Of course, every time i write here you know I've probably not been writing elsewhere. But then, if I miss a day (and I will) you won't know if that's because I have managed to get round to writing something creative, along a more productive story line (sorry), or because I was just a bit rubbish that day. There will be days when i simply haven't the time (I think) and there will be days when I just don't feel in the mood (unfortunately), or have company (it happens, sometimes), or am writing furiously on one of my projects (hopefully). Or I might desert this whole thing for another half a year or more, which would be rubbish but not entirely unprecedented...
So, my sister lives in Norwich now, which is very cool. And we get together sometimes, and we have -good- conversations. A little bit about ourselves, about her work (she's studying at the same university I did, but doing Fine Art) and about other things. A few years back we realised we were both interested in similar psychological philosophies, like transactional analysis and the work of Eric Berne, amongst others.
OK, aside, that's random, I went away, then Opera went funny and then LJ restored an older draft, escept now, when I come back to it, it asks me again and I think 'what the hell, why not' and it restores the newer draft, this draft, how odd.
Anyway, I was rambling about my sister and I, meandering towards something we talked about the other day. About commercialism, and how capitalism oppresses artistic vision by making it difficult to survive as an artist unless you produce comercially viable (i.e. socially acceptable) artwork. There are probably exceptions to this, but it is only meant as a generalisation.
Now, if we consider this to be true of a capitalist society, then you also have to consider us as a stage 2 capitalist society (ok, so maybe there are other stages, but basically, stick with me and I'll explain what I mean). Initially you can only have a local market, so if something is acceptable to 1 in 1000 people, then you're not going to be able to make a living but, if you expand the market, with the invention of some kind of global network, whereby money and ideas can be exchanged on a massive scale (i.e. the internet, of course) then 1 in 1000, even 1 in 100,000 suddenly becomes a commercially viable prospect, even if not on as large a scale as may be potentially accessible if you were to produce more acceptable work.
And by acceptable, I'm not just talking about whether something offends or not, but I mean what is accepted as art. Some accepted art is very offensive, that's kind of the point, but other people produce their own visions, without regard to what is current, or what is selling.
This discussion comes about because part of art school is looking at other artists and creators and using their work to contextualise your own. The bane of many students' existences. So the point is, the only artists you can really look at are those that produce something that falls into this notion of 'acceptable' artwork (an expanding field, granted, for the reasons above), so in effect you have to justify your work related to other commercially viable work. Which makes sense for the art school, they are looking to produce commercially viable artists, artists whose work will sell. And, to be honest, a lot of the students going there will want exactly that, even if their sentiments are anti-establisment. After all, many artists' works sell precisely because they're edgy and highlight issues with the current government, or society, but they would be completely unsuccessful in conveying that point if they were not at the same time commercially viable so that the message can actually get out there, so that their art will sell and people will pay attention to them.
Which moves me nicely into the endzone, but before I finish I shall make a brief diversion into the territory of exceptions... The other way of getting your message across, of course, is to play up to another part of the system, to create your art in such a way that it gets the media's attention, that is, if you don't mind other people getting money in order to put your point across. Because if it will sell papers, or get more viewers, then it will get in the news, and people will see it, but it won't be you that gets paid, it'll be the media types...
So, the point is, my sister was talking about stepping away from the 'influence' of the commercial world, to step back from all the comercial art that surrounds us everyday and concentrate purely on your own vision, on producing a purer art that is not dependent on the whims of currency and societal opinion. Something like an artists' commune, which exists on the fringe of society (it is impossible to escape entirely of course, the government will want a piece of you regardless), something that will concentrate only on you developing your art and taking it to a higher level, unrestrained by commercial neccessity.
My point was that that becomes a more selfish route. While idealistically it may seem to be raising the art itself, if you remove yourself from society then no one but you and your immediate compatriots in exile will benefit from this 'enlightenment'. So, forget about changing society and think purely of art itself (although some may argure that changing society is the point of art), in order to raise art to a higher level you could step outside of society and create something purely for your own edification, or you can remain within society and be subject to its restraints but raise art for more people than just yourself.
Raising a single person is far easier than raising a group, and it becomes harder the bigger the group. (this whole idea is obviously working on simplified levels, different art affects different people in various ways, one person's artistic enlightenment may just be another's waste of meat and formaldehyde)
So, remain within the machine, work within the machine to make it a better machine, or remove yourself from the machine to exist as a better individual. Working within the machine may be harder if what you are trying to do is rework parts of the machine, mess with the works as they spin without getting caught and tangled and lost, but ultimately, while outside you may reach greater heights, if you remain inside could you potentially produce something greater in scale?