21st May 2014: Doing and writing theatre, art and politics, art schools
a. you want to be political, get politicized? i am thinking about it, constantly.
a. shit, there's no one here. the air is moist, i understand i should get out of here to save my skin but i need to do this first. this monologue, the take a look at yourself, the real talk.
a. but i need feedback. i dont wanna be alone here talking to myself. ok ok ok i got it, i'll use delay.
a. is it working
a. (delay) ...is it working
a. (delay) ...yes!
a. (delay) ...dub-dub-dub-dub-dub...(fades out)
a. (stops the delay) ok i want to delays, one for when i speak very silently and the other for when i speak real loud.
a. (screams) i will create some change around here!
a. (delay) ...here...here...
a. (whispers) i'm so afraid
a. (delay) ...afraid...afraid...
a. (stops the delay) great now i have these two guys as back-up.
Oh God almighty that's terrible. That's the kind of shit I write almost every day to no avail. The idea of play espaces me. Just the practicalities: That I would figure out those delay things with an actor and a technician, it just seems like such a distant thought. Things I like about the idea of writing a play:
1. You can say what you want, but through characters, so people don't read everything through you, the author. This allows for thought experiments.
2. Theatre makes so much sense as a phenomenon. To have a stage where people freely elaborate on the human condition.
Problem is, I can't seem to take the doing of theatre apart from writing it. If I want to do theatre, then I just start do it, on the spot. I want to do things, not think about doing them. I get that writing is an act of doing something, but for me it's a work of art in its own, like writing shouldn't lead to another art work.
Then, about the being political thing I had on the beginning of this text. Here's what I think about art & politics. For the rest of this writing sessions (approx 35 minutes left), I'll talk about that.
There will never be a permanent solution to the relationship of art and society. Art will keep on testing the limits of the society it's in. That's why art can't be set to any certain role.And a healthy society wants to be questioned and critizied.
This game-like functioning of art should be kept in mind when we think of, say, art education, funding, and the role of various institutions.
Then, about what artists actually do: it's a question of what kind of world do you want to be building. Just as I can criticize a group of people (like a political party) for their opinions and actions, I can do this as an artist, and towards other artists, as well. But just as no one can force me to vote, no one can make me do certain kind of art. If I have anything going in my brains, I listen to other people and adjust my opinions & actions when needed. This means that someone could talk me into voting or making certain kind of art. And I should understand people might disagree with me and I should be able to defend my opinions & actions. It's not a static reality, but, ideally, a disursive one.
That's all. So: 1. The role and meaning of art is under constant change, 2. Just like all the other citizens, artist should do what they think is best, 3. We should be able to talk about it.
Boring as hell I guess.
Section 3, talking: In Finland, there's usually one discussion going on at once (when it comes to art-related discussions). Lately, it's been funding. Reasons for why we are talking about it:
- most galleries ask the artists to pay for the opportunity to show their works. Virtually everyone resents this, but still the system stays unchanged (it might be so, because almost all the exhibitions artists do are supported by the state or a private foundation, so from what I've heard & experienced, it's somewhat unusual to actually pay the gallery rent "yourself").
- after the most recent economic crisis, there have now been cuts to art funding in Finland, too.
- Curators, who tend to like to criticize prevailing structures, are stepping in to the game, since there are now 2 new master-level univesity programs offering a degree in curating. The curators in Finland rarely receive any of the art funding, not to mention how rare (less rare now, though) it is to actually curate a proper (define it as you will) show in Finland as a freelancer.
- a host of artists build their careers outside of Finland. They might still live, at least part-time, or have projects there, so they might keep on following the discussions and commenting on it (some of the most interesting output recently has come from either Finnish artists who are based somehwere else or artists expats living in Finland). Since Finland (like Estonia) are exceptional with this artist-pays-the-rent system, most people see the Finnish system as untenable after working or coming from abroad. This reason is a bit weak, since I'm sure people have been aware of the realities in other places for a long time, surely artists were traveling in previous decades as well, although before EU and cheap flights and internet, Finland was supposedly much, much more insular.
Section 1, constant change. As much as I'd like to see this in action, I feel like the reality of art-making at large (from education to exhibiting) is in a static state. I don't know what's right, but for me it's hard to understand the idea of an art school.
I mean let's begin from the beginning. You want to be an artist. The job title is not protected, so after you've decided to be an artist, it's up to you to make (or not make) people know you're an artist now. There is nothing you should be good at, because it's not about skills (tags: de-skilling, post-studio, postmodernism). It's mostly about having the guts to show your stuff to people.
I believe in this blog I'm writing, for example.
- I get that the format is dated, but then I wanted a platform to put out text in a way that I can share it with other people. It's a big bonus that this comes without a readymade platform (tumblr, medium.com, facebook notes etc), and is instead hosted on a private web site and managed by a sane person.
- The content of this blog might not be interesting to anyone, but I really think it is interesting, because this is the kind of stuff I read myself: confessional blog posts, ramblings, musings, ruminations, essays, artist statements, etc.
- the format might not be that user-friendly, and the one hour limit for writing each post is pretty stupid, but it's a thing that keeps me going, and the format comes with they way I write.
- Of coutse, you can not write off the social, economic etc side of making art, and me doing what I do, etc.
Back to those basics. So, you can make what you want, you can call yourself an artist, but if you want people to engage with what you do, you must show your stuff. But you've just started, and you might be unsure, lonely, or just in need of a good conversation with a fellow artist, or wanting to hear from someone more experienced.
Here's where art school comes in. That's all there is to an art school, for me. Ideally, it's a safe place for talking, growing, and for forming peer-to-peer relationships.
If you want to know about art history, for example, you could use online courses or go to lectures at universities, a bunch of them are free for everyone to enter. I guess that's my art school manifesto.
If you think what material resourcses one needs for this kind of an art school, there aren't that many. But then again, we have this natural tendency to keep on building things and expanding. It's very hard to keep things simple and small.
no monologue today.