Sunday, May 26, 2013

Like you and me

View from Deer Isle.  Also gives a sense for the weather we're getting.
It is an odd thing, coming together with other artists, especially because all I really need to work as a writer is a desk, silence, solitude, paper, and pen. Already, after dining, I have to sneak away to find some table I can appropriate as a desk, some quiet room where I can hide away. Which seems counterintuitive. Why would I need to come together with others if all I need then is to get away from them? Why should they waste space and electricity and reverse osmofied saline water on someone who's not going to use the welders or the Fab Lab?

Perhaps because I am most likely the only person already parsing this experience in language, already an anthropologist and journalist among all of these strangers. It's an odd assortment. There are the academics, who earn their living closest to their craft, but along with academia comes its fellowships and grants and college politics of tenure and which dean funds which piece of equipment. As much as I love academics, there's a sense that they are most calloused to what they do.

In conversation so far, it's those that are closest to art as creation who resist ascribing meaning to it most strongly. Those that make things into other things, who manipulate matter into a different form say these things have no intrinsic value, that they need not be ascribed monetary value.

But then what use does all of this serve? Even these words, as always I am meta-metafying. I'm a firm believer that art must hold its place inside capitalism, in commerce. We tell stories so they can be heard. Created objects are vessels that hold meaning.

It is all that makes us human. First we find food. Then we find caves. Then we paint the caves. This is what we do, what we have always done, for better or for worse. Homo Aestheticus, as a book in the library here claims. A quote: “art is a biologically evolved element in human nature.”

So why am I here? Already I contemplate engraving haiku on stone, paper, wood, cloth. Although I haven't written a poem in ages. Already I mull turning stories into objects, somehow, turning stories into poems, “covering” someone else's poem as a haiku. The shortest of short forms are fascinating me, for some reason, what I can excise from my work and have the work still stand alone—this as a result of already talking to sculptors and blacksmiths and metalworkers who talk about the division between work with subtracts and work which adds, speaking a foreign language, an unintelligible tongue that still somehow satisfies.
Stairs and corridors and cabins
at Haystack

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