Thursday, January 31, 2008

Free your mind and your ass will follow
(George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic)

Being an Artist is primarily a state of mind. No matter what is physically made in the studio, at the heart of an artist’s practice lies exploratory thought opened by observation. Discovery and speculation will lead to unforeseeable developments, often in more than one direction. Comparable, perhaps, to the branches of a tree.

Questions and ideas matter more than answers or conclusions; the end of a thought may never arrive. Being able to operate with such an open mind is a unique yet learnable skill; a rare privilege.

In the world created for us, on the other hand, thinking is primarily conducted along familiar paths, rendering discovery and speculation largely obsolete. In that world we are likely to perceive an unfamiliar thought as demanding; it complicates life and throws into question what we already know. Spare mental capacity, excess, is easily dissipated by distraction, consequently we rarely entertain a challenging idea. We fear the freedoms available in complexity. In the ready-made world, comfortable as it may feel, we are condemned to the existence of an onlooker.

It is a moot point that, as our thoughts guide our actions, our inner life will direct the path of our fate. What will save us from an onlooker’s existence are ideas: it is in thought that our freedom begins.

An artist must aim to disseminate ideas – not so much her own, but the currency of ideas and of untried thought; and if all goes well, to tickle minds into unfamiliar positions.

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