We should not mistake the skeleton for the person it describes.

The problem lies in the fact that institutions devoted to preserving and promoting documents tend to think in terms of a legacy of objects. They see their work as part of a long chain of objects, and what counts to them is things with faces attached- not events or experiences. Their world is the world of paintings, and books; manifestos and letters of intent; things to be hung up, shelved, counted, sorted and named. They draw a circle around some, and not others- giving labels where perhaps none belong- and in doing so eliminate everything contradictory, ephemeral, and fragile.
Their imposed coherence can never do justice to something that is in fact unlimited, wild and unpredictable- something indefinitely growing and changing.
Something dangerous. This is a thing called culture- moments and shared experiences for the “us” who are watching, listening and making.
Right now.
It is the mandate of art institutions to manufacture art out of this culture- like taking corn and making corn syrup, or “discovering” indigenous medicinal plants and turning them into expensive pharmaceuticals. Institutions must make art objects out of culture, because art persists over time- and culture cannot. Art can be stored, it can be shelved, it can therefore be sold. Culture cannot.
Culture is alive- it can no more survive a mass exodus due to rising rents then it can be bottled up in a flat file with penciled-in toe tags .
If you pursue anonymity, if your act is in the production of moments to be experienced in real-time and not again- if you charge donations at the door rather than apply for grants- and if you never ask permission from anyone for anything- you must write your own history or expect this strange forced coherence and commodification to follow you from behind. Expect it to pass you on the highway going 90. It will reach the future before you do.

Raphael Lyon – Some Thoughts on RISD’s WUNDERGROUND from someone who was here and there.

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