ART = NEW...

I watch IFC (Independent Film Channel). I like IFC. IFC represents part of my attempt to recover from Republicanism. I am a reformed Republican. I was never much of a conservative, but I was a Republican. Now I am not.

So anyway, I was watching short films on IFC this morning and I saw this amazing film about this guy (George [something or other]) creating "art" in New York city.

Now, what this guys does is post flyers: some advertising "a cracker" or "an eraser" or... anyway, prices range from $0.15-$0.35.

And the AMAZING thing about all this is just how many people tear off the phone number strips from his flyers, posted all over midtown Manhattan, and CALL him to get their cracker/eraser/pen-cap/[whatever]...

Now, many of the callers espoused "theories" about why they did this. The most eloquent can be paraphrased as follows: Buyer: "... This is art as social commentary isn't it? Commenting on the banality and futility of commerce, of CAPITALISM itself. Isn't it?" George: "Well,... Yes! It is."

And that says something about ART, per se, something that I want to espouse at this moment in time.

ART is not beautiful.
ART is not (at it's core) emotionally moving (I mean to say that is not its REAL point).

That is the most important aspect, as I now realize... to use old objects... to use new objects... to use ideas... but most importantly, to produce something NEW. Something that takes human consciousness, if only briefly, somewhere it wasn't going yesterday, or even 30 seconds ago. That is ART.

And, conversely, what I do: renovate old houses, restore an old pickup, graft lovely, elegant software algorithms to suit yet another business information system, is NOT art.

Not art, but instead advertising: a demonstration of examplary techniques and patterns of behavior designed to encourage mass consumption. And, unfortunately, making the world a worse place, by encouraging followers, increased consumption, and ultimately (banal, futile) commerce!

Next week, my goal is to stop watching and maybe actually pursue a legitimate NEW experience of my own. My wife, often angrily, encourages me in this endeavor. Thus, I resist.

But then that's another story, isn't it?

Todd Ryder