Thomas More had a dream expressed in his famous book “Libellus… De optimo reipublicae statu, deque nova insula Vtopiae”. He dreamed of an ideal society where common sense and well-being will prevail. 502 years later of More’s book publishing, there are a lot of similarities in contemporary societies that are in tune with its ideals.
Humans are, at least that’s what we know, the only living beings capable of modifying our natural environment through the abstract thinking. Is incredible what we are capable of obtaining, it’s just a matter of taking a quick look to our surroundings to perceive that amazing capacity, and we call that ability imagination. The only previous requirement to create something different is that it has to be imagined.
It only takes a single person for an idea that has been kept in its mind, to have the possibility of becoming a reality!
Art as a discipline towards creation, either by stimulating the imagination or by giving the supports to develop realities, does not have comparison. It is an essential and inestimable tool that all human beings need in their development and deserves all the efforts and studies that can be turned to it, since is a direct determinant of the realities that we can and we are able to create, just like our integration with them.
There are several aspects that, as an artist, I am interested in researching, and if it is possible, develop throughout my career. One of them is the relationship that the speaker and receiver have within the aesthetic experience.
Much of the intellectual developments in the aesthetic field focus on the work’s producer and the audience as two independent entities impossible to reconcile, if we add that our main relationship with art is through the show, then the action’s frameworks in artistic manifestations are reduced and considerably conditioning, as well as their capacity to generate alternatives for a healthy social development.
Art and aesthetics have practically been reduced to the perspective of consumption of the product and service in the cultural industry, the so-called cultural capitalism. It is very difficult to get out of this wheel in which practically everything social is being pushed down at a dizzying pace, especially in an art that continues to influence the dichotomy of form and concept. Concept that based on the mere intellectual enjoyment is resulting in a sort of Neo-Mannerism, which only increases the social gap between those trained for their aesthetic enjoyment and those who do not. If we add, in many cases, its questionable semiotic coding, in an anamorphosis that allows its massive consumption by the casual spectator in the cultural consumption platforms (mainly museums), we find that a great idea, capable of generating reality, is reduced to a product of poor nutritious quality that has lost mostly, if not completely, its capacity to generate culture, society, well-being, and sustainable progress, except from a purely economic perspective.
Likewise with these practices, in many cases, the existential tranquility caused by knowing transcending is lost through the aesthetic enjoyment. The economy as the ultimate goal, is today a real problem for the survival of most of the living organisms in this planet.
The form in turn, which remains as a good channel of communication despite the semiotic gap presented by the cultural differences, even after the great efforts and advances that provide us with a universal and accessible culture, continue to harbor the classic problems brought by the impassable material barrier that the material presents (forgive the repetition) and suffers from the stress to which it is subjected by the contemporary need for novelty, the new as the only possibility and guarantee, a characteristic of industrial and post-industrial societies.
What to do with this perspective? I do not know the answer, but it is clear that you have to experiment, look for alternatives and above all play, you can not forget the ability of the game as a strategy, since never better said, life goes on in it.
There is a famous question that many of you have heard. The end justifies the means? In my particular case, my answer is no, since I consider that the medium itself is an end in itself.
With this reflection in my head and analyzing the artistic practice I have been observing, first intuitively, later supported by theory and practice, the point that unites the concept and the form, the process or processes with which we give shape to an idea or concept, is where the door opens to a world of possibilities that we do not find in those two other parts of the artistic structure. Obviously, the process is already taken into account when legitimizing the artistic practice, as the words of the famous critic Harold Rosenberg tell us about abstract expressionism: … (the process in no longer the means, but the objective, and once finished, the picture is not more than the trace, the document of the reality of that moment, of that life. The painting becomes an arena (a ring) on which to act)… (1). But I consider that through the static or semi static position that is awarded to the artistic receiver as a mere spectator, provoked mostly by the filters that must be applied to the artistic practice so it can be included in the art platforms of massive consumption and becomes part of the cultural capitalism circuit, they are conditioning and limiting the aesthetic capacity that is found and can be generated in the process of a work of art.
In my work, I propose romantically, life as an artistic form, following Rosenberg’s speech, by expanding the limitations of the canvas through the landscape itself. Any landscape in which any human being can develop, either in a natural or urban environment, enclosed for sure, by the conical perspective provided by the outlook of a photographic lens.
I will promote a different form of encounter with space, in order to give a new meaning to the whole, to make possible a diverse and oneiric reality with what has already been established, but most importantly, I will not do it alone, my subjectivity and space will be shared with other makers to whom I will invite to participate in the form of a game. Ultimate endless game, so that Kant’s thesis on disinterested enjoyment can be placed and be able to experiment with them (Allowing the aesthetic experience a priori, and trying not to condition the possibility that thanks to chance, something new may arise inherent to its own nature and to the limitations of human reason could not foresee, as the philosopher pointed out, what is the role of aesthetics rather than to create community?), but articulated by some basic rules drawn from ethics and morals. Aware of how delicate its use may be, especially its misuse, I will try not to forget that we are playing, sticking only to respect and without judgment on the individuals with whom I live, prudence in my approach in order to not generate in them feelings of fear or rejection, and try, as far as possible, to let them develop positive feelings such as: joy, surprise, emotion, belonging, self-affirmation, personal improvement, etc. On the other hand, our relationship will not be articulated through social class, status, gender or ethnicity. Nor will we do previous rehearsals, we will start from an idea or a topic, chance and improvisation will be decisive in the final result.
In the end the experience that we share in that limited space, that new reality that we generate, will be documented through digital photography, which will allow me to pick up waves of electromagnetic spectrum that the light or the sun is emitting at that moment and bounced off into the camera. This will translate them into a binary language, a language capable of translating that information and storing it in electronic devices, as well as modifying it and transforming it into different physical supports. Generating a formal piece as a classic photograph or reversing the process and translating that information back to electromagnetic waves, susceptible to being sent to another geographical position or even to throw them millions of kilometers across the universe, generating the only artistic vestige that has been developed entirely during the course of the 20th century.
I am aware that for these aesthetic abilities to occur in the process, or to explore new ones that have a positive impact on existence, there has to be a series of conditions and limitations that must be met. In these sentences it is not possible to give a broad perspective, or to carry out a detailed analysis of these statements, as well as their possible errors and contradictions. This is just the beginning of hope for finding a promising path.
© Pablo Lecroisey 2018