Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Performance "art"

Joel asked me what I think about performance art vs. traditional media. I am married to an artist and thus have been exposed to so many artistic venues and have developed my own taste and opinions and views. My opinions may have been threatened to be swayed by Sean's--he is very particular, which is a great thing-- but there have been moments where I have strong opinions about something that directly oppose his, so that's comforting.

Regarding performance art vs. traditional media...hmm. I'm not sure what this is. Is this like.. where people meet in lounges and stand up naked, with black paint all over their body and stand still for 5 minutes? I am not sure I have had much experience with performance art, to be honest. But this may be because I don't have a lot of patience for it, or what I think it is. For example, take video art. I generally dislike it, and I am generous with that statement. So, assuming traditional media means sculpture, painting, etc. Let's compare.

In an ideal world, we would all spend several minutes, hours, or days pondering one particular piece. We'd reflect, ask ourselves questions and how we feel about it, analyze it, etc etc. (Maybe this is ideal, i don't know) But the average museum-goer such as myself will likely spend about 2.3 seconds looking at an item. Therefore, I kind of feel like the message you'd like to convey or the quality of a thing must make itself known within that time frame. Thus, i have no patience for video art. It's long, boring, and oftentimes extremely irritating. Don't stand there and yell gibberish with "twinkle twinkle little star" playing on a cassette tape with dying batteries while you touch your face with a feather because you're wasting my time.

It kind of belittles what good art there is out there and I just have a hard time with it. I don't know why exactly, as again, i don't have a lot of experience with it. But there you go. Also, if you'd like to tell a story using video, make a movie. Do a documentary. Have some kind of cohesion and have it make some kind of sense. Oftentimes when i look at a painting i think it makes a lot of sense and i don't know why, and sometimes something fails miserably. Sometimes i know why, sometimes i don't, really.

Here's another experience. Years ago I was on the train and I saw a man with a bass with him. This is a giant cello, the kind people stand up to play. It's awesome. I love really great instruments. I walked over to him to verify what i thought the instrument was. He was friendly, we chatted about music. He told me he was part of a musical group called something or other. He then invited me to a concert at a place downtown.. gave me the details and told me to tell them his name and we'd get in. Wow! I was excited. I love classical music and assumed this was some kind of small ensemble orchestral group.

Sean and I went and here's what it was: New age modern "music", aka trash, of some kind. We sat down and about 10 or 12 people stood on the stage in sort of a half circle with various instruments. Mostly string.. in fact, i think all string. And they continued to pluck and beat, and scratch and screech and abuse their instruments in such an intensely offensive way, I am seriously amazed my ears didn't start to bleed. It was noise, it was painful, and i didn't sign up for this. It hurt my ears and my soul. I don't understand it. I tried to. I tried to appreciate it for any artistic value but after a while i couldn't do it because there wasn't any. They used their beautiful instruments as tools to cause pain and it made me angry. So, i don't know what this means. Maybe i judge to harshly and am too impatient, but there's another experience.

This might be long (no, ok. it is long) and boring but oh well. Blame Joel. :) just kidding joel. This is basically a bit stream of consciousness and i probably should have given it more thought. I, for one, think it is an interesting topic. And it's nobody's fault but my own if i can't talk about it in an interesting way. And that's what i promised you in the previous post. I apologize. I'll do better.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Alright, i just read this post and i totally bored myself. note to self: don't write a post when feeling stale.