I came across this really nice resource when I was doing research. You can sign up for free and get news on current artists and people doing interesting things.
I came across this artist, who may not be for everyone, but is doing some very interesting work. He is referred to as "Witch Doctor".
In Fluxus: The History of an Attitude there is a statement from Duchamp that the "effect of personlaity and taste should be removed from the art making process". I have read this several times, tossing the words around in my head, searching for what Duchamp was really trying to say. For me, this seems difficult, almost an impossibility. I have rarely made art where I did not put a bit of myself, or my personality into the work, or at the very least, the process. However, when I stop and think about how the Dada movement encouraged the use of chance and designation, I can see how the person can become removed. I cannot say that this is how I would like to do things, but is interesting to ponder how to completely remove the artist from the art, and yet why would we want to?
I found myself wanting to know more about Rauschenberg. I spent time online viewing some of his work and reading quotes and various biographical accounts. I think I was drawn to him because I found his works so visually interesting. It was not always aesthetically pleasing, but looked as if each piece was saying something. It felt like a puzzle to be solved or interpreted. I thought to myself that he must have been so intentional in his work. Then I found a quote (actually a series of quotes) in which Rauschenberg spoke about his process being one of improvisation. He also talked about how being "right" simply isn't necessary in the work. A very interesting man.
Anyway, one quote that I really liked was this:
I usually work in a direction until I know how to do it, then I stop. At the time that I am bored or understand — I use those words interchangeably — another appetite has formed. A lot of people try to think up ideas. I’m not one. I’d rather accept the irresistible possibilities of what I can’t ignore.
Anything you do will be an abuse of somebody else’s aesthetics. I think you’re born an artist or not. I couldn’t have learned it. And I hope I never do because knowing more only encourages your limitations.
In our previous week's readings, I was intrigued by Dick Higgins reference to liminality, or the "liminal experience" I wasn't quite sure about what this meant, so looked it up. It turns out that it is an anthropological term related to tribal rites of passage. Victor Turner, and anthropologist who taught at the University of Virginia studied this and wrote (among other things) a classic essay, "Betwixt and Between: The Liminal Period in Rites of Passage".
In his essay, Turner asserted that in tribal cultures, the initiate would usually be required to go through a period of time in which s/he reliquished all former structural ties by enduring "nakedness, poverty and complete submission to the terms of the liminal passage in order to attain the next life stage".
He goes on to tie this into our own modern western culture, where such rituals rarely exist.The liminal experience would then be some method of leaving old ways behind by somehow letting go of the ego's claim to rank and social function in order to attain a "more highly individual state of growth".
I am not sure that all people accomplish this, but I do see the connection to Dick Higgins and his definition of Intermedia. He mentions that the new art (Avant-garde) carries with it some liminality. It is a process of acquiring a better state of being (becoming). As I have been trying to figure this all out, these ideas of Intermedia and becoming and Fluxus and so on, I realize that it is, perhaps, a rite of passage that occurs as an artist (or group) attempts to discover a new way of being that expands beyond the traditional or comfortable place that has been established. If artistic expression is to be ever fresh or changing, than certaily rites of passage must exist.
(In summary) One of my favorite Higgins quotes thus far:
The great works of the past no longer provide us with the experience we are seeking, however wonderful they are. For this, it is not among the perfect voices of our past that we must look but, rather, among the most unsatisfactory of our present, knowing that these are, at least, alive. One is not searching for the memory of the perfect lover but, rather, for the warm and living lover.
This is a video made by a group in the UK. Their intention was to make a fluxus video that combines reenactments of well known fluxus performances from the 60's. There is some criticism that it is too "over done" to be truly fluxus. Either way, it is interesting. It also makes me want to figure out which parts match original performances. Anyway, here it is. (Hopefully this works)
Tried to embed, but had to resort to a link instead.