Monday, January 11, 2010

Begin the Begin (again and again, even and especially in winter, the anti-renewal space of renewal)

"The artist is always beginning," wrote Pound, and the creative process does not "live in a vacuum."

"Any work of art which is not a beginning," wrote Pound, "an invention, a discovery, is of little worth."

As far as I can tell, and tell it I will, the writer as postproduction medium is a novelty-generator, one who operates in auto-affect or auto-remix mode and, as such, is forever role-playing the next version of metamediumistic becoming each new beginning begets. Operating in auto-affect mode means that the artist-as-remixologist is always beginning the begin. The (re)layering and filtering effects one applies to each moment of concrescence is part of an ongoing process of image actualization where each new experiential composition manifests itself as an occasion for discovery.

Since so much of my artwork grows out of a digitally-expanded concept of creative writing, whatever intentions I may have in beginning a new artwork will, out of necessity, take into account the unconscious process of building a receptive audience. This does not mean that the imaginary or potential audience that may eventually receive my work must always be happy with or otherwise enjoy the work, or that I must create work that is less difficult so that I can have a better shot at locating a receptive audience. The idea is not that they will receive the work only if it's something they can relate to or that fulfills their expectations or, even worse, is somehow worth their time and/or money. I've been working against potential audience expectations for as long as I have been making art. But if my artwork grows out of a digitally-expanded concept of creative writing which automatically situates the work in our networked condition, then the idea that each new experiential composition manifests itself as an occasion for discovery means that, for me, this occasion for discovery transforms into an occasion for connectivity via the networked experience. This occasion for connectivity already implies a potential audience is there to experience the artwork.

And yet: if you publish a daily blog post and no one is around to link to it, is it networked?

These blog posts are my postcards (sometimes very long postcards). In the early 90s, pre-blogosphere, it was the Alt-X Floating Theater of the Mind that I utilized for my networked postcard distribution. Back then, when Alt-X was just starting, the Floating Theater of the Mind created an alternative route one could take through the site just by clicking on the images planted inside each fiction, essay, article, etc. We were experimenting with simple things like integrating images and alternative navigation/linking systems into our web page design, and we decided to scan some of our 1980s mail art and resize them to fit into the web pages we were publishing. In those days, screens were small, so we had to adjust our images accordingly.

DeKoonig's Bike
Scanned image of early mail art by Mark Amerika

And yet, Derrida, in The Post Card, writes what we all know, i.e. that the postcard may never arrive at its destination and thus may never be "present."

To mash-up these early morning quotes and thoughts:
The artist is always beginning, a novelty generator in auto-affect mode, and even though the formal traces they leave behind may never be actualized by their intended audience, their having been actualized as part of the artist's own flow of metamediumistic postproduction is worth living for.
Why does that matter? Because none of us really have "followers" per se. I no longer know whom I am writing to when I post a blog, and blog posts are always postcards: "neither legible nor illegible, open and radically unintelligible."

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