Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fish and life

Notes on the first page of the Introduction to my dissertation. Notations in black by my second supervisor,  Dr. Jill Scott. My glosses on her notes, in conversation, in red.
I am on the last months of my dissertation writing for my PhD. It has been an intellectual marathon.

I have had two premises in this work. One is that art can see things about restoring fish habitat in the Anthropocene that scientists cannot. And so, it was worth it to put that in words, to provide credible arguments, data and citations because the life of fish is also our lives.

The second premise was that that research process is art in itself, a performance event, an art life exploration that can redefine our perceptions of ourselves.

Both these premises are about redefining what art does and how it might be seen. The seeing is as important as the definition.

My conflict is over whether I made the right decision four years ago, when I began this process. The argument for not doing it at all, is a familiar one: that art should speak for itself, wordlessly. I am ambivalent about that argument. On the one hand, i would like nothing better than to paint wordlessly, to assemble sculptural assemblages, installations, collages; record sound, write stream of consciousness. But I also have this sense of obligation- co-dependence?

People often simply can't "see" what's under their noses because it doesn't fit their preconceptions over what art is, should be, can be .... and so we explain. But isn't that the role of the critic? I am not taking the role of the critic.

I am taking the role of The Thinker.

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