I talk about Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction too much. By too much, I mean every couple of years. I really should read some other stuff that he’s written, so I don’t get too pseudo-intellectually scholarship-boyish. Like I’m about to.
I collect stuff, not a lot, but stuff nonetheless. It used to be baseball cards, then Tolkien books, then good science fiction in general and now beach glass, good movies, and local music paraphernalia. I used to collect things as if the things themselves were precious. Benjamin would call this the aura of the art object. He posits that original works of art have greater value than reproductions. That’s the kind of reason that people go for mint first editions, signed copies, &c. There’s nothing wrong with that. I would still love to get my mitts on a first edition Starship Troopers with the awesome dust-jacket, but my collector’s criterion has changed over the years.
I no longer collect things as if the things themselves were precious, I collect them because of what they contain. So now when I’m at Half-price Books, and I see a hard cover of LeGuin’s Lathe of Heaven with the original dust-jacket cover art, I don’t care that its just the book club edition, I care that it is hard-bound and therefore more durable than my paperback version. The durability matters because it protects what is really important about the book, the story itself. So I’ll pick up an Asimov omnibus and get rid of my ancient paperbacks (which are worth more than the omnibus) because the omnibus will last longer.
I don’t mind that my Egon Schiele came from All Posters or that the Death of Marat in my bathroom (which never fails to make me act disgustingly smug) came from the same. If my art selections are considered a collection, I have what I have because I like it, not necessarily for its extrinsic value. I try to collect experiences, emotions and moments of communication now, not every last edition of the Lord of the Rings. (Although if you want to hook me up, I won’t complain).
On 13 May 2010, I went to the Front Room Gallery for John G‘s Caveman Diaries 7 ‘zine release; Megachurch‘s album release & show with Clan of the Cave Bear and Swindlella. Great crowd, great exhibition by John G, and great music. Unfortunately I forgot my earplugs. Fortunately, I got my mitts on CMD7, the Megachurch album (which I forced Mikey, Dan & Brian to autograph) and music from Cave Bear & Swindlella (whose Christmas CD is bonkers).
This post only took a little over a week to come together. I wish there was a faster way to get HD video up to YouTube, but there isn’t. Rock on, guys. Seven video playlist is below.
Yesterday I went to the Sachsenheim for Cirque Imaginaire, a traveling art gallery. There were a lot of arts & crafts packed into the hall, and I squeezed through the throngs with a giant mug of beer.
Two booths really caught my eye, the t-shirts from Psycho Reindeer, and Erin Carek’s science-fiction collage work. I picked up the set of rocketman coasters from her. Erin is also responsible for organizing the art show. The addition of a few good bands helped make the night a great time.
about a year ago i was finishing up my last project for my metal sculpture class. my progression in the world of art that semester was a struggle. i was also taking an anthro class about cultural identities of art. my life was circumscribed by form v. content. in the class on form (metal sculpture) the teacher had some issues with my ideas of content. i didn’t go for aesthetic pleasure. i wanted to make people feel uncomfortable. i didn’t do this by making a ‘Piss Christ’ or anything of the sort. One project was a maquette of a monument. mine was rather typical, a long vertical column that had five feet extending from the bottom in a circle. it looked stable and banal. that wasn’t the point. but that was the way the class liked it. i, on the other hand, liked it better my way. flipped over. the five protrusions reaching up to the sky and everything precariously balanced on the column. (it was actually more stable that way anyway). it was slightly uncomfortable to look at anyway.
another project’s theme was ‘transport.’ i had to make something that would transport people. i thought about making a catapult but that was too complicated. hell this class was only an elective. I decided to make a chair. kinda the opposite of transport, eh? it was all made fround ground steel and the chair back extended up and had two little disc things coming out at the head which when someone sat in the chair looked like big steel earmuffs. still not getting the transport idea? well this chair transported through the idea of pain. i covered the chair with nails. especially the ‘earmuffs/headphones.’ when people looked at my chair, thinking about sitting in it was supposed to transport them to a world about thinking about sitting in a chair. the class didn’t get it. but apparently other people did. the professor told me that he kept catching people trying to sit in it.
out of all the transport projects, an arc made from cubes, a gun with a twisted barrel, a catapult, others, mine was the only one that people actually used to transport themselves.
if it sounds like i’m bragging perhaps it’s because i am, a little.