The Art of Finding Solace in Absolutely Nothing
"The spectacle is the inverted image of society in which relations between commodities have supplanted relations between people, in which 'passive identification with the spectacle supplants genuine activity'. 'The spectacle is not a collection of images,' Debord writes, 'rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.'
In his analysis of the spectacular society, Debord notes that quality of life is impoverished, with such lack of authenticity, human perceptions are affected, and there's also a degradation of knowledge, with the hindering of critical thought. Debord analyzes the use of knowledge to assuage reality: the spectacle obfuscates the past, imploding it with the future into an undifferentiated mass, a type of never-ending present; in this way the spectacle prevents individuals from realizing that the society of spectacle is only a moment in history, one that can be overturned through revolution.
Debord's aim and proposal is 'to wake up the spectator who has been drugged by spectacular images,' 'through radical action in the form of the construction of situations,' 'situations that bring a revolutionary reordering of life, politics, and art'. In the situationist view, situations are actively created moments characterized by 'a sense of self-consciousness of existence within a particular environment or ambience'." [wikipedia]
My recent work has evidenced a concern for various recurring issues of practice and intellectual engagements with concepts I’ve found to be interesting or poignant: the passing of time; the arrangement of meaningful objects and symbols; the individual perspectives of production and consumption.
Certain patterns have become apparent. The individual concepts I engage with are not isolated from each other; when considered holistically they reveal the two recurring and intertwined motifs of my work: situation and perception.
Situation is the contentious issue of establishing a cultural context for both myself and my work. Creative practice is a form of production, and the more I have come to understand this, the more I have fostered a need to grasp its relevance to society. Much of my work has sprung from a subconscious desire to discover my environment and contextualise myself and my work.
Perception is the concern which naturally follows this: if creative work is production, an understanding of how it is consumed is vital for a designer or artist. Intentionally or unintentionally I find I experiment, in one way or another, with changing the viewer‘s perception of my work. The part of this which has intrigued me the most is the multiplicity of perspectives possible – the possibility of a single object or concept to be viewed in many different ways, altering its meaning for one or many viewers.
These concerns have fostered a heightened sense of responsibility for my work and its results. Through this I feel I have not merely explored concepts, I have attempted to formulate conclusions.
These conclusions have allowed me to position myself professionally, perhaps not by defining who I intend to be but rather by establishing who I do not intend to be. I am aware of the potential for both good and harm in any work I produce, and my intention is to achieve solely the former.