What people with low self-esteem can not break
by Pablo Lecroisey
I have been working, for a long time, with the photographic medium as a tool for personal development.
One of the motivations that led me to leave the labor market was the disenchantment I suffered with many aspects of the current social structure, I did not find much sense to many of the things that are socially established and the things we must do to meet our social objectives . Not only did I not find a meaning, but some of them were even hurting me.
The element of photographic communication became the environment where I could express myself in a healthier and freer way. I observed a great potential as the support for the creative development and for the aesthetic sensibilities. The art worked in the photographic medium became a key tool to express myself and it also allowed me to be social.
I sensed the potential in this type of actions, but I was not clear where I was going. Today, I understand that I was looking for aesthetic exercises and new ideals of beauty that guarantee and stimulate the development of a healthy society where the welfare of all beings flourishes, to the maximum possible equality, at least with opportunities between people so the illusion can be generalized. Leaving aside the burden of the past. For sure, I was, and still, looking for strategies to develop a customary autonomy (1).
I have been able to confirm in my own person the benefits and importance of creativity, aesthetics, and art in the development of individuals and society (2) .
In my first artistic productions I tried to channel my feelings and share them with others. For this, I used photography to create images (3) that were documents where those feelings were reflected, but I found a barrier between my photographic document, my feelings and the receiver (conditioned by their culture and subjectivity).
I felt that what I wanted to transmit and what the recipient received had no correlation, having between them this insurmountable material barrier.
I always work with human beings. The poetics that interest me I can not develop with animals or objects, and much less, with abstract elements. This has turned out to be a key element.
I realized that the material barrier that separated the receiver’s work, disappeared at the time I was with those people I was going to portray and work because they were the first receivers and spectators.
At first I thought that the strength was in the inclusion of the viewer within the work of art. With time and by expanding my knowledge, I understood that the importance lies in the process, in the way we relate and the attitude we adopt (4).
So I prepared a work based on the way we articulate socially. As a result of that experience I obtained an image that complemented other socially accepted levels of significance as a work of art. At the same time, I recorded a video analyzing the relationship maintained and the time shared between all the participating members.
The objective was to create an aesthetic experience carried out jointly by several individuals. The best option would be to make a staging, create a reality.
It seemed opportune to me that my subjectivity will eventually determine the genesis that would shape the experience and the final image.
It has been a long time since I saw and experienced the effects of what we commonly call crisis in people and society. Little by little, I found it more difficult to maintain the standard of living in which I was raised, the people around me felt the same and in some cases even worse, irremediably society was changing.
I believe that if we have entered into this trend of change it is because there are individuals who will not conform, they need more and more to complete, causing imbalances in the system. They are impossible to satisfy and who consume without stopping and without sense. They are individuals with low self-esteem.
On top of this, I had a crisis that I suffered because of a relationship I had at the moment. Unfortunately, this person suffered from neurosis, possibly bipolarity, although it is not easy to put names and surnames to this type of ailments. When it had a crisis it attacked me strongly, trying to disqualify my actions and belittling my person. Although I was aware of this, sometimes when my strength faltered, I saw how the part of the personality that most resented was self-esteem.
These external factors conditioned me, but I could tell that I had learned tools, attitudes, that protected me from these factors and part of their effects, preventing them from collapsing my system and losing my integrity as an individual. I realized, too, that the society around me already had many escape routes and springs that guaranteed my dignity.
This thought is the conclusion drawn from the attempt to analyze a feeling. The feeling that these situations produced me. This is the feeling from which I started in order to propose the staging to be portrayed.
I did not want to make it totally personal, so I looked for everyday situations where society as a whole had escape routes. Immediately the park scenario came to my mind.
Place where we collectively gather to enjoy our leisure time and contact with nature. I was reminded of the cartoons that Goya painted of traditional scenes on the banks of the Manzanares River.
It does not matter the fear you get from work or television, the excessive hours and salaries that barely make you subsist, in the society in which I have developed we have public places where we can meet with other individuals and be free, even if it is for shorts periods of time. The park is one of them, and it allowed me to work very well: it was the perfect scenario.
I already had my subjectivity as active energy or force that produces an act as well as the stage to develop it, (5) only the scene was missing.
I wanted a symbolic scene, that reflected the pride of being, a being reinforced by the society that surrounds him and protects him.
I needed elements that represented the dignity of some characters or ideals, something that we are used to and evokes solidity and timelessness.
Sculptures came to my mind, so I set out to stage a sculptural form among the different participants. I thought, on the one hand, of the Catalan Castellers and the contemporary sculptures that consist of different metal threads usually joined together, forming a system or network form as a whole. Like spider webs or images of neural connections, which immediately evoke the union of different bodies or systems.
1. Modal Autonomy: It tries to connect the artistic production to the production and distribution of modes of relation, autonomous forms of production of relational worlds, modes of organization of subjectivity, perception and behavior. The modes of relationship are based on four fundamental characteristics: having a situated character, working in and from the poly-contextuality, being generative, and relational. Jordi Claramonte. The Republic of Ends, Cendeac, Murcia 2009.
2. Aesthetic perception: Perception occurs through the senses, that is why there is a direct correlation between aesthetics and feeling, which is the tool that we have as autonomous beings to perceive reality or our immediate environment. George Lukàcs: The more organic the immanent aesthetic consummation of a work of art, the more capable it is of fulfilling the social mission that has given it life. Ibid.
3. The images establish a very interesting link with the development of creativity, since they work in a simple way of projections by the imagination. Before creating something, it has to be imagined.
4. Procomun: fundamentally modes of relationship, possibilities for structuring essentially common experiences. Ibid.
5. A relationship mode consists of a formal order updated and determined by some competences and placed in a certain landscape. Relational character: Georg Lukàcs.
The aesthetic in «What people with low self-esteem can not break»
As I have previously outlined, the aesthetics in this work resides mainly in the modes of relationship and how we have deployed them to carry it out.
This phrase extracted from the book the «Republic of the Ends» synthesizes it very well.
This image is a projection of my materialized imagination throughout the action carried by several individuals.
Once we consider the process as an essential part of the aesthetic experience and of the work of art, it will be important to define the key points that this process must have, in order to be aesthetic, beautiful and to attend to modal autonomy.
Once defined, this can lead to other fields because the way in which we relate to carry out a joint action, a policy (1).
It is important to emphasize that this action has a situated character (2) and does not have an end in itself (3), it was not intended to obtain anything quantitative, it was an experience that was born and died in a few hours. It was never intended to keep it alive as an active process, although I did care to document and obtain a sample of that active energy that moved us through photography, which also served as a claim and was an objective action.
Once I had the idea and knew where I would execute it, I kept alert by searching the people who could integrate it. I knew some of the participants, others where found in different areas, I also called on social networks or I approached meeting places like Media Lab and asked for help to get the project going. I told them the idea and what I offered them was the chance to participate in a work of art enjoying a different afternoon and have a good time doing something that was far from their routines. Capitalism has not been the creative engine, I did not offer them money, nor did I give them the prospect of being able to achieve it in the future (4).
The date, location, and proposed time was communicated by Internet and telephone, but I did not know for sure who was going to up (in that chance, I begin to intuit a certain abstraction).
As it was an exercise of some complexity, I contacted people who had knowledge on photography and who could collaborate in technical aspects, I also contacted an acrobat school. where a friend works. to help me with the postures and could teach the rest of participants. I spoke with a group of street dancers that I met in a park since it was interesting that there were people with physical strength and skill with the balance and body, who could be the supports of the structure.
I had not clear what figure I wanted to make, t would come out on the go among all those who wanted to participate, our own nature (5), if we let it develop, it would order everything. Everything did not go exactly as I imagined, but I was not interested in delimiting everything in search of an ideal without leaving space for improvisation, that would damage the aesthetics.
Finally, the work went forward satisfactorily with the collaboration of all.
It is true that I involved these people to serve me, but they did it freely (6) and inside me there is a firm conviction that I did the right thing (7). I could see that links and parallel relationships were established from this encounter, relationships that continued and affected the different participants, transforming them into what could be understood as a poly-contextual process (8).
1. Karl Philipp Moritz: The being or the beautiful object will maintain the characteristics of the noble, the absolute completion itself. The beautiful does not need to be justified as a fragment of a whole that forms a complete unit in itself.
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment […] The pleasant, the beautiful, and the good indicate three different relations of representations with the feeling of pleasure and pain …
Pleasant is called to what delights, beautiful to what only pleases, good to what is appreciated … whose objective value is settled. It can be said that among all these three modes of satisfaction, that taste in the beautiful is the only selfless and free satisfaction, because there is no interest, nor that of the senses nor that of reason, that rouses applause.
… there will be precisely the knot of the problem of autonomy as an organizing principle of artistic and political practices: the measure of the emphasis on the capacity of each body, although not of all, as we will see, to be organized and organized, thus constituting a model, at the same time, of art and political action. Jordi Claramonte. The Republic of Ends, Cendeac, Murcia 2009, p. 46.
2. Dewey, John. Art as Experience. Paidos: Barcelona 2007.
3. Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Judgment.
4. The theory of the abolition of the work of art and the dissolution of the artistic in the social, whether this level of the social assimilated with philosophy, the everyday or the political, has had a long and problematic trajectory in the last two centuries. Problems occur to the extent that it has been repeatedly falling into ambiguities and contradictions when defining what were the keys to the dissolution-abolition of the artistic and, above all, that elements of the aesthetic experience should be not only saved from that dissolution, but expanded and generalized, even as part of that same program of dissolution.
[…] it has fallen into the clumsiness of putting art at the service of the revolution, whatever it may be.
Indeed, from the very positions of the avant-garde it has been believed that, in order to cooperate with the program of art expansion, it was necessary to de-artisticise it, completely dissolving its specificity in the revolutionary process. Once this path is marked, a whole plethora of movements and initiatives will pretend to be more radical and confuse artistic practices with the different forms of daily life, political activism or mass mobilization, thus contributing, paradoxically, to the aestheticization of the spectacle and the strengthening of cultural capitalism; a capitalism that requires, for its operation, an optimal integration of the devices of production of images and visual culture in the productive system and circulation of global capital. But to refer us to one of the first and clearest examples of this social dissolution , undertaken from the confusion between autonomy as a generative principle and any one of its particular statements, we can consider the prolific work of Pierre Joseph Proudhon. Proudhon will maintain a good part of the romantic ideals about art considered as an expression of the collectivity. […] the collectivity is not the radical Volk of the Germans, but should rather resemble a community of free individuals capable of fully exercising their creative faculties. Jordi Claramonte. The Republic of Ends, Cendeac, Murcia 2009, p. 151.
5. Natura Naturans: dynamic principle by which it is postulated that natural creatures are capable of growing and developing according to specific internal patterns. The transition from these patterns from natural to social development will establish the belief in the possibility of a progressive differentiation of faculties, a process through which science, aesthetics and even eroticism were separated from theological justifications. Ibid.
6. In the aesthetic world, every natural being is a free citizen with the same rights as the most noble and can not be coerced even in favor of the whole, but he has to consent decisively in everything […] Even the coat that covers my body and demands respect for its freedom and requires me, just like a demure servant who does not notice that he is serving me. In return he promises me to reciprocally use his freedom so modestly that mine does not suffer with it. Schiller, Friedrich. Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man. Barcelona: Anthropos, 1990, seventh letter, p. 161.
7. Only he who has in himself the end of his existence, man, who can determine himself his ends by means of Reason, or when he has to take them from external perception, can nevertheless adjust them to essential and universal ends. and then aesthetically judge the concordance with them, that man is the only one capable of an ideal of beauty. Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Judgment.
8. Mukarovsky, Jan. Writings on Aesthetics and Semiotics of Art. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 1977.
Why is it beautiful?
I have already exposed briefly why I understand is an aesthetic experience. Now is turn of beauty, since I look for it in my actions.
I consider that beauty appears more clearly in how I had produced the work since I do it in a very concrete way, I apply a pattern.
I have to point out that in order for me to consider that I am doing a beautiful work of art, in the actions taken, when it comes to approach the people who will help me and at the moment in which we are carrying it out, there must be a very specific ethic (1).
First of all, my feelings have to be disinterested and with an attitude (2) of understanding and generosity towards the people I address to. I can not lie to them, manipulate them using their feelings or weaknesses to achieve my goals.
I always try that the feelings generated when I am with them and, especially when we are developing the action, being joy, satisfaction, interest, motivation, curiosity, enthusiasm, affection, friendship, belonging to the group, that there is no exclusion, etc. There can not be an imposition, rise in tone or aggression on my part or on the rest of them.
I am looking for team work among the members, a good predisposition to collaborate with others. I always integrate people who know each other with others who do not know anything about them, and seek harmony among all members to carry out the action.
I do not care about their age, sex, sexual condition, social status, race or religion, for me they are all at the same level and I demand respect from all of them.
When I contact them I tell them my idea and how I intend to carry it out, but when it comes time to carry it out, even if I help them with guidelines and the rest of my colleagues do so, I always leave them free to share what they consider opportune or what comes to them at the moment, without pressure.
Life is a fun game and that is how you have to live it, even in small fractions of time, as in these aesthetic experiences.
From my point of view the results obtained are satisfactory and I suppose that it will be their own nature, helped by some guidelines that will lead them to enter into harmony (3).
The people who have helped me with this work have not heard about this methodology, it is the structure with which I work, my way of creating that comes out instinctively and naturally (4).
It is an endless purpose that has no apparent usefulness, but that is not entirely true. It is the way in which, as an author, I show my love to the world, something that makes me feel good and gives meaning to my life, even if I try to sell the resulting photos, my motivation does not lies in something to sell since I do it and I will continue doing it without waiting for a material reward.
1. We will see with Nietzsche that there can be no ethics without aesthetics since aesthetics is the scope of production and management of the modes of relationship that all living ethics needs to unfold and that the ethics that are intended to be imposed, metaphysically or politically, without any loophole for modal games of aesthetics will be, with absolute certainty, residues of fundamentalist and theocratic orderings. Jordi Claramonte. The Republic of Ends, Cendeac, Murcia 2009, p. 139
2. Michael Foucault, tries to elaborate concepts that allow him to articulate that particular coexistence between ethics and aesthetics alluding, among others, to the term attitude as «A mode of relationship with and facing the present; a voluntary choice that some make; in short, a way of thinking and feeling, a way, too, of acting and behaving that marks a relationship of belonging and, simultaneously, presents itself as a task. A little, no doubt, like what the ancient Greeks called ethos».
Foucault, Michel. What is the Enlightenment? translation of the text written in 1984 and which remained unpublished in the original version until April 1993, when it was published by Magazine Littéraire in its number 309. Ibídem, p. 138
3. …The model that Moritz will take when defining autonomy will be, again, nature: the whole, complete in itself, which is all true work of art, is but a small reflection of that other great totality: nature. It uses the artist to, through him, create in the same way as she creates.
Thus, the artist does not perform a mechanical imitation of motives or situations, but must be able to insert himself in what Moritz calls the Tatkraft -active force- which is what in nature sustains what we now call the emergent properties of his creatures. The active force contains in itself all the relations that constitute the great set of Nature. This active force that reaches all things and that the one that embraces wants to form, in nature’s way, as an absolute unit, sufficient in itself.
Moritz criteria have the importance of being located at a nodal point from which a category of beauty is confirmed that does not depend on moral or theological postulates but rather comes directly from the self-determination of beings, from their non-alienation, and of his own life as a fundamental source of his beauty:
[…] nature has implanted the supreme beauty only in the active force and thus make the supreme beauty, through it, accessible to the imagination, audible to the ear and visible to the eye […]
The active force contrasts strongly with reality of things, whose effective essence is constituted in function of its singularity, until it manages to appropriate its inner essence, and creates a world of its own in which there is no longer anything particular, but each thing is its gender in a subsisting unit in herself.
So on one hand the notion of active force present in all things and that gives a vision of its full and genuine existence, and on the other hand identifying that same active force as that which must imitate and reproduce the work of art, work of Moritz draws the double, autonomous and relational condition of the work of art: art is a power-in-itself insofar as it does not lose sight of the power-in-itself of all creatures. Based on how we characterize this relationship of autonomy we can see how Moritz’s thought places us at the crossroads between the possibility of conceiving the autonomy of art as a reflection in all its fullness of the social, relational and ontological dignity of men and women. creatures and the possibility of their persistence as mere residue, which can pass quickly from souvenir to simulacrum, in the autonomous work of art that has lost its connective power. Ibídem, pp. 46-47.
4. In a product of beautiful art one must be aware that it is art and not nature: nevertheless, the purpose in the form of it must seem as free from all violence of capricious rules as if it were a product of mere nature […] As nature, a product of art appears, providing all the precision in the application of the rules that had been achieved, according to which only the product can become what it should be, but without effort, without the form being transparent from school.
The Republic of Ends
Author Jordi Claramonte
Aesthetics as an Ideology
The Dissolution of Classicism and the Construction of the Modern
Simon Marchán Fiz
Luigi Fucacci (Taschen)
Karl Philipp Moritz’s essay on the formative imitation of the beautiful:
Moritz’s conclusions in the article by Jaime Aspiunza, found on the internet.
Nature in «Über die bildende Nachahmung des Schönen», by Karl Philipp Moritz