Monday, February 4, 2008

Town Blog, Opening Night, Jan 31st

On Jan 31st, 2008, Daily Con - The Blog opened with an open discussion between four of our contributors (Derek, John, Justin & Sarah). Periodically we will host 'Town Blogs', similiar to our opening night. These 'Town Blogs' are an open invitation for live dialogue amoung our contributors and readers an entire host of topics put forward by hte contributors themselves as well as requests from our readers.

Our first discussion, was on the topic of Genre and what it means to us as artist working today.

For ease of reading, archiving and continuing the conversation, the opening night's posts are copied in the comments of this post in the order they were posted. If you have any questions, comments or know how I can use the word 'post' any less, please let us know.

46 comments:

John Henry Blatter said...

So, what medium do you work in?

I have found over the years that small talk in social situations amoung non-artists have begun to be a bit awkward over the years. Inevitably the conversation amoung two strangers ends up wiht the question, "So, what do you do?" The question is simple and innocent enough at first glance, but unfortunately the conversation usually ends uncomfortable with a blank, bewildered look on thier face and an awkward moment of silence as I give up trying to explain away thier puzzled look. I am a sculptor, who hasn't really sculpted an object in many, many years.

I am an artist working in audio and video installation and consider myself, a sculptor. It has been a long time since the age of the traditional artisan of the Renaissance, so why is it so hard to get past the traditional stereotypes of genre after several hundred years and almost as many movements (as it seems at times). I can no longer see an advantage or reason to classify the various arts into genres and yet I do it myself. I claim myself a sculptor because I am sculpting space, environment and experience, but I do not use the traditional materials or tools of a sculptor. In a generation of artists who are using any and all mediums to create their work, as well as adpopting new mediums all the time, perhaps it is no longer useful to claim one genre or another.

It was not that long ago that everything that was not painting was lumped into sculpture and now I am seeing a similiar phenomenon with 'New Media'. What is the problem with calling it art?

Sarah Mizer said...

what is a genre?

A year ago, I have to admit that "genre" was somewhat of a sore subject. Since then, (and a self help book later) I believe it to be more a state of mind than anything. It's an illusion and only used for others to categorize after the fact. It should be unimportant to an artist, and probably is. And in such a case should be a dead subject. But for fairness of argument I will give it a once over.
Where there is profit there will be boundaries to separate the expensive stuff from the not so expensive stuff.
So what is most expensive?
What is slightly less expensive? so on and so forth down the ladder.
Tada, this is where genre's exist.
(This same platform I would assume functions for education as well.)

As far as genre and the studio practice

This is compelling, why are the sculptors painting, painters making installations so on and on...why? Because the genre simply doesn't mean anything! Not knowing how to make a video does not stop me from wanting to learn in order to finish a piece. At some point we knew nothing and figured that out...why categorize oneself? It's hard enough to make good work without restrictions.

Derek Coté said...

To Genre, or not to Genre

Genre is a tricky beast. It used to mean you made work about a certain subject. Some might think it is merely a fancy way to say "kind," or "type." Genre has shifted from naming works representing daily life to works of a certain ilk (i.e. Matthew Barney makes work of a particular genre.) I hate to bring up the "P" word, but pluralism lends a hand in blurring the lines even where Genre is concerned.

D.C.

sarah mizer said...

ism schmism

Why'd you have to go and bring up an "ism" Derek. Never mind the plural part, it's the "ism" that makes me cringe. What is the opposite of "ism"?

derek coté said...

To Genre, or not to Genre

I have a difficult time relegating myself to a particular genre. Meaning that in order to truly investigate a subject requires a broad exploration of differing media. That is to say that investigation via the camera's lens (photography) speaks to a particular topic in different ways than say using audio. Yet both are effective in revealing certain attributes of a particular subject. I do agree that one should not limit themselves to one medium. It seems to lead to a narrower vision of how things exist. Art seems to be about many things. Among them is making things that are pretty and nice to look at. But often it is about looking at the world in ways that are not obvious. So it seem s logical that in a culture where media shows us imagery and feeds us doctrine, artists should skip the Genre train in an effort to compete for the "truth."

I am not sure what the opposite of -ism is, but I do know that it denotes the action or result of ____. A state of ______.

sarah mizer said...

truth?

That is lovely and I completely agree. I don't even want to insert obvious jokes.
Now in search of this "truth" perhaps we could team up with Art Fag City and pitch some ideas for the artist reality show that is somewhere in the pipeline...perhaps it could be a reality show based on searching for "truth" and at the same time a high selling point...specifics can be ironed out later.

Justin said...

Pet Theories

"Theory" has alienated so many intelligent people because "theorists" often approach their "theories" as if they were laws. The apex of this approach seemed to coincide with an interest on many people's part with "Political Correctness." Both tendencies seemed to turn many artists into cops...a job that has never interested me. "Theory" at least might be rehabilitated if we think of Theory (capitol T) as "pet"theories... thought experiments. Thoughts that we can play with. In that sense I think that theory is implicit in my daily existence. Perhaps you might find this to be true for yourself as well.

derek coté said...

To Genre, or not to Genre

Theory is a bad six letter word for some people. Much in the same way that derivative is to many artists. The word "T"heory tends to possess a certain amount of cultural personal space. The word "T"heory implies that one must have a certain amount of intelligence to engage. The premise of "Pet Theory" carries much less baggage and allows fuel displacement engineers to be a part of the conversation.

I suppose you could apply the concept of theory into almost anyone's everyday life, even a fuel displacement engineer's. I happen to have a personal theory about crossing the street (not one I want to get into now.)

Justin said...

Re: Genre

Genre is sometimes called discipline. Who disciplines whom? Should discipline be conceived of simply as a noun? It's a verb too. And sometimes it is useful, but the synonyms and etymologies should be investigated.

John Henry Blatter said...

dis·ci·pline

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This
dis·ci·pline /ˈdɪsəplɪn/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[dis-uh-plin] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, -plined, -plin·ing.
–noun
1.
training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2.
activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
3.
punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
4.
the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.
5.
behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.
6.
a set or system of rules and regulations.
7.
Ecclesiastical. the system of government regulating the practice of a church as distinguished from its doctrine.
8.
an instrument of punishment, esp. a whip or scourge, used in the practice of self-mortification or as an instrument of chastisement in certain religious communities.
9.
a branch of instruction or learning: the disciplines of history and economics.

–verb (used with object)
10.
to train by instruction and exercise; drill.
11.
to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.
12.
to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.
[Origin: 1175–1225; ME < style="FONT-VARIANT: small-caps" href="http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=disciple" minmax_bound="true">disciple + -ina -ine2]

Justin said...

Re: ism

Pluralist to pluralism.
Fatalist to fatalism.
Artist to artism,

Of course it's all shorthand and all contingent to how the terms with isms are being used. The "use value".

I'm glad you're here Derek and Sarah. Sorry if I'm kind of stumbling about a bit till I can tune in to the conversation at hand. Thinking out loud. Digressing...but I'm with you guys and thinking as I'm reading and typing.

derek coté said...

Genre can also mean "of the paople" referring to the fact that it is of lay man's access. One of the things I like about the awareness of genre in my studio practice is that it allows me to explore new topics without using the same old tired approach. In a sense it is a state of mind as Sarah said earlier. No one really gives a shit what your work is "about" as long as they can find some semblance of connection within the work. That, in turn, becomes what the work is about. Haven't we all been bored or in between pieces in the studio to the point of doing something for the sake of keeping your hands busy? A lot of that stuff never makes it out of the studio to see the light of day but it is informative towards other stuff. I have to admit I have made simple sculptures about plants or flowers in a simple effort to work in a medium I don't tend to focus on. Does that make me particular to the Genre of Botany art? I think not... But it is a sense of discipline that compels me to stay busy and make something, even if it belongs at an arts and crafts fair.

John Henry Blatter said...

To dicipline

10. to train by instruction and exercise; drill.
11. to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.
12. to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.

Not bad.

If we are 'to art' then maybe there should be 'to dicipline'. Perhaps it would have a thoughtful and positive impact on some of the work I am seeing in this glutiness art market if painters were drilled with their brushes and sculptors were brought into obedience with a bronze hammer.

derek coté said...

Yo, Web.

Who invited Merriam Webster?

Justin said...

Circling back.

My post on Theory might actually have some inroads into the discussion of genre. Is there some kind of cop that guards the boundary of genres, media, or disciplines? If not, do we ever internalize one and fight needless battles with (or make attempts to evade) that cop ?
My apologies if this reads too self-serious and paranoid.

Sarah Mizer said...

if not now then when?

Semantics aside.
given that our practice is derivative of theories and discipline. Once work becomes public, is that the point in which genre plays a role?

derek coté said...

I wouldn't say there is a cop guarding the boundaries. But I can say that a dealer once asked me what I did, when I said "I'm a sculptor," He responded with "That's the hardest stuff to sell."
I didn't see him wearing a badge, incidentally.

Justin said...

By the way...

this posting party is kind of fun to participate in. Maybe it should be done at regular intervals.

John Henry Blatter said...

Genre for the people

I think it is a little dangerous though to allow the viewer to simplifly a work to it's genre. For a work to be reduced to merely to a style or medium is to completely miss it's meaning, impact and power. As new media work becomes ever more prevelant in the more established institutions, especially those in middle America, I hope that it is not reduced to the old addage 'I understand new media, therefore I understand this new media work'.

derek coté said...

lost, but not forgotten

I am sure that we have all heard the adage that once your work leaves the studio, it no longer belongs to you. I think Genre's are an easy way for the public, at least those who don't have an acute sense of deconstructing and internally catgorizing works of art, to make sense and file information.

Ssarah Mizer said...

posting parties and badges

Badges would be a great idea!!! Let's make some of those to pass out at openings.
I agree with Justin, Posting party is fun...good times.

Justin said...

Derek

When the dealer asked what you did it seems like you jumped to form. In a world in which genre doesn't matter why not just start with the content?I 'm very interested in _____________ so I make art.
Maybe the dealer was an undercover cop...

derek coté said...

Let the CHiPs fall

I guess I was predisposed to saying "I'm a sculptor." I have since edited my response to "I'm an artist." Perhaps I should re edit myself to respond with "I an intelligent being who is capable of examining my environment, culturally, physically ,and emotionally resulting in a creative manifestation which takes many forms." He did have a very CHiPs-esque moustache...

Justin said...

post-studio / genre

When I talk with other artists, including my students, I don't find myself sticking with genre when bringing up work that might interest someone. My first impulse is...this other artist I've come across seems to be interested in some of the same things that you are. Genre /medium/etc. more often than not seems beside the point .

derek coté said...

ummm

I am an intelligent being...

Sarah mizer said...

that is a good slip! You may need to try it on before you take it out!

derek coté said...

TV is bliss

John- Allow the viewer? The viewer is not really engaged with you at all. There really is no chance of "Allowing" the viewer to do or not do anything. If by viewer you mean institutions, then the answer is yes, they would like to think they do understand that new fangled media work. It seems all to apparent that most don't when invited to do a show and there is not a single extension cord in the joint. On another note there may be the assumption that if one understands TV, they understand new media work. Ahhh, the benfits of cutting art education funding...

sarah mizer said...

TV is bliss!
...well, perhaps a long second to a bottle of wine somewhere in southern france but, it's pretty sweet all in all.

justin said...

New media

Dear Mr. Gallerist, How new is the media that you as an art institution are familiar with? What stage of the new in new media are you in these days?Who was the artist and what was the last example of that new media that you exhibited? What challenges did you face with that? If my work is really new media shouldn't you ideally have more challenges than that. Are you ready?

John Henry Blatter said...

Education for the viewer or the artist?

Derek

Who is it that needs the education, I would would say both the creater and the experiencer.

TV is bliss is probably correct in that we are now in an age where all of us are surrounded by technology. That creates both a problem for the viewer and artist. For the artist, the problem lies in the fact that we as a society are accustomed to technology and subconciously have expectations on what we are about to experience. As an artist working in these mediums, there has to be an awareness of what it is the viewer is expecting without ever knowing that they are already predisspossed to those expectations. As the experiencer, the problem arises in the fact that if they have seen a new media work before, they jump to the assumption that they already know what all new media work is to be.

derek coté said...

U

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derek coté said...

restating

I certainly don't want to imply that art institutions are ignoramouseses. Nor do I want to propose that They don't serve a purpose. I guess the root of my comment is that everyone wants to get in on that newest poop as soon as they can regardless of the implications or responsibilities. The genre of new media seems to be a new catch-all for things technological much in the same way installation served artists not dealing with painterly or sculptural tendencies. As artists, we move forward and we expand our breadth. Institutions and galleries have to keep up if they want to stay in business. An hopefully they will or we will have to start our own Television station.

sarah mizer said...

careful

sounds like the genre is being defined here?

who is wearing the badge?

justin said...

I'm toying...any dictatorial sensibility is really facetious.
The new in new media is often so fetishized that it's pretty problematic.

sarah mizer said...

a new media query

so I know this is the way of the blogosphere ( I was hoping to work that word in here tonight) but I wish I could go back and draw red arrows (like the ones JetBlue uses to show where they fly) over the page to better direct the viewer. Where on Blogspot are those fabulous red arrows...Justin, Derek, John you all work in new media...where are the arrows?

derek coté said...

Education for the Misses

John - If one is to create a new media work based on what the viewer is prepared to experience, then isn't that akin to painting big red paintings because we know they are selling around the corner? I guess the point is that we, as artists, should always make what we are compelled to make regardless of viewer preparedness or expectation. Our job is to surpass and shatter expectation, for the viewer and for ourself.

sarah mizer said...

I hope you meant "education for the mAsses"

justin said...

sarah, are you looking for this...?

they might have red arrows somewhere in the following web platform.

http://www.mindmeister.com/

sarah mizer said...

Sweet!
Thanks!!!

justin said...

more like this

http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=mindmaps+web+2.0&fr=yfp-t-501&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8

derek coté said...

ummm

Nope, mIsses. I don't believe the mAsses are educated

sarah mizer said...

I don't follow
perhaps I need a better education?

John Henry Blatter said...

Art 101

I am not saying that artists should be making work that viewers are expecting to see. I am saying that artists should not make work without any consideration of what the viewer will see because of a common existence.

derek coté said...

Adios

Alright Kids. I gotta get back to work. It's been fun, and I look forward to re-reading this tomorrow after watching some new media.

justin said...

g'night

Derek, John, Sarah. Let's do it again some time. Even if the audience is just the four of us participants I think it might be worthwhile.

sarah mizer said...

indeed