Monday, December 7, 2009

“In none of my previous writing have I had so strong a feeling that what I am describing is common knowledge and that I am using up paper and in due course, the compositor’s and printer’s work and material in order to expound things which are in fact, self-evident.

One of the reasons that this statement of Freud impresses me deeply is because writing about something is always a dilemma/being caught up and twisted by two antagonistic perspectives simultaneously: believing that to write this or that is the most important and urgent thing to do and just as Freud says it is the most obvious thing so why say it at all?

Another reason is that the concepts that I work for to realize the exhibitions always gives me the feeling that Freud states. This can be one of the reasons that pushed me to research the artists who decided to stop doing what they do. The decision to research the aesthetics of silence is also a preference to look at the ones who had asked themselves; Why? Why should I say that? Why should I say something at all? What is my intention; do I want to realize this intention? Even if this is what everyone wants, what is it that I want?

My recent interest in alienation, art of refusal and aesthetics of silence are all born from the state of mind I am in, which made itself clear by the shifts in my value system; by meaninglessness, by having no enthusiasm whatsoever to continue what I have done until now. If the feeling of responsibility did not accompany me, I felt I could not go on. However, I did not want to hang on to the feeling of responsibility anymore. What happens when one does not have any responsibility at all? Andre Gide states “to know how to be free does not mean a thing; the hardest thing is to know that you are free.” He adds that to be conscious of one’s freedom results by knowing oneself, to explore oneself. When someone knows oneself, one also becomes conscious of their free being.”

But how can one know itself? In fact Doris Lessing says that all self-knowledge is knowing, on deeper and deeper levels, what one knew before. How is self-knowledge related to alienation? What is alienation? In encyclopedic terms it is defined as the separation of things that naturally belong together, or to put antagonism between things that are properly in harmony. But how does it happen and can one be conscious of its occurrence?

Marx declares that “In reading time will tell …. but time to read is always also time to stop reading. Against the eagerness of reading that wants to skip over the interpretation to get to the charge, that wants to know how to relate general principles to immediate questions, Marx advises that articulation needs patience. Though, applying Marx’s statement and therefore giving the time and freedom to pause brought me only meaninglessness. At those moments, Winnocott’s ideas helped me such as “one needs meaninglessness as much as one needs meaning.” I decided to concentrate on this discomfort and meaninglessness but I desperately needed identification. Speech and What Archive gave me the means to work with and through meaninglessness while researching artists who went all the way through that path; the artists who confronted bartleby syndrome one way or another.

Encountering Susan Sontag’s thoughts about the aesthetics of silence was a bliss. She claims that “The seriousness of the choice of permanent silence consists in not regarding art as something whose seriousness lasts forever, an end, a permanent vehicle for spiritual ambition. The truly serious attitude is one that regards art as a means to something that can perhaps be achieved only by abandoning art.” She continues “The artist becomes purified by himself and eventually of his art. S/he is still engaged in a progress toward the “good” but formerly the artist’s good was mastery of and fulfillment in his art. Now it is suggested that the highest good for the artist is to reach that point where those goods of excellence becomes insignificant to him emotionally and ethically and he is more satisfied by being silent than by finding a voice in his art.” Sontag’s ideas made me reflect on Stendhal’s case. Stefan Zweig states in his Casanova, Stendhal and Tolstoy that for Stendhal the existence of his being was the foremost precedence. For all Stendhal’s writings had a purpose of bettering himself, also for amusement; they were one of the many tools that he protected himself against boredom.