tag : bright yellow-green apples: composed gift

"I see little point in persisting in a discussion with one so obstinate as you" Martin White

Friday, January 21, 2005

composed gift



figure 5.8. worship the...?

It would be so easy to carp about Bush’s use of the term freedom whilst uncharged detainees languish and despots are favoured as ‘frennafreedom’. It would be so easy to gloat as Kilroy sucks a divided UKIP into the black hole of his ego.

But instead, I’m going to draw out one of the themes of creativity from the last entry about inter-inspirations by art forms. While re-reading a chapter about gift in the very excellent Complex Christ, required reading if you think the Church has any living future, I came across this passage regarding art:

"...true works of art function as transforming, life-giving gifts, yet exist simultaneously in...two economies of market exchange and gift. Art can be bought and sold for a profit, but in its essence, it is a gift. Indeed..."a work of art can survive without the market but where there is no gift there is no art." true art presents itself to us as a gift that can aid transformation, an antidote to the restless death of the commodity civilisation; but it is a delicate gift, whose power can be destroyed very easily if it is turned into pure commodity. (One might reflect on the mass production of Matisse’s work as posters for sale in every poster shop on every high street and find truth in…that the force of the pieces has been lost, their soul destroyed.)"

Artists can have a pivotal role in promoting a gift society, in ensuring that we can give to each other unreservedly and without any sense of relational commerse. They share transforming creations with us. Creations that exist way beyond object commodity and packagable product. Creations that fashion new worlds in the charged space between what the artist gives (intention ect.) and what others receive (interpretation ect). Bearing this in mind, when we see art taken on and moved into unseen new configurations of meaning, should we view is as insulting that “...the musician that created and handed over to you his work by feebly announcing that it somehow had a role to play in your own creation”? I’m not convinced that this comes out of a view of art which is either tenable or sustainable, especially if we‘re to live beyond the reach of sterile individualism and voracious markets.

Both in terms of the aim and the outcome of the creative venture, a more healthy understanding would be that “...we all promote our forms of art with the intention that people will be moved by it in some way or other.” Artists are not charity workers or submissive servants, but shamans and priests for our society. Seekers of new visions, when sometimes we forget to see.

5 Comments:

Blogger Martin said...

As often, I feel faintly bemused by your strain of analysis of the place of art in the world at large. I suppose I wonder exactly why you feel it is necessary to reinforce the value of art? I'm no psychologist, obviously...

And as a fellow East Midlander, I'm sure you'll agree that Kilroy is now certainly obligated to resign? After all, the PR system is based on voting for the party. He was elected as 'UKIP number one' rather than himself, and therefore surely he cannot justify remaining in office? It is an interesting quirk of this system, that no remedy exists for this situation...

12:22 AM  
Blogger postliberal said...

His own justification, in a bullish and fairly petulant interview on Newsnight, was that he was voted on the principles and not the person (spot the irony) so therefore was still representing his constituents - it was UKIP that was erring by marginalising him in their insolent narrow mindedness. I couldn't help by smile at the irony of it all, as he talked about high principles on a platform of self-promotion.

As for the strained discussion, I feel no necessity to reinforce value or justify it. To me, as a ‘practicing artist’ it seems very naturally free of such intellectual condition. But it seemed interesting to consider such ideas, to draw out themes that artists might want to consider in the scheme of things. Ultimately it's best to let the creativity speak for itself. If nought else web logs are where you indulge your private whims! Mine just happens to be the arts and culture...analyse away...

2:08 AM  
Blogger Martin said...

Well, I don't know if I'd argue about UKIP showing 'insolent narrow mindedness', but I wonder if perhaps we see a problem with the system? Even if the boundaries are somewhat blurred.

This doesn't strike me as a post with themes so much as a manifesto for the role of art in society. I find that strange, because while I agree with much of what you are saying, I wonder who you're seeking to convince that art is 'pivotal'?

2:53 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

Second sequence of thoughts on this:

I do realise by the way that you were backing up my view :-), and am glad to be "healthy", but I would like to retract slightly from saying 'we all' do this, because we don't. Point for me is, I can see little value in writing and recording music which does not reach out to others. I am probably being rather fascist here, but I can see very little value in music or art which the creator of that music or art keeps to himself.

I remember a couple of years ago, when I was being a radio bod, meeting a critic writer, who said that she wrote her own music but that she kept it to herself. In that case, then, she shouldn't have been a critic, as far as I can see. After all, how can a musician scrutinise the work of others when they don't allow themselves to be open to scrutiny?

2:59 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

I don’t know if I’m trying to convince anyone, it seems to me there’s a lot already implicit in the nature of making art. [meek voice]I just wondered if there’s ought that could be said, that’s all[/meek voice]

I suppose, while I do find art is the main thing that maintains my thread of sanity, and that I take the most indulgent tangents known in the Derbyshire Dales, I don’t personally find the point in locking my stuff away. I won’t ram it into people’s faces, but I’ll leave it around for anyone who might care to look. If it’s purely an introverted game, then maybe a little of the essence of expression is lost.

Now *there's* an idea! I could write a whole manifesto ;P

11:38 PM  

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