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[Xmca-l] Re: Elaborations on Nissen's Could Life Be...

As an artist who was purposely marginalized in my urban US school for
independent thinking, and now finds himself having a much better time
teaching in Eastern Europe, I find these comments hauntingly on-target.
Thank you, Annalisa.

All best,


On Fri, Feb 13, 2015 at 9:56 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:

> Gee whiz, xmcars! my previous post had a lot of typos and I'm sorry for
> that! Thinking is faster than writing sometimes.
> Huw,
> Help me make your connections? I'm not following.
> I'm not sure what you've posted has to do with aesthetic experiences, the
> making of art, and the removal  of these experiences and activities from
> public life. But I hope you'll let me know.
> After posting my thinking about this last night, I remembered how while I
> was in school, understanding from my own experiences, art was something
> anyone could learn, like learning history or math or chemistry. Yet it is
> marginalized even in the school. I don't think I was able to articulate
> that freely that at the time, because the marginalized artists seem to be
> the ones who were rewarded for living on the edge, in more ways than one.
> They would have been wasted words to which no one would have listened.
> The pressure to have to take on that cloak of marginalization as a young
> person can be intense, especially if the narrative is: to be considered any
> good, you have to shoot heroin and struggle with your addiction in order to
> make good art.
> What a great and effective way to systematically eradicate all the young
> artists in a society. Which controls the narrative as "making art is just
> breaking plates and putting that on a canvas." It's very different in
> Europe where artists are more valued members of society, and even loved,
> and there are means of sponsoring them interwoven into the society in
> different ways. Albeit not without flaws, but it's better than nothing.
> In the US there are diminishing contacts with art and aesthetic
> experiences in public spaces. The incidents for contact go up if you live
> in places like New York, but typically it's pretty barren. The only access
> for art is in an iPod or a laptop, or a movie theater, or a book or an art
> museum.
> All of these are mediated spaces that dictate our choices and how we are
> to experience them. Consider this recent article by Cory Doctorow:
> http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/13/if-dishwashers-were-iphones
> Art as a part of everyday experience seems completely absent and
> diminishes each day. Unless, of course, I want to interpret sitting in
> commuter traffic as a kind of performance art of modern living. The only
> other means for aesthetic experiences is to go out in nature, and that can
> be difficult or at best inconvenient.
> Artists by their natures are sensitive and independent thinkers, likely
> because of the way they sense to world. That is not to say that the rest of
> us are insensitive or dependent thinkers, but that they are the first
> identifiable group of "people like that." If we remove the sensitive types
> and marginalize them, that is one way to remove some of those independent
> thinkers from the mainstream, so they do not spread that heretical
> contagion of independent thinking.
> It seems the next logical target if one were to have an objective to
> incrementally remove independent thinkers from spreading contagion is the
> university. So I would invite all of you to examine the narrative of
> artists in society and their removal or their channeling into "safe spaces"
> like 30 second videos, 3 minute songs, 30 minute sitcoms, 130 minute movies
> (because we have to put them somewhere, we can't just kill them). Then
> please consider if something similar is happening in the spaces of the
> university and independent thinking.
> I would not at all be surprised to see there are parallels.
> Kind regards,
> Annalisa