Sunday, 24 October 2010

Does public art have any artistic value or is it just a social statement?

If art is on the street, not in a gallery does it have a different outcome? Do people looking at it have a different perception? Is it only art if it makes a profit – or is it about the personal journey, both for the artist and the viewer? Is it art if nobody is there to see it? Is art still about the talent of the artist or has it become about understanding what the market wants – and how to make money? Is consumerism killing original thought, or just forcing artists to approach it from a new angle?

Friday, 22 October 2010

'Whistle In The Dark' - Ed Baxter Talk

A few weeks ago we went to hear the one of the ‘Touched’ Talks , taking place as part of the Liverpool Biennial, ‘Whistle In The Dark’, by Ed Baxter, who is the station manager at the arts radio station ‘Resonance FM’.

It was quite complex and hard to follow but the bits I did catch went someway to explaining the point I am trying to make in my own work. Part of the point I am currently trying to explore in my own project is how people feel uncomfortable to stare at someone strange or disfigured in the street, and will usually look away, but as soon as the same thing is on TV or in the media we are happy to explore every aspect of their lives.

During the talk Ed Baxter touched on Freud’s theory that the ‘stage’ is used as a barrier for ‘hygiene’. The audience wants to be close enough to see every detail happening on the ‘stage’ and yet far enough away that whatever is happening there never has to have any real effect on their own lives.

Are we living life like this?

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Current Work

When i started my current project I began to think about the stories I have read most recently which had most affected and interested me.Two stories had really stayed with me. The first was about Carla Nash, a fifty five year old woman who had been attacked by her friend’s pet chimp, and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show to reveal the horrific damage done during this attack.
When her veil was removed it was shocking to see her eyes missing and a large piece of skin where her nose had once been. The chimpanzee had ripped off her hands, nose eyes and lips. She explained to Oprah that she doesn’t touch her face often.

The other story which really captured my attention was Katie Piper, a former model who was badly disfigured when a former boyfriend hurled sulphuric acid in her face. She made a film documenting her recovery and her attempt to resume normal life.

I’m not sure what attracted me to these stories; the strength of both of the women to not be ashamed of what happened to them, and to want to tell there story, or the physical aspects of how they look now. Through my project I want to try and explore both of these ideas. 

I have been looing at a painting by Hung Liu, called ‘China Demeter’ (2008), which shows a girl carrying a huge load, but that she painted to have beauty and hope, and explains that she is trying to rewrite the woman’s history, “the artwork is my way of painting life back into memories.” She wants to use her art to document the lives of ‘the oppressed people who have been otherwise forgotten’.

This idea has made me think a lot about the Mexican day of the dead, where they celebrate people who have died, and all the iconic symbolism that surrounds this day which I would like to incorporate into my piece.

Through out this I really want to explore the separation between the audience and the media, as well as the audience and the victim, and through this also try and capture society’s fascination with the violent spectacle.