Sunday, August 16, 2009

Culture in Action

The Xerox piece is:
Kwon, Miwon. One Place After another : Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2002.
Read Chaper 4: From Site to Community in New Genre Public Art: The Case of “Culture in Action”

In looking at the highlights I made in Kwon Miwon's, One Place After, I realize I had an experience yesterday in NY that just might connect art to some of the core issues of our time. "Dealing with some of the most profound issues of our time---toxic waste, race relations, homelessness, aging, gang warfare, and cultural identity--a group of visual artists has developed distinct models for an art whose public strategies of engagement are an important part of its aesthetic language.. We might describe this as "new genre public art".( Miwon,Kwon. page 105).
I was filming a in Grande Central yesterday. Interviewing folks about the art of laundry. Before I started my daughter and I were having lunch. (indian food) There was a couple sitting next to us from Texas. I got up and offered the food that I hadn't eaten to a homeless gentleman looking through the garbage. He gracefully looked at the food and then looked at me and said "no thank you but I will take the very small container of yogurt." The guy sitting next to us was watching the whole real life scene and said, "Wow, I have never seen anything like that. The image of you and the homeless man talking over garbage will always stick in my mind, Turns out he was a film maker. I bring this up because there was a theatrical component to the whole real life scene. Yes, I do think that in ordered to create change art needs to be part of "LivingArt" for art as Allan Kaprow suggests. Public Art sometimes separates us from the changes that need to occur in our society and culture. To much isolation and not enough community gathering could possibly have stopped the creative collaboration between artists and audience. Engaging the artist and audience becomes a ritualized event instead of an event that creates the traditional 4th wall. Now I respect traditional artistic expression being an concert dancer and theatre artist for 15 years. But I also see the deep spiritual need to connect, interact, and communicate in a nontraditional way. I think the "new genre public art" can bring communities together using both traditional and nontraditional means to communicate and express creatively. I think we have become a culture that places not enough respect on the artistic part of human beings thus putting to much pressure and not enough support for the human beings who keep us reflecting, thinking, feeling, sensing and looking through the creative risks they take to create. I speak of artists or as I like to say creativists.

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