A thought or two on Idealism
My first full day in Nova Scotia – overnighted at the airport hotel, and will be heading to Day 1 of my residency at Main & Station in Parrsboro shortly!
Excited to get there, get settled, and get to work … .
Planning and researching, in order to make work that bridges disciplines and methods of articulating ideas: through sound, in sculpture, talking with and about scientific explorations, drawing as a meditation and as a performance … and all of this engaged to one degree or another with the public realm.
Both in and of the community. Rooted in landscape as place and as source of natural phenomena.
All kinds of conversations here, but they are at base conversations between things and people.
And coincidentally, what should come to my inbox, but an article about Christo’s piers, and all the complicated things about this kind of work.
Food for thought …
You can find the full article here.
I was particularly struck by Hoy’s observations on the idealism of the work – particularly as it pertains to the recent Brexit, mobility, and migration (bodies in space) – and how this idealism comes up against the reality of work in public space, and that asks for public engagement directly.
(as a sidenote: I also find it interesting that Hoy mentions her Canadian roots, and the relative isolation of our huge country in relation to borders, boundaries, and movement … more food for thought here … does this explain my fascination with edges/boundaries, and with breaking them down or exposing them? is that a “terribly Canadian” thing I do?).
I doubt Brexit was on the minds of any of the thousands of people experiencing Christo’s magnanimous installation that Thursday. We were all too busy frolicking across the water, marveling at the scenery, and snapping selfies. And I’m sure any such symbolism was the furthest thing from the artist’s intentions—he and his late wife Jeanne-Claude first hatched the idea for the piers in the 1970s. “All the artwork Jeanne-Claude and I do is work of joy and beauty. They don’t serve anything except to be a work of art,” he said in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in April.
By a coincidence of timing, Christo’s Floating Piers became a symbol of how art can (quite literally) bring people together, but also how these connections are fraught. Soon, the piers will disappear and life on Lake Iseo will go back to normal. The EU will go back to normal, too, though we already know it won’t quite be the same.
At the risk of stating the obvious: context, scale, location … and fame … are markers that thoroughly differentiate my plans from this work entirely!
That being said: what has struck a chord for me is Hoy’s insights about both the impulse behind the work, and the potential for its lasting impact. I make work to speak about things in ways that (for me) defy the use of words exclusively; there are ideas I try to embody in the act of making and in the presentation of finished work that I hope people respond to viscerally.
A building, and a tearing down, simultaneously. Not without complications. A process that changes everyone involved and (hopefully) allows us all to see and experience things in the world – and ourselves – a little differently.
Idealistic, yes. Unabashedly so – there’s more than enough in this world, including Brexit, to make us jaded and cynical.