Let’s cast a spell on contemporary art, “Ddduu, Daaaa, Ddduu, Chaaa, Ddduu, ammppp.” Can you hear it? Is the air merchant laughing at us. One can of tomato soup, a whole packet of Lucky Strikes, two full spoons of moustache wax, three drops of polyester resin, one ounce of liquid THC, and a gallon of white paint. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer. Pour the mix into a plexiglass box six by twenty-seven by twenty-four inches, and repeat twice the ritual chant, “Ddduu, Daaaa…” As the elements connect in the crescent moon, expect growth in the quadrant of the self, develop your charms, increase your potential.
Abuse of contemporary art comes as no surprise in the age of mechanical experience.
As crowds await to take selfies in the room of infinite lights or in front of the shipwrecked were hundreds of refugees perished, a sense of wonder invades our souls. Hectic art for the attention-deficitarians, sensorial art for the emotionally-overwhelmed, political art for the cognitive-precariat. Creations that reflect the excess of our times, more is more.
Is the artist-entrepreneur a neoliberal hero or an agent of resistance? When contemporary art has become an agent of global gentrification, artists emerge from Ivy League Universities, and activism is included in venues dedicated to the super-rich, what does it mean for art to claim a specific capacity to articulate our perceptual ethos? How can art imagine the future when is complicit of today’s inequalities? even of today’s ecological crisis?
Then, how would it be possible to articulate a contestation to all of the above? How to avoid speaking about contemporary art as if one was a life-coach or a hyperactive scholar? What would be the chances to develop a practice and a language that is able to accomplish a critique? When the artist becomes a moveable feast, when the valise and the coat turn into a strategy of display, then we are situated within a space of proximity. Placing ourselves within the ephemeral, the performative and the horizontal, we are able to generate a moment of communication that pairs intentions with presentations. Can this be coopted? Yes, maybe, likely, absolutely, never.
Although neoliberal economy praises flexibility and nomadism as virtues of the new jobs’ paradigm, could we still claim these as non-normative practices? By connecting walking to thinking, could physical fluidity be a way to combat the avenues of mainstream ideology? And then, embrace becoming, unsteadiness and inexactitude as a point of vantage over the dominating forces of today. Could the tent, the shack, the sleeping bag, or the pad be a source of another form of relating, thinking, and acting and even be effective against the shed? Could we through this proximity initiate a practice that claims us as sites of action against the digital panopticon? And if so, how would we write, and speak about this, without letting ourselves get trapped by the usual jargon, is this even possible? When I can only write in this language of feelings? Or is all of this futile and there’s no other aspiration than to look at the summer moon and aspire to be somewhere else, far, far away, long, long ago, well into the future…