Start with Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain, last class we discussed what should be considered as “art”. Urinals in museum, is that art?
For me, urinal itself may not be that artistic regarding my expectation of art. But urinals in museum, under the spotlight, with the handwriting of the artist, giving me totally new perspective of that daily facility (though not that daily for a girl). It makes me realize the possibility of finding the hidden beauty of daily trivia. It changes how I think and how I feel about daily life. It changes my mindset. That, to me, is art.
We also covered the bicycle wheel of Duchamp in class. I remember someone said, “the bicycle wheel is pretty because it is carefully designed by someone, but in this sense it may not be regarded as Duchamp’s work.” I totally agree with the idea that the reason why Duchamp chose a bicycle wheel not a box may be bicycle wheel is dedicatedly designed. But to me the art piece is not about the bicycle wheel, rather, it is about the action of bringing a bicycle wheel into a museum. The action itself is art.
Then we moved into second part, body and action. I really admire Marina Abramovic, Bruce Nauman, and Zhang Huan’s work, because I can feel their genuineness, then maybe partly because they use their own bodies. With their own bodies, they can feel and can react as a human, since body builds connection between people and outside.
Though I always have one doubt/confusion – how to use body as an medium of art in digital era? I’ve seen so many bodies in screen. And they are so “easy and effortless”, just within several click, tada, a body is on the screen. You can twist it, you can turn it around, you can make it dance, you can make it laugh, you can make it jittering like a bug. But somehow we lose the tight connection between human and body. It feels numb and disconnected, it feels …digital.
And people seem to “abuse” it a little bit. Each time I was in some digital art exhibition, I saw people use 3d human models do some strange thing – putting several arms or legs in one body, making a body inflated, or dozens of bodies floating. I can see it attracts people’s attention. It’s clear that people tend to attracted by it. After all, hey, it’s human body. But isn’t it an abuse of body? Maybe because using body is so cheap in electronic way, people sometimes lose some sincerity compare to when they use their own ones.
I’m still trying to find a way to work with digital body in electronic world. Hopefully I can figure it out a bit more in the future.