Ruth Barker

Live Art And Living: Related and Unrelated Thoughts on the Lure and the Lack of the Live

2008
Published in 'Its not Hard *Grammatical Error Intentional' Anthony Schrag (ed). Tramway Publications 2008.
ISBN 978 1 899 551 43 9



1)

- Live art remembers.

- Live art exists only in the moment, and forgets everything.


- Live art resists culpability and stands against horror.

- Live art evades responsibility, so you can just do anything.


- Live art notices.

- All art notices.



- Live art is nothing special.




2)

Live art is falling into the mainstream like a kid falls into a pond. Snivelling, it may have to go home without its trousers on.

Live art is falling into the mainstream, and it lays itself open to the mainstream’s attempts to describe it. But the act of observation affects the observer as well as the observed.

Because live art is what the artist does, and not what the artist uses. This is perhaps the most vulnerable gesture an artist can make: to embody rather than to confer meaning.

Because live art enables the artist to become the active agent in an art condition defined by almost solely by their presence and their intention. The rest of the condition is defined by its audience.

Live art exists when there is no-one around to perceive it.

Live art does not exist when there is no-one around to perceive it.


3)

* If they hate it, let them say.



4.1)

The List of the Live: Circuits broadcasts births explosives traps threats ammunition power sources websites debates footballs volcanoes bacterial substances rocks on the surface of the earth, which do not need to be mined or quarried.

Liveness is a quality possessed by many things that are not alive.

Liveness is a quality that may be possessed by art.

Art exists in a temporal moment of conveyance in which the art object or gesture may communicate meaning in relation to its context and audience. That moment is live. Therefore art is live. Therefore liveness is a necessary stipulation for the condition of art.


4.2)

The List of the Live: Circuits broadcasts births explosives traps threats ammunition power sources websites debates footballs volcanoes bacterial substances rocks on the surface of the earth, which do not need to be mined or quarried.

Art is different from these other categories of things. These other things use ‘live’ as a prefix to denote one half on a binary state.

Live/Still.
Live/Dormant.
Live/Dead.

Art does not accommodate binary structures.

Art is not on/off or live/dead.

‘Live’ should denote the possibility of an alternative state or it may be as grammatically redundant as ‘commencing to start’.

‘Live Art’ is a redundant term.


5)

Art may be the moment when the artist’s intention is met.

If art is the moment when the artist’s intention is met, then to look upon a cubist ‘masterwork’ now as art is nonsensical.

If art is the moment when the artist’s intention is met, then the cubist masterwork is art, but it may have died.

Art may not be the moment when the artist’s intention is met.

Live art may not meet the artist’s intention.

Art may not meet the artist’s intention.


6)

Death/mortality is related to language/thinking.

Fear of death reflects a fear of absence (because death is anonymous).

Fear of death reflects a fear of the loss of specificity (Because death is a common condition).

Thinking and language are ways of defining self as well as others and the world.

Thinking and language are ways of articulating self as well as others and the world.

Thinking and language are live.

Definition, action, specificity are components of the Live.

Obliteration, loss, and the un-nameable are referents of Death.

Language/thinking opposes death/mortality.


7)

I heard someone say once that art is a series of acts of witness; that the important thing about art is that it notices. That is why (this person argued) the first thing to be controlled when a country or a society is taken over by a tyrant, is art.

Then I heard someone else say that, when art is dangerous to make, artists rely on performance - exploiting its ephemerality, its lack of culpability, and the possibility that it may not be art at all.

As they perform, the artists are weighed down by the knowledge that their gestures cannot last, but are blown into the trees to hang like butchered things.

As they perform, the artists are buoyed up by the knowledge that their gestures cannot help but be remembered, as they are blown into the trees to hang like butchered things.