The act of making art is a political act because it entails the act of destruction as part of the process. For the piece to become what it needs to be, nothing can be too precious--a word, a brushstroke, a scene in a play, an image. You have to be willing to destroy for the greater good of the piece, for what the piece needs to be. There is a very good chance that what is uncovered in the debris will be the truth. Admittedly, it may not be the truth that is uncovered, but it will be a step toward the truth. Staying put will not lead you to the truth.
Our politicians and idealogues could learn from artists as they attempt to make their societies. They should note as we delete, paint out, tear up our work. When their statues and ideals are so precious in the name of tradition, society stagnates. When a statue or an ideal becomes more important than the greater good in the pursuit of truth, society fails, no differently than a novel would fail if it weren't edited aggressively.
Also, it is important to understand that art is the pursuit of truth. That statement seems to baffle many people, including many people who self identify as artists. There is no denying the truth when it appears. But if you're clinging to your art school ways, the longer you've been out of art school the more you'll stagnate and your work will lapse into cliche. If you refuse to abandon what many artists I've met passionately defend as tradition, not because tradition is bad, but because they hide their fear of risk under the flag of tradition, refusing to acknowledge aesthetics that don't fall under their definition of tradition, they will stagnate, become idealogues clinging to their tradition like a drowning person would cling to a plank of wood in the ocean. No one would consciously desire that about themselves.
A Work in Progress....
A polar bear grows a thick white coat, paws broad as snowshoes, armed with sharp claws, and mighty jaws with razor teeth to be the supreme killer in a harsh, ice-bound environment where food is scarce, where being a ruthless killer is the difference between life and death.
Can you imagine a polar bear feeling remorse for killing a seal?
The polar bear has adapted.
We are a species capable of destroying ourselves. There is a reason we have developed emotions such empathy, kindness, and hope. Just like the polar bear, we developed them out of survival.
If we hadn’t, we probably would have destroyed ourselves long ago.
Humans have adapted.
And while you are not perfect, I maintain because of the love and care you have for other human beings, there is a very good chance that you are further along the evolutionary scale than some of your fellow beings.
You might very well represent a higher form of the species, while the others will go the way of the dodo.
That is what it means to be human.
Tonight (Where are you going tonight, my darling?)
Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!
I followed the Rittenhouse closely, and I'm outraged by the result. The more I read the more I see that the jury followed the letter of the law. But if that's the law, if that's where we are as a society or a civilization, then something is extraordinarily wrong. Something is very broken. If a seventeen-year-old boy (yes, boy, not young man: boy) can carry a gun into a situation like a protest over the death of a black man, kill two people and injure a third, and not be held responsible, we are in dire straits as a society. And I do blame the NRA and all the money that is funneled to our legislators, and the system that allows that.
This is my protest.
Images made with a USB microscope from a dustball found under the bed. I was so surprised and delighted by the colors, and the intricacies of the patterns made by the strands.
Took the day off today to see the Ai Weiwei exhibit at the Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, one of the five museums in the Springfield (Mass.) Museum Complex. It was a quiet fall day, with few people. The exhibit is small, only two rooms and two hallways, but well worth it. It was the first time I've ever seen any of his work in person. If you're familiar with his work, you'll recognize a few of his highlights.
John Greiner-Ferris is an artist in the Boston area. Sometimes he makes images. Sometimes he writes. Sometimes he does both.