Thursday, October 7, 2010

tornado weather

okay, maybe i never noticed it before because i wasn't engaged in an activity that depended so heavily on "good" weather.  that's funny.  "good" weather; it reminds me of my peeps talking about having "good" hair.  what's "good" hair?"  what's "good" weather?  at this point in my life, having any hair is good hair.  i'm more discriminating when it comes to the weather.

for me, "good" weather is weather that isn't so cold that my hands freeze when i put them into wheat paste; it isn't so windy that my paper rips as it starts to unroll and it isn't raining or snowing.  having said that, arizona has had 2 tornadoes in the past 4 months.  what's up with that?  fortunately, no one was hurt either time.  but damn, it's makes wheat pasting unthinkable.  to all you global warming skeptics, i say take up wheat pasting or any other activity that requires you being outdoors and record trends in temperature and other weather patterns over several years.  something is going on.

but hey, this posting isn't about the weather or global warming, it's about letting go of preconceived ideas.  that's apropos in that the wheat pasting project in general is about letting go.  so this is the situation, i found myself mildly annoyed recently that someone who really digs my work has a political philosophy that differs from my own.  i have to laugh now as i see the beauty of this but for the longest i had a preconceived idea of people with whom my work would resonate.  i imagined them essentially being of my political persuasion and having similar interests.  but no,  that's not always the case.

i've said repeatedly how i hoped my photography would challenge viewers to question and hopefully change preconceived negative ideas of people of color and/or the dispossessed.  the fact that someone who identifies as a conservative, christian, military wife finds my work of interest and forwards it to her friends is the best compliment i could ever hope for.  i almost missed that point.

it's like this summer when i was interviewed by a weekly paper in flagstaff, az and i told the reporter that my work is conceptual.  even though she had a tape recorder she said that my work is perceptual.  i was bummed.  that wasn't what i said.  but a friend pointed out that perhaps the reporter had really given me a gift. by suggesting my work is perceptual, the focus is on the viewer's visceral response to and engagement in the work.  wikipedia quotes sol lewitt in defining conceptual art:

“In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.”

the execution of my outdoor installations is hardly a perfunctory affair.  wikipedia says this about perceptual art:

In practice, perceptual art may be interpreted as the engagement of multi-sensory experiential stimuli combined with the multiplicity of interpretive meanings on the part of an observer. Sometimes, the role of observer is obscured as members of the public may unwittingly or unknowingly be participants in the creation of the artwork itself.

in truth, that sounds like something steve coleman might write about his m base approach to music improvisation (Macro - Basic Array of Structured Extemporizations,, but i digress.

i give thanks for my good hair in bad weather and perceptualist art that challenges my preconceived ideas of who it touches.  and that's the way it is...


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