In the last blog I shared my admiration for the tradition of performing arts. Centuries of passionate work have been devoted to help us negotiate meaningful connections with the beauty and mysteries of our world.
I proposed to kill it.
I don’t want to kill any artists, not their ideas, craft, visions and or observations, but I think “Art” as a concept should die. In the absence of such a label, we can investigate, discuss and examine the power of… well, the thing we used to call art.
I will not make the mistake of inventing a new fancy name for art. Instead, let’s use words that we all can relate to and that might describe the essence of what artists do.
“Play”, for example. Artists know how to “play” in the world of adults; but isn’t it something everybody can do, creating a safe space for experiment and challenge?
“Beauty” can also be found anywhere. If we learn to observe, we’ll find it at unexpected places. No museum needed.
“Imagination” is a third quality that we often reserve for artist but that’s no less than essential to the thinking and being of just everyone.
Avoiding the label of “Art” can help us to become more outspoken and clear about principles that are universal, relevant and valuable for the people we address or relate to. Artists can find their place in society, creating vital connections with other professionals, users, makers, players. They can be as artistic as they used to be, and continue to have deep conversations about meaning, form, tradition and all other topics that are relevant when artists talk to each other. Just don’t use the word “Art” as an excuse to keep things vague or to shelter it off from others that are not educated to talk arty.
I am passionate about this for one reason. Art has become an exclusive thing, reserved for artists, art curators, art collectors, an art audience and the art section in a newspaper. In this way, it’s a concept that spirals inward.
But if we “play”, it’s the rules of our social environment we test, bend, or break. If we “imagine”, we rearrange the things that we can relate to, discover new combinations and possibilities. If we create “beauty”, it will only exist in the eyes of the beholder, the other. Then our mind spirals outward!
Let’s use our skills, experience and talents to create outward-spiraling ideas and activities that build and deepen the relationships that we have with the world around us. We might still use a secluded, protected laboratory, such as a theatre, concert hall or the artists studio. There is nothing wrong with that. But let’s use it just like the locker room in a sports arena. It’s a place to get ready, gear up and discuss your tactics. The real performance takes place outside, in the real world. And after the game you can come back to take a shower.