RE: Virtual Concerto

Subject: RE: Virtual Concerto
From: Michael Rempel (Michael@VIDIR.COM)
Date: Thu May 20 2004 - 14:23:23 EDT

> Identifying art in an essentialist manner is fraught with
> consequences.
So is exploring art without pushing its definitive boundaries. Merely
pushing an audience to exceed the mean attention span of a twelve year old
can be dangerous. Yet onward and upward. (or is that momentum acceptance
with non-specific direction ward) :-)

> Duchamp's urinal... is definitely art.
> I think however, that for art to be good, it must compel the
> attention of
> the audience and take their imaginations places that they would not
> otherwise go.
> In the case of the urinal, by itself it obviously has no such
> power; part of
> the work therefore, is the context and presuppositions that
> Duchamp and what
> the audience already knew about him brought along with the
> porcelain object
> into its presentation.
The particular satisfaction of this illustration is that what ever you think
of it, the correct object to dispense with the results are easily at hand.
Hence Duchmp's genius.

> Framing is art. A photograph is a frame on a natural process.
> A recording of
> a natural sound, a cough, a sexual outcry, leaves blowing in
> the wind, could
> be art merely by virtue of being framed in a recording.
> If as Aristotle said art is the imitation of nature, then
> framing nature is
> the simplest and most direct form of art.
The term frame as used here is an analogy. The analogy presents intent. The
intention may only be to say 'look at this', or it may imply more, as the
peculiar porcelain does.

The part of this argument I am wanting to flush is that compelling the
attention of an audience can be abused. A recording of a police camera in a
high school locker room showing the gang rape of a teenage girl is not art.
Yet it is compelling in a grotesque way. I saw an exhibition once, that
showed a collection of these images, with faces blurred out. I was repelled,
and did not consider the experience to be art. Yet it was the intent of the
exhibit(or)(ionist) to test boundaries of the audiences' artistic

Another boundary testing installation that I recall was quite a success
happened a long time ago at the University of Manitoba. A dilapidated frame
of a building like structure was erected in a scenic part of the banks of
the Red River. It had new unpainted wood framing and clear plastic walls
that were shredded to billow in the wind. There was a public outcry over the
waste of money, and exclamations that such a construction could not possibly
be art. The radio talk shows (a mainstay of life in Winnipeg) were abuzz
with it. It was wonderful.


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