I came across some very interesting sites this week which kicked up a lot of dust in my psyche. I thought I'd share:http://postsecret.blogspot.com/
You may have heard of this one if you listened to NPR this week. This is a site where people anonymously send in their secrets to be posted. It made me hanker after doing conceptual art again...
The Post Secret web site is all about communal art, about making an art installation without any physical space, and I just loved it. It's cool to think of random strangers sending in bits and pieces of themselves for a collaboration; because they needed to share and felt safe to do it here; because they just couldn't resist. I wanted to do something similar using virtual space instead of physical, but I haven't thought of anything yet that isn't derivative. Got a little notion of something this morning (based on a random event in my vicinity), but it's not fully formed yet.
I used to do visual art along with the writing, but I reached a point of diminishing energy and had to choose between the two. I knew that the time had come where I had to focus seriously on the writing if I was going to take it to the next level and for me, because of that limited time and energy, that meant laying aside other things. It really wasn't too difficult: writing gives me the fire in the belly, visuals and conceptual art are things I like, that are fun, but don't instill the same kind of passion. So I set aside my plans for art installations and thing-making (I was a sculpture and textile arts girl rather than a drawing/painting girl). For the most part, I haven't looked back. I pull out a project now and then when I just want to relax and work on something, but I'm not filled with longing for lost art projects.
As I said, this secrets project has me thinking about doing art installations that don't take up physical space (always a problem for someone living in a one-bedroom apartment). I used to make plans for installations, even started a couple—artworks where viewers could actually walk into and participate in—but I'm a non-affiliated artist. I didn't go to art school, don't know the right people, have no gallery or museum hook-ups. So the chances of getting anyone to let me have space to set up one of these is next to nil.
If I'd really had the passion for it, as I do with writing, that wouldn't have stopped me. Which tells me more than anything that it wasn't my passion, wasn't meant to be, wasn't where I needed to focus.http://www.foundmagazine.com/
Related, in a way, but different. This magazine is also something of a communal art project. People send in notes they find on the streets, or pictures of the notes they've found if they don't want to give them up. These are alternately moving and hilarious, sometimes creepy as hell, sometimes cute—and utterly absorbing. At least for someone of my proclivities. I wanted to go out immediately and start searching the streets...
One of the things I used to love to do was found object sculpture. I'd incorporate random things found on the streets, garage sales, thrift stores—wherever—and make them into interesting object collages. I L-O-V-E the work of randomness in art, love to take disparate things and make them into something new, or take something old and give it a new perspective. This is a very powerful pull for me and this site really kicks that excitement up. I'm a big fan of Betty Saar, who did a lot of this in her work—often intimate and delicate and female. A lot of artists have done this and I recently saw an exhibit at the Norton Simon of just this kind of thing—but can I remember any of the other artists??? A mind is a terrible thing to waste...Lost but Found: Assemblage, Collage and Sculpture, 1920-2002
It just ended, so they don't have the exhibit info still up. There were big guys like Picasso and Duchamp as well as others less well known. Some really good stuff.
You know, I guess it's not really all that different from your crazy Uncle Ned who likes to make lawn decorations out of hub caps, et al. Just a different perspective on the same idea, really. But whether it's Uncle Ned or Betty Saar or Marcel Duchamp, there's a power to this stuff, something that declares, "Look here! Everything has its own beauty (even the ugly stuff). Everything is just a matter of how you look at things."
In honor of this, I pulled out a broken dish mosaic that's been in the back of the closet for ever so long. I really don't have the time for it right now, but I'm thinking maybe I need to at least fiddle with it a bit. Even if it's just to look at it and say, "Huh," and put it away again. Creativity feeds creativity. Everything we do to nourish our souls inevitably gets returned to us in our art. Especially when we're in the saggy middle sections of our novels and feeling frustrated and restless...
Our blackest stuff, our brightest stuff, our random occurrences, all go into the making of who we are and have to be accepted as part of the toll we pay for a rich life. Sometimes it makes one seem foolish, that enthusiasm of the true geek, but being a Fool isn't such a bad thing. I think if we were more willing to be foolish now and again, to live out our geekage unapologetically, we'd have fuller and more complete lives. It's that trying to be cool all the time crap that really impoverishes us.
But there's foolish and there's foolish:http://www.livejournal.com/community/customers_suck/9865898.html?thread=10778282
I sure hope you can open the sound file on this. When you read it in transcript it sounds like a hoax, but when you hear the tape it seems all-too-horrifyingly-real. It has nothing to do with the other two sites—except maybe in an absurdist, randomist kind of way.