Looking Towards/Away

Art → The Social
Getting closer by:
dumping the studio;
dumping standard techniques and materials;
shifting from observation to participation,
from representation to event,
from the rarefied space of autonomous art
to the realm of lived experience.

Yet this is also a kind of fantasy
of genuine encounter and
authentic life,
of somehow discovering a
proper path to these things; one that renews
life and art at once.

(It is also the dream of drawing
together the immediate and

In opposition to this relentless
effort to strip away all signs of
distance, one might argue that
the present moment itself – the
intimate space of the social – is
ruptured from within, that it is
never simply itself, that it is always
inevitably veiled, that the apparent
distance and separation of art is
actually indicative of the complexity
of social experience, of its passage away
from any possibility of essential,
truthful appearance.

This is to acknowledge
the veils of art and the veils of lived
experience, suggesting that
every motion of revelation is also, equally,
a motion of blindness
and disguise.

So it may be that the moment of
acknowledging the social, of approaching
it closely, of swimming within it, is
also a moment of looking away from
the social, of withdrawing from it, of
remaining perfectly dry.

Both engaging and disengaging – the
necessity of indirection.

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