Saturday, May 22, 2010

Achilles' Choice

I guess when one is obsessed with a theme, with something that one sees as a burning problem, one's thoughts keep going in that direction. So, I've been thinking some more about questions that came up to me while reading Hansen (and that were only triggered by the text). The crucial among them was: Why actually people stop at the point of just having an idea, of an observation – why do we so often remain on the very first, the most periphery level of detecting a problem, a node, and that way too often remain considering unessential things or elements of the node? And I said, ok, sometimes we're lazy, sometimes not interested enough, and sometimes we're too much concerned with getting a status as soon as possible, so to invest ourselves harder and deeper in what we are thinking and creating. But on the other hand, what is actually behind that (besides some very conscious choices such as opportunism)? Because, laziness, for example, is usually just a manifestation, a periphery layer that is protecting something inside that is blocked, not permitted to get outside. It is never the actual cause of something "not happening".

And what is not happening in most of contemporary art is the content. One of its greatest embodiments is the phenomenon of a "project in process" or a "work in progress" that is never brought to an end. Moreover, never intended to be finished. And for the big majority of them, this has nothing to do with Deleuzian becoming. Good art deals with the world's illness, its symptoms and sometimes even heals it. Bad art is just another symptom of the illness. Such is this type of "work-in-progress" art. It reflects the illusion of the movement in our control society. By constantly changing the names of the positions or multiplying their numbers, it creates the illusion of the actual change in positions or of their qualities. Our contemporary world is abundant with constant insisting upon "activity" – people's working hard, people's moving fast, people's working fast, and moving, moving, moving. No digesting. It leaves us doomed to the catharsis through the Hollywood film, which is carefully controlled. You are not allowed to take a pause and contemplate – possibly to think of an observation, impression or emotion thoroughly, throughout your being and from that come up with a genuine movement. Because that way you will create a thing with a content – with a meaning, a story, an emotion – a "human" element, that has changed yourself and then may affect the others, therefore is able of provoking a change. But the system has never desired a change. So it keeps (and this "it" is made up of us – it becomes you and I as soon as we agree to become lazy) spreading the word that we are moving – what it is actually is doing is pushing to the extreme until it reaches its opposite – a numb and mute immobility that is not even aware of itself. All that while "it" keeps patting us on the back for our pseudo-movements… as long as there is no content, no essence – in a word, no threat. And try protesting for real. Sooner or later you'll realize you've been bleeding, but internally.

But to bleed with a purpose and full awareness is a choice. It is Achilles' choice understood as a rejection of a comfortable and commodified life not for the sake of the name, but of the ideal mediated through a piece of art only to be re-embedded in an interlocutor that will further reshape it, play with it and carry it into some other space, time and dimension. It is for the sake of being alive and involved in this world. Because, you're going to bleed out anyway.


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