Critical Analysis

This portion of the website outlines recent contextual elements, case studies and literary references that have informed me in my understanding and expoloration of new territories beyond normative trends in contemporary art and media culture. Through these cultural signifiers and historical precedents I will demonstrate how I have developped personal directives in narrative and form.

The underlying question that serves as a directive in my research as I strive to find a relationship between making art that is socially engaged and how can this in turn be applied to creating a larger impact through the arts through the notion of presence and vital ecologies?

 

Martin Buber: The philosophy of dialogue

 

Martin Buber was an Austrian-born Israeli Jewish philosopher best known for hisphilosophy of dialogue, a form of existentialism centered on the distinction between the I–Thourelationship and the I–It relationship. In his novel "I and Thou," Martin Buber outlines the importance of interpersonal relationships and the mutual, holistic experience as a concrete encounter in which beings meet one another in their authentic existence, without any qualification or objectification of one another. This idea of a pure and wholesome exchange between people would serve to inform "Maundy Moments" in which I would validate the anthropolotical in my work and override pretensions and fears through the humble act of of washing the feet of the other. 

Martin Buber's vital interest in the sanctity of a truthful and sincere exchange between individuals was rooted in his Hasidic roots, and coincides as well with Christian influences in my life-my grandmother was Hasidic Chinese and the Greek Orthodox heritage on my mother's side takes the ceremonies of Easter and Lent very seriously.

Hyperrobjects adn Object Oriented Ontology  in the Anthropocene

 

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Against traditional causal philosophies, Morton argues that causality is an aesthetic dimension of relations between objects, wherein sensory experience does not indicate direct access to reality, but rather an uncanny interruption of the false ontic equilibrium of an interobjective system.

As a sculptor, it was refreshing to read and understand this philosphical treatise on physical mass, atmosphere and environment as things that modifed by the viewer's gaze and interactions and have an importance as sensorial elements of experience. The views offered by the author upon deep ecology also allow the reader-artist to understand and aknowledge the greater problems faced by our planet as well, offering perspective upon the life-death equation of creating art as an individualized or holistic act.

The text therefore provides some insight into making art in the context of anthropology and geological time. 

 

 All life forms are the mesh, and so are all the dead ones, as are their habitats, which are also made up of living and nonliving beings. We know even more now about how life forms have shaped Earth (think of oil, of oxygen—the first climate change cataclysm). We drive around using crushed dinosaur parts. Iron is mostly a by-product of bacterial metabolism. So is oxygen. Mountains can be made of shells and fossilized bacteria. Death and the mesh go together in another sense, too, because natural selection implies extinction.

 

This renewed perspective on forms, objects and realities as something tangible-intangible in their nature as viscous, nonlocal, phased or interobjective offers a wonderful opportunity to understand art as something that can have archival-historical value in the context of things palpable or not as well as a vitally objective and sensoral. In Hyperrobjects Timothy Morton offers us with some key examples of "things" that are affected by time yet expand and contract with human action yet remain somehow larger life.

ibid. objects that are so massively distributed in time and space as to transcend spatiotemporal specificity, such as global warming, styrofoam, and radioactive plutonium.

 

The Craftsman

by Richard Sennett

Sustainable suggests living more at one with nature, as Martin Heidegger imagined in his old age, establishing an equilibrium between ourselves and the resources of the earth-an image of balance and reconciliation. In my view, this is an inadquate insufficient view of environment craft; to change both productive procedures and rituals of use requires a more radical self-critique. A stronger jolt to changing how we have used resources would come in imagining oursleves to be like immigrants thrust by chance or fate onto a territory of our own, foreigners in a place we cannot command as our own.

 

Lesser Evils: From Surveillance to execution

 

Grégoire Chamayou's Theory of the Drone provided me with a valuable source of information about the development of drones-their legally dubious role as weapons that kill outside the conventions of traditional warfare. This subject is of interest to me since I see the role of art as something which resolves conflict and builds societies through the dissemination of traditional values (craft), an innovative approach for research, design and dialogue. It was important for me to understand the uses adn ethical questions surrounding the drones since I also utilised its form for my piece "Drone Love" which plays on upon the metaphor of the drone and reductivist trends in contemporary art  by depicting the drone as a living animal entity-its function defined by the biological need to reproduce. 

The drone is a weapon, a tool. however iIt's imlementation and use is telling, an indicator for what is wrong with foreign policy. Drones represent the summum of mechanised warfare in the zero-loss equation of successful combat methods since their operators may strike with perfect impunity however they are also a manifestation of our growing reliance on mechanised systems and artificial intelligence for solutions which override judgement. As a tool it may be used for the greater good by targeting unique and verifyable dangerous suspects. Unfortunately however, innocent civilians and are sometimes targeted or harmed when they fall into the line of fire of the drone strikes. This only serves to fuel mass immigration or reprisals from affected communities. 

The drone is therefore related to the rise of terrorism as in ways that are often hard to distinguish from the fight agains terrorism. The same problems of unrest which lead the refugee crisis are therefore tied to defense policies. how can such far-reaching programs and global problems be adressed through better are and design.

 

A Tale of Two Crises: 

Migration and Terrorism after the Paris Attacks

Thomas Nail

As a first-generation American with European citizenship, it is hard for me to ignore the mannner in which the foreign [military] policy of America has resulted both directly and indirectly in the waves of mass immigration, serving as a rallying cry (whether directly or indirectly) for the Brexit or the case for reduced provisions for immigrant asylum or measures of counter-terrorism (through quotas or exclusion) within Europe. This is compounded by the fact that despite its resoundingly Eurocentric perspective, contemporary art in Europe is increasingly informed by other cultures despite the disparate/limited means of conveying these messages for lack of legislative budgeting or cultural interests/priorities held by other immigrants. This invariably results in the phenomenon of extreme assimilation in which vestige of previous cultures (and any desire to contribute to/maintain moorings in the country of origin) are erased and forgotten.  Ithis context the extent to which immigrants will plays into interactions with local communities and global politics may also be limited.

The piece: "Drone Love"  reflects my frustration with the indifference/inaction of others towards some of the questionable military strategies and policies of NATO-backed operations as well as the conscious-less aspects of hedgemonic thinking. The symbolic reference to the experience  with water as a medium which cleanses and offers absolution for the accolyte, yet also drowns the refugee is present as well in Maundy Moments In this instance the act of sharing or exchanging in such a simple rite becomes a universal action of for common good.

 

A Tale of Two Crises: Migration and Terrorism is one of Thomas Nail's most recent journals and offers insight into the stereotypes that have been attributed to immigrants after the Paris Attacks allowing me to I have found a source from which to "sound" and "field" my ideas.

Europe can no longer be understood as separate from the crisis of terrorism after the Paris attacks on 13 November 2015. In fact, the two crises were never really separate in the nationalist imaginary to begin with

 

To ignore or misunderstand the cause and effect of our foreign and domestic policies is dangerous since the transition from alienation to villification and villification to objectification of "the other" results in the perpetutation of cycles of violence and the reduced dissemination of knowledge. The notion of the "mirror tool" described by Richard Sennett as replicant or robot is replaced by the stranger. Since we are not our own wellspring of knowledge or existence, this comes from interactions with our social and physical environment and extends far beyond national boundaries.

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