Thursday, September 18, 2008

To Clarify Re Keywords

The list of keywords in the last post ended up reminding me of quarks, although "charm" is the only overlapping term. The charm I am thinking of has no particular connection to quarks, unless you are generalizing quite broadly about energy.

The term "generosity" was suggested by Julie Puttgen (though she might not know she suggested it). She was speaking of some installation exhibits and performance art that she was not enthusiastic about, and part of what she didn't like was the lack of generosity on the part of the artist. The artist/author/performer chooses how much welcome will be given to the viewer/audience. The viewer/audience has to walk into the door and take part or appreciate or simply access what is going on in the art - will you, as artist, let them? Are you, as artist, providing something that may be taken part in, appreciated, or accessed? Are you giving them something good? Something good for what ails them?

Although there is new medical thinking on actual shock treatment, I think that shock treatment of society through art is pretty played - and furthermore, the indiscriminate application of scientific metaphors to cultural issues is also pretty played. That is partly where "Humane-ness" comes in. Not prudish-ness, not sanctimoniousness, but humane-ness. Some artistic works raise the question- where does the supposedly salutary shock end and the sadism begin?

Side note- I am quite vehement against censorship. Freedom of speech and free exchange of ideas are big for me, although it is clear that people actually in charge of governments have some thinking to do on these issues at times. But I am not in charge of anything except me, and I want everyone else to speak freely so that I learn things and know who I want to talk to and who the a-h0les are. These keywords and considerations for art and culture are speculative, possibly and hopefully the beginning of a conversation of some kind.

More later, last for now. My own enjoyment and use of "Structure" in my creative work is not a personal endorsement of the new formalism, although I tend to stick to one form or another for a while in my poetry and I do like to rhyme. I like forms and constraints as tools for art, not as prerequisites for even being considered art. Assymetrical chopped up prose can be just as stultifying as endless couplets if it is simply a season pass that must be waved to be allowed in the poet door.

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