Thursday 26 July 2018

I need you so much closer.

With writing, the conditions of production has resembled the condition of consumption ever more closely over the centuries. Writing is, by necessity, a singular act, performed in isolation. Even if many texts are edited by others, and so there is an element of collaboration, both the author and the editor write alone, passing along versions of the same text.
In older times texts were transmitted orally, often to a larger audience, with the written down version existing merely as a reminder to its details. In our time, the act of reading has become silent and singular, like the act of writing.
In art there is no such symbiosis and the matter of art's production is increasingly becoming further and further removed from the method of consumption. The audience doesn't know about the works creation and it doesn't want to know about the works creation. A long and laborious journey is happily shown as a single object sporting 'joyful' colours and to be glanced at only momentarily. Likewise, a simply pressed print is hailed as a great achievement due to the physical presence of the final result.

There are artists, of course, who attempt to bridge this gap and create greater similarities between these two moments. People like Simon Starling and Mark Manders, although it could be said that the with the latter there is a great deal of stagecraft involved. One of the difficulties certainly is that artworks often take multiple months to produce and seemingly only seconds to look at.

Perhaps the distance is of no importance and we still prefer to see the things that comment on our world as given down to us by God, but I for one am jealous of the similarity that exists in the acts of reading and writing.