“Boarding the plane today I was a head full of noise. Forced to process some everyday business disaster in the midst of what I’d intended to be a peaceful slipping away; A quiet departure from the brutal, beautiful capital of my endlessly expanding homeland. I felt myself disengage. With my thumb to the red button, pre-flight beverage in hand, and the routine safety belt check nearly completed, my digital Walkman emerged. Discretion is key in moments like this. You know what you need; you need songs. You know how quickly those songs can be taken from you if you aren’t realistic about the potential dangers of rigid flight attendants. You also know how good it feels when a taxiing plane transforms into a metal-winged miracle as you, eyes closed, sit, scoring the soundtrack of your great escape. It’s these moments that inspired everyday people to create moving pictures and sprawling canvases and symphonies. It’s these moments where you, being entirely present for however brief a time, IS in fact, art. With the right Lens, Melody, Paint Brush, Math equation it could be defined and reproduced for all of humanity to understand. How perfect that my cautiously adorned headphones lead me not to hassle, but instead to “Us and Them”. A track, that to me, largely defines the overriding theme of Pink Floyd’s, Dark Side of the Moon album. Somehow, it manages to speak equally to the malaise of a morning interrupted as it does to the general state of the human condition. (At least some human’s condition, I’m guessing). This is the stuff of real art and real music. Dissection. Exploration. Pop music with teeth, an experiment in human behavior and sound. What a fulfilling listen. Drifting off into the daytime, so far from my self-appointed capital, just a slingshot to the future.”- Andrew McMahon, Jack’s Mannequin blog, 06/12/2009
In my contemporary seminar class we have been reading a lot of art theory. Now, this class is pretty intense as it’s a small graduate level 3-hour discussion that meets once a week led by Dr. Sara Cochran, Contemporary Curator at the Phoenix Art Museum. Can you say intimidating? Honestly it hasn’t been too bad, I have managed to keep on top of my reading, engage in the turbulent conversation a decent amount, and Sara keeps walking us through the museum telling us about her choices of art pieces and why she decided to put them there. (favorite part!!)
So far, our readings have focused around how to define the language and function of contemporary art along with the various settings and sites it can function in. Simple enough, maybe. Probably not. This quote reminded me of a debate we have about relational and collaborative aesthetics. This is art that is made up of a conversation or of a social group effort. It can be a moment in time, something that only happens at a specific place and a specific time. It can be a collaboration between a gallery and an artist: that collaboration creates a certain conversation that is separate from the actual object, that is art in it self. It can be a social experiment, through community and art. Such as two artists calling a community to participate and contribute equally to create an art piece together.
So the beef my class had with these idea pretty much went like this: Can a moment in time be a work of art? How do you document it? Do you document it? Does it only exist once for those people at that moment and never again? Is everyday life art since moments and conversations can count? What happens when the aesthetics become words,feelings, and time? What is art with out tangible aesthetics? and then once we could (kind of) sort all of that out, where does this kind of work fit? What do you do with it?
Don’t get too excited. Your not getting all my answers to these questions. I think it’s something you got to think about yourself, I will say my class was split into two groups that we referred to as “The believers” and “non-believers” in which I am sure you can figure out where I probably lie. Either way, My point is that I came home from this exhausting debate to read this quote, by Andrew McMahon, my hero in the most admittedly cheesy but sincere way. And it just resonated with me. I think because I’ve had this moment before. Driving away on an empty road, windows down, hair flying, music playing perfectly in harmony with the moment and the feeling. Life just feels free, and I remember in those moments, I do, I do feel like art.
Just some more quotes I wrote down from classes..As always please feel free to leave to leave comments. I’d love to know what you think.
“Art is about a conversation, and about engaging in that conversation.”- Dr. Sara Cochran.
“Think about what the meaning is, and then how to express that.”- Betsey Schneider