The Language of Art… – T U R B O R E B O P

The Language of Art…

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Introduction to contemporary art…

There is an old saying in most of the languages: “actions speak louder than words”, and also: “picture tells more than a thousand words”…

Of course, this is wrong, since it is with words that we speak – not with pictures or actions. With picture (images) we can see and imagine, and with actions we can act – do things. But here I am simplifying on purpose: communication and other interactions between humans are largely metaphoric: and the language is always symbolic. It is not exactly what we say that we want to say, but the way we say it – that is at the core of communication. We think with images and this is already a representation on it’s own. The language is the best, but only approximate communication interface. A medium. A sacred goal that we need to achieve with any kind of communication is: synchronization of thoughts – of mind images – between the individual members of the (human) species, to form a culture of some kind – civilization, a social entity.

So, language is medium – an information channel. Language is also known to be similar to virus. Virus is a system that does not have a purpose (they say: not even life) on it’s own – but is only a vehicle for information. The virus can replicate it’s information in a living cell and then that cell becomes a virus itself. The living property of the attacked cell is disintegrated. Language as medium does the same for the human beings. Language is a cultural viral interface. It replicates culture. It kills individuality. Replication = synchronization. Civilization is the art of synchronization of human beings.

Does this sound bad? Well, yes, but not all was told. The human language is not something static, it is even said that it is alive. It changes constantly – so it is far from just replicating itself. The language as the holder of information changes in the way that the information it replicates is not a constant, but a variable.

Contemporary art is media art. It uses interfaces – technological and/or cultural. It uses systems, also as objects. It tells a story (or stories) based on the inner relationships / parameters that exist within a system. The system can then be installation or performance. Interfaces, systems and objects can all be metaphors. The extent of using interfaces as metaphors is the measure of how “organic” is the system. But like in a movie: no character should appear without relation to the storyline. A kind of simplified construction of relationships that has the potential to create stories (interpretations).

The successful installation or performance can create interpretations that are not random or arbitrary, but very precise. This is the part that we earlier called synchronization. Still, art is sometimes said to be a search for truth. It can present views on some topic from very different angles. It can deal with any topic that the artist sees as untruth.

The culture is now, and the art is the search for a better culture. The synchronization in art is not about replicating the culture, but about the creating a culture. Creating = changing or making new. The contemporary artist is creating the future icons, based on the critique of nowadays icons. The link with ever newer technologies is therefore simple – but not without problems. The artists are just advanced users of technology – not creators.

Pieces of technology have the culture of today inscribed in them. They are meant to be used in a conventional way: not to force the users to change habits too much, not to allow the users to break laws with them. An artist must become a hacker. This opens up the area of “open source-code” – as metaphor again: artist must be able to crack the conventional code in any piece of technology (the culture, the civilization) and be able to pack it back in a functional way. This is about artist being creative.