Sunday, February 11, 2007

on motivation and the resonance of things

every post should have a picture I left out of that last post, (though you might have picked it up in the comments) that the question I was responding to was along the lines of "How do you keep yourself motivated?"

It's a good question and it leaves out, or maybe relieves, the preachy tone that the post might otherwise carry. Maybe the issue is less being motivated than in having some reason, accepting it and understanding it. I can't imagine myself doing any kind of art on the social science model, artist as social observer, critic and commentator. So boring and so consistently wrong. Yet it's not a walk in the park trying to figure out that the part of you that ends up listening to you talking to yourself all day is smarter than the part of you doing the talking. (No, not you, Steven.)

The social implications of an art based in un-mediated people and what they think and how we act and talk and communicate and look is far more staggering than an art based on the false mystification of science. Science, including social science, is very good at rooting out mysticism. My writing and blogging and art making tries to do the same. In a way. Yet there is some un-mediated (un-mediated by language) activity that we experience and try to hold onto. Usually we do it by means of language. But I think we also do it by remembering, and some of that remembering we do through means other than will. That is to say, somethings just insist that we remember them even if we don't know why. I am haunted still by the same things that scared me as a child. Only now it is teeth-gritting fun to get chills, to leer into the abysses where things are still spooky. And fortunately plenty of the people who got good at looking into such things and remembering them throughout history also had a finger or two dipped in the mysticism bowl.

When I see art going on in New York and people talking about it, or the shows coming up this summer, I think about those people in line outside the Today Show. Part of growing into your art is realizing that you're really not ever going to face the audience of wankers they warned you about (and prepared you for) in grad school. Audiences are smart, they're not like the Today Show anymore than the Today show is like reality. Art professionals are catching up with us slowly, but they have cell phones to compare and they are not in any hurry. Being motivated is almost like being desparate. I desperately do not want to talk to art professionals when there are good people being alienated by shitty art. But I also desperately want to understand why when two things come together they mean more than thing A + thing B. In the sum of their two parts is a resonance the appreciation of which is the key to more than you might think.


  1. When two things come together they mean more than thing A + thing B, because you are part of the addition, the union of those two objects is not separated from the subject that puts them together or the expectator that watches the 3 of them... and their whole repertoir of meanings and words and feelings and connections... it's called poetry (you might want to read The Double Flame by Octavio Paz...)

  2. yeah, that doesn't quite stop me from want to refine the answer 7 trillion other ways.