Much of this comes from rough drafts that inspired a piece in The Immanence of Myth. This is an important post re: the intent and future of this site so please read on...
Art is a medium of personal and cultural revolution.
“Look … you can either increase demand or decrease supply. Demand is not going to increase. So it is time to think about decreasing supply.” (Peter Marks, Washington Post, February 13, 2011).
...[T]he transformation of all products of human activity into commodities was achieved only with the emergence of industrialist society. The functions once performed by objective reason, by authoritarian religion, or by metaphysics have been taken over by the reifying mechanism of the anonymous economic apparatus. It is the price paid on the market that determines the saleability of merchandise and thus the productiveness of a specific kind of labor. Activities are branded as senseless or superfluous, as luxuries, unless they are useful or, as in wartime, contribute to the maintenance and safeguarding of the general conditions under which industry can flourish. Productive work, manual or intellectual, has become respectable, indeed the only accepted way of spending one's life. (Horkheimer.)
It is true that the unique perspective of a genuine, engaged outsider is part of what gives art its teeth. The "revolution” comes from listening to your experience, everything else be damned; the necessary compromise comes in learning how to play well with others without putting a pair of scissors in their eye. Art is not a solitary endeavor, and its benefits are social, even if they are hard to delineate or define. It requires real commitment both of the artists to not waste their audiences attention and energy, to make it engaging in one way or another, to move someone do their pulse is raised or they weep or leave the room thinking a miles a minute and they want to get right back in there. That's what this is ffor, whether it experience is solitary (in some ways) like a book, or an engaged live action theater. No artist “made”it alone, and you’d best believe they had friends you never heard of that helped form a work that became immortal. We often work alone, but even that is arguable, if you've lived in any functioning art communes. It's hell when people don't know how to prioritize their work but otherwise it's communion for people like us. It's why some of us don't have children. (And those that do have to work twice as hard as twice as hard.) That's it.
|Going back To Class.|
Such groups require no closed manifestos, no party lines, no armbands, tattoos or uniforms. What is needed is space to meet up and share ideas and collaborate, a means of making the relevancy of their work evident outside the insular and seemingly elitist circles that form around such groups and the ability to eat without completely shilling the underlying premise or making other creative prerequisites impossible. Space, resources, an understanding of mutual benefit, and a determination that goes far beyond any benefit that...
I can't continue. Because it's long, and may not be entirely the point. I've tried this thing I'm talking about. I've tried it many times with everything I had at those points in time, limited as it may have been and several other times "we'll see how it goes" moderates. That was in my transition to cynic, where now my reaction to people asking if they want to be in an art commune is "do you like group sex, because that's likely to be the only potential benefit?" That was one thing about communal living that I think worked out just terrific half the time, when the right people connected with what they needed and it actually struck some kind of stasis for long enough. All relationships that chance people are alchemy. And I was half-kidding before but I'm dead serious when I say that alchemy like that is the heart of the work. Transformation is where it's fucking at. You get stuck if you depend on that method but it's one of the best. Look at the poison of Beatrice, or Isolde. There's something else to that drinking of their death.
Anyway, I'm not going to belabor Bataille. But I've seen this go down in so many horrible, painful, often just pointless and petty ways which makes it even more painful. So I can't hold any hope for it. But it's the only way of being that's so far ever given me any real joy in life. Everything else just feels like going through the motions.
So I can't say I've shut out the possibility of this, and I can't say it's not still my dream, but as a reality, it seems further and further off. My work is my life but the work depends on others to actually grow and be good -- just as I can help catalyze and facilitate the work of others in that kind of environment. I'm cautiously putting out my feelers again, trying to be receptive. Emphasis on the word cautious...
This site and Mythos Media were originally reworked to support this concept. That platform still exists, but the "Others," the group seems to have receded yet again into the background. Get in touch if you are interested in doing your part in kicking it up a notch. If that doesn't happen, it'll likely gradually become little more than my personal blog, as it was in the very beginning...
1 It is also commonly observed that there is some clear link between the obsessive pursuit of creative expression and the sex drive, following along the general lines drawn by Freud in Civilization and its Discontents. But that would take us far afield.
2 Revolutionary concepts of time can serve a teleological movement towards an “End Times” state, but do so in the sense that we see in the Hindu yugas,
3 Which is not to say that there has been no value produced, for instance, by John Cage's 4'33", but there can be little argument that this movement in art has unintentionally furthered the capitalist myth that art is purely masturbatory. Conceptual art seems in a sense to merely be a revolt against the capitalistic or at least industrial idea that every thing, every action must have a purpose. Where does this revolt lead?