Seeing is Forgetting – Notes and More Notes…
I think one of my largest takeaways from the reading this week is that there is a tremendous amount of work that goes into the creation of “nothing”.
And I really enjoyed it. Irwin’s ideas about space and experiments with perception definitely resonated with me but I think it also raised a lot of questions that I would like to explore myself. It came to the point that I just had to pull things out as I read (included below) but that I wanted the time to ruminate on. Things such as how does one escape context that is unwanted or no longer relevant? How does this apply to people as well as art? Or the idea of liminal spaces (a concept first brought to my attention while an undergrad that has stuck with me since) and how we come to these in between places throughout our lives. How we can we bring attention to a state that barely exists?
What follows probably reads like a stream of consciousness and for that I apologize but I had a lot of thoughts! Or maybe a lot of questions….
- Irwin emphasizes verbally that what he requires of the spectator is for him literally to ‘enact the process of the work’s conception’. Look at it, examine it, to go through the steps of the artist is to truly understand the achievement of the work? Is this a matter of perspective and if it is how do we impose it?
- “The beauty of the discs was rendering their achievement invisible” Not because they managed to melt into their own environment and erase what we perceive as the edge of a piece of art, for being between something and nothing and all.
- General resistance to the existence of “nothing” and an application of “something” with tenacity. People saw them as mandalas, butterflies, clovers, eyes, etc. Occasionally we are so consumed with the thing that we are exploring or creating that we fail to see the obvious from other points of view?
- Work for the self. they could have their symbols, “he would focus on the implications of the disc answer for his ongoing inquiry into presence. work for the self at odds with perception. or not. can we all take our own meaning without detracting from the artist?
- What we’re really talking about in this whole process is not anything to do with the painting itself, but rather something to do with this thing of value, that which makes an object exist in the world with the ability to isolate itself (truly seeing something is to forget everything around it? or that might pertain to it but is also unimportant?)
- “They’re meaningless, so therefore they simply fall out of view” (individuals we deem meaningless may also fall out of view).
- “As I walk through the world I bring into focus certain things which are meaningful, and others are by degrees less in focus, dependent upon their meaningfulness in terms of what I’m doing, to the point where there are certain things that are totally out of focus and invisible” Is this possible to use as a tool? A good way to think about hiding the unexpected? Can we change the “meaningfulness” of something to bring attention to something else? (also relevant : I don’t care about your rights, struggles, etc because you are unimportant i.e. invisible to me).
- How do you get someone to actually look at something. “the discs were still ensnared within the context” how do you defeat context that no longer applies? Also a good question – how do you get one to actually listen without preconceived notions getting in the way?
- Make art of things that are “invisible” yet somehow still perceived. the incidental
- The aspect of our experience that is both there and not there (liminality!)
- Environment rooms that have effect on behavior of “experts” but without notice – interesting way to influence and observe behavior…
- Artists equated to scientists – everything is an experiment up to a point. no need to keep it because the experiment isn’t finished yet.
- Retrospective just a room. To bring attention to the facets of the room that are usually overlooked. The room itself has presence. Reminds me of Aronoff center for the arts at the University of Cincinnati – I’ve been told multiple times that it has no right angles (completely false) but the treatment of the space does lend it it’s own character. They’re just walls, but because they’re often at odds with what we expect from a space, it has its own personality and presence.