Finally I have (some) time to write this article I have planned to publish for a long time. The thing is I have given a lot of thought for such dilemma as: "What is art?"
Some time ago I got inspired by Tom Rondello who quite often writes questions in his comments that does not seem to have anything to do with the topic. According to Tom himself, these are so called rhetorical questions, which means there are no reply expected. I'm not sure if they really are such thing because at least I would still expect them to be on topic. Although, one can always build a some sort of a "pons asinorum" between the topic and any comment.
Nevertheless, what especially interests me about these rhetorical questions is what said on "mighty WikiPedia":
It is also common to use a rhetorical question to bring an end to a debate or to finalize a decision.
This means the so called rhetorical question may work as a discussion killer even if it is not on topic. So, if you want to silence a room, then just ask something where no one can answer.
But what all this has to do with art? And that was not a rhetorical question. Well. I have started to see art as a rhetorical question. In a way work of art stop us and challenge us to think what it is about. Or that's what it can do at its best. If it does not stop us to think some specific dilemma that has no solution like probably Picasso's Guernica, then it may stop us asking: "Isn't this perfect?"
This does not mean a piece of art is really perfect, but an artist who made it may think so. Artist may have put a lot of effort to make a certain statement, to make other peeps stop and look at the piece of art, maybe even in admiring silence.
But is that what art should do, to stop us admire the work of art?
I have started to think that art should inspire instead of trying to stop us. Art should make us join and participate into process of art. It should challenge us all to create and continue from the very spot where one work ends. So, for example a kid could take a print of Guernica and start coloring it with bright colors and draw happy faces on gloomy and suffering figures.
That is why I have slowly started to respect a certain graffiti art where new work is painted over the old ones. I know graffiti is usually also meant as final work and no one is really expected to paint over it. But that is what often happens. At least in some point those who hate graffiti comes and paint the wall blank, and then process may start again.
But in true interactive art project there would be no blank canvas once started. It can continue till forever.
And that is what I once tried in photography, when I challenged people to take pictures that can be joined together. There are also other versions on this like theme photography. A group of people are challenged to shoot on the same theme. But that really is not what I mean. The pictures in true collaborative or co-operative project should form a giant piece of art when put together.
Alternatively works could discuss with each other in some level. Like there are some games where each participant are asked to write a short part of the story that then may continue forever.
And another option is that one just takes anything that s/he finds inspiring and makes her/his interpretation out of it, AND also tries to challenge others to do the same. That is how I used Tom's rhetorical questions in my paradox project. At least it inspired Thomas :up: