Wednesday, January 03, 2007

ego and art making

american culture soviet collapseI've been thinking about deb fisher's statement,

I think ego and individualism makes art less interesting, that mining the individual self for meaning is, first and foremost, a total fucking bore in our confessional, therapeutic (I would say Sextonesque) culture.
I know where she is going. And I applaud the direction. But I can't make anything without my ego, without my personal problems and history front and center. I don't even try. My individual self is hardly over-mined. I think I just dreamt of a big cat jumping through a much smaller hole in a screen window. I am certain that what I call my ego is far removed from the problems we call ego in art making. And really, I have very little to go on except that my childhood, with all of the things I wish were not a part of it, was still one in which I was much closer mentally to places where cats jump through screened windows. I am certain that my ego was informing a lot of banal things, making them less banal.

I grew up and I judged everything, everything became banal before my eyes. And now I spend days and days searching for the perfect atmosphere in which dreams are real and not where Frodo jumps out of a hat. Look at these pictures. (with thanks to Things Magazine, as always.) I think I could have taken them in Pennsylvania. I think the move away from and misunderstanding of the "documentarist impulse" in American art making is as much a problem as is the mal-understood purpose of doing self-therapeutic work. We artists are therapizing and documenting and therapizing and documenting everyone and everything. It is so easy for me to imagine this Russian person behind this camera snapping away pictures in the snow.

american culture soviet collapseI don't think it is only an ego-less person who can relate to places, who can smell the food and some kind of heat inside a house like this one. I know I can hear the wet under my shoes on the linoleum just inside the door. That is not because I have eradicated myself and ascended to a new realm of being, but because I try to remember everything and feel what its meaning used to be.

I am trying, I believe, to create and find meaning that is suitable to the West, but without the West's hard delineations between ego and self and identity. I believe we already look at Deconstructionism as if it is a bizarre re-doing of Scholasticism. It is a method that was so useless to us that we only vaguely understand the collapse of meaning that followed. Do we return to a monastic method of utter supine prostration? Or do we hope to learn from a renaissance in the Third World? Or is there an option I've forgotten ? I've written a lot about Soviet this and that here. I still think the future of the US, if not the West, is one of Soviet style mega-collapse, and that perhaps could allow, very slowly, information from the outside world to permeate the otherwise rotting culture.

1 comment:

  1. Here goes something beautiful and meaningless (like the statement on finding meaning that is suitable to the West...):