Some very basic notes…

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Tom seemed ornery yesterday. And I get it. There have been frustrating moments for him in this class. This is a department that, though it offers an area of study that purports to be all about the arts (Aesthetics Studies) it doesn’t actually attract a lot of artists, real, wannabe, or otherwise. So, there are people in the class who are new to these concepts and sometimes present ideas that seem to miss the point, or don’t seem very well thought out. Of course, listen to me talking down to other people when it’s actually a major fear of mine. Like I’ve written, my thought process is largely internal. Sometimes it looks like I’ve thought hard about something, while other times it doesn’t. I always do, but perception…

Class did not start out great for me. Having had what I thought was my final project made invalid, I was searching for something new while most other people were adapting something they’d already done for a previous assignment. Not to paint myself as some sort of victim, but nevertheless…

I went into class with several ideas. I didn’t feel great about any of them. I decided to go with the whole first thought, best though thing and present the one I came up with first. 

The concept…

I’ve really gotten back into reading the work of Walter Benjamin, especially his seminal essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. I followed this thread to John Berger’s book/series Ways of Seeing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pDE4VX_9Kk).

By requiring that our projects take place within the confines of a gallery space, I decided to analyze the gallery space in a way that considers my observations throughout the class that challenge the idea of the social scripts that go along with placing art in a defined artistic space. We’ve been taught throughout this class to challenge the classic notion of this space and go for site specific stuff (a la Kaprow), yet now we have to operate in the space.

So, I challenged myself to think about a question I once posed asking how do we use the existing artistic space in a way that gets the audience to unconsciously react to its contents in a way that remove them from being defined by the space. 

Then I took this notion that mechanical and technological reproduction of images has led to the dilution of meaning and the lessening importance of the artistic space. In other words, I’ve seen the Mona Lisa a thousand times, but I’ve never been to the Louvre and seen it with my own eyes. The necessity to do that is negated by the fact that I can simply google an image of it and look at it from my phone.

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So, why not subvert the notion of the lessening importance of the artistic space via technological reproduction by technologically reproducing art in an artistic space. 

My idea is to place a screen in a gallery, bordered by a traditional ornate painting frame, that via an instagram type interface, people can digitally post pictures of art from other galleries to. This would have this Jean Baudrillard type simulation effect that all at once comments on the digital reproducibility of art and images and at the same time gets people to treat the artistic space in a natural, different way. Additionally, the audience become co-curators, co-creators of the installation. 

As usual, class discussion and feedback really helped flesh this out. I went in with a fairly basic concept, and the very constructive discussion made it clearer. Again, I think this speaks to all the noise in my head. Everything I want to say about it and want it to be is in there, but it takes others helping me to focus to fully vocalize it. 

Also as usual, the class seemed more enthused than Tom. Again, I get the feeling I’ll someday be considered the best of the posers…

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