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Seeking a New Frame

post: 2013/02/21

In the r:ead session held in December, I came in touch with many varied artworks and opinions of the participating artists – Jisun Kim, Chia-En Jao and Ning Li, as well as the r:ead project team, including Ms. Soma. We had a great discussion over the relationship between art and politics. Having seen the diversified challenges each artist had attempted regarding this difficult problem, I was highly inspired and emboldened; at the same time, the issue of considering what is possible also arose inside me. If we literally have the intention to change things concretely through our creativity, there is no doubt that the frame of the art activities existing before us is inadequate. I am aware that it is too extreme to say that nothing can be changed specifically and effectively unless one takes part in the actual “power-and-money-moving” political world. However, if one seriously intends to make a social change, one should be conscious about the limitation of what could be done by showing resistance in the personal and micro-political horizons, the most comfortable place for artists to be. If one wishes to change the world in an effective way, and to exert one’s creativity/imagination in order to achieve this, the creation of a new frame is required.

To begin with, how about imposing “responsibility” on art by rearranging Yukio Mishima’s prescript – “literature (art) = irresponsibility, no ethics, life”, “action (politics) = responsibility, morality, death”. Is it possible for us to start by hypothetically proposing “politics = irresponsibility”, “art = responsibility”? Are we able to be in a frame/horizon where we do not focus on the political nature of art, but rather on the artistic nature of politics instead?

Maybe one catalyst could be considering art as technology rather than expression. Scientific/mechanical engineering technology surely has the power to renew human beings and society (or the concept of human beings and society itself). In the same manner, can we deal with art as a technology to renew society by creativity? And then, is it possible for us to handle the knowledge obtained from this research by not outputting it as an artistic expression nor presenting it in a symbolic form of creativity within the existing framework, but instead building a space where we can disseminate and utilize the knowledge practically in daily life? Putting it simply, can we discard art for appreciation/critique and carry it out through instrumentalism?

The important point is that this output should not be evaluated as “work” but as actual “social change”. There will not be evaluation criteria such as “critical” or “interesting”. The only standard here will be whether it is realistically “effective/ineffective”. Also, to be “more effective”, the participants must be cross-genre from the beginning. It is important to create a space where we can consider, practice and cooperate with various people who already possess or are researching the know-how for moving opinions (such as advertising agencies, politicians, businessmen, TV broadcasters, theorist, architects, designers, publishers).

I wish to consider and implement a case study for establishing this supposed new frame in the next session of r:ead in February and March.