst the latter takes time, risks emotional attachment, and one might get somewhat lost in detail, impacting upon one's sense of the whole. There is a conflict between general and particular.

Being alive feels like this to me... Choices ... Knowing each item is equally weighted - if one is a humanist and a democrat; but realising that one can only indulge in so many items to a meaningful degree, because time itself is limited for us, and because we can only maintain care and interest so far and for so long. In this way, we have friends, loved ones, whilst the rest are a sea of faces. We are arch-subdividers. We have to be. That's basic pragmatism. In one sense, however, this is built upon levels of denial. Thus we are able to get self-obsessed about all kinds of narrow crap and plough our pennies into frippery, whilst knowing that elsewhere and nearby people are fucked-up for want of those pennies. In one sense, being alive is to continually straddle this dichotomy, to habituate and to normalise it, to proceed nonetheless, as some kind of sentient fait accompli.

Blogging mirrors that for me. Does one post now and again? Or does one post daily? One style will develop one kind of identity for the blog itself; and any audience perception and reception will be founded upon that style. Yet - interestingly and a key point for me - individual posts themselves might be exactly the same object, but are significantly changed by the context in which they appear. For example, if I had just blogged some of my artwork and made a big deal of being more precious about it, rather than sticking up lots of stuff, the likelihood is that individual pieces would be considered in more depth by those who are interested enough. Because by now there are over 5000 images, some posted several times, the individuality of certain pieces becomes less of an issue - both because there are so many and because the viewer is being directed, by me, to lose such individual consideration because of the attention instead to crowding, to critical mass... All those Pig Ignorants, all those items, a sea of faces... Hard to get involved in and arsed about one because here comes another one, and another, and another... Like a walk through a city centre... One can get detached and uninvolved. Whereas the same face, as Man Friday, on some desert island would be treasured beyond belief. Same object: entirely different perception. Neither explains anything definitive or scientific about the object itself. Rather the object itself functions as an explainer of the person considering it. Put another way, the object being inanimate neither cares about nor relies upon the viewer for its ontology - for its Being. It just is. Meanwhile, the viewer is restlessly, and without any hope of effective success, attempting to show selfhood to others by making supposedly meaningful subdivisions in that array of inanimate and uncaring objects. The dependency is all one way. If you know Sartre's Nausea, it's that hysterical but pivotal moment when the 'hero' throws a pebble into the water and realises he is not free. He is animate. He is caged by volition. He has to make choices. He has to continually demonstrate his selfhood by showing those choices to others. For him, his choices are filled with weight and meaning, full of imperatives that make sense. But, in the 6.1 billion, he is just one of many. Despite his feelings of specialness, he knows, by now, that he is just drunk on DNA, a puppet of its determinations. If, on the other hand, he were part of a more manageable group, he would feel more special, he would be able to bring some focus to his selfhood and, by his applications with that smaller group, make some kind of meaningful impact.

Discharge itself is like that, say: episodic, different voices, one notices styles, preoccupations, there is both overlap and difference, the blog is made of different voices, but, by-the-by, Discharge itself becomes a voice, taking its place amongst other voices, like an elaborate item in its own way.

How do you see it? What motivates you? Why do you contribute? What is your message?

Best wishes