Featuring “Simplicity” as an “Irrational Fear”

Featuring “Simplicity” as an “Irrational Fear” is an exploration of the concept of simplicity and its impact on the direction of contemporary art discourse. Simplicity, which one could argue is akin to accessibility, is so rarely available in this current climate of contemporary art and one finds that there's a tendency to intellectualise away anything that may be overly-accessible or easily understood in art.

Concepts are often times over-complicated in the circumlocutory pseudo-intellectual babble that creeps into discussions, perhaps out of some irrational fear that once it is all decoded, then nothing is left. As Raymond Havens stated in “Simplicity, a changing concept” (1953:3):

Simplicity, it would seem, is a simple matter... In the eighteenth century, critics, essayists, and poets were constantly referring to it as the supreme excellence in almost every field, the "open sesame" to every door, whether of conduct, thought, taste, or artistic production. "The best and truest ornament of most things in life," Swift called it, and Shaftesbury, "this beauty above all beauties." Lord Kames declared, "The best artists ... have in all ages been governed by a taste for simplicity," and Horace Walpole said, "Taste...cannot exist without Simplicity." Joseph Warton went even further, maintaining “SIMPLICITY is with justice esteemed a supreme excellence in all the performances of art."

Ironically, simplicity is not quite as one-dimensional as one may expect. It is engulfed in concentric skins that seemingly lead right back to complexity. Simplicity itself becomes a slippery subject with multiple personalities but nonetheless one that is tackled head on. Through this performance-based installation a multitude of characters discovered in the excavation of simplicity are addressed and re-interpreted to create a triangle of responses from three performance artists, Nathalie Bikoro, Donna Kukama and Nástio Mosquito. The physical absence of the three performance artists in the performance space creates a rift between time and space, thereby necessitating a creative clarity in a media as interaction-reliant as performance.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Nathalie, I really like what you said about simplicity in relation to something really obvious that you hardly notice e.g. the video basketball link you sent (in case Donna and Nástio might wanna see http://www.charlescarver.com/jcs5.htm). I think that in that sense simplicity becomes like a disregarded obstruction of sorts. The ape comes in and interrupts the order of things in a sense, like a fly on the screen and you find yourself subconsciously avoiding it. So in relation to the idea of a game or set of instructions, I think it’s a great idea. Here’s an interesting quote I found about simplicity, reality and instinct:

“There are, however, two preconceptions which beset our speculations about instinct, despite the fact that they are notorious in the history of thought. A true prejudice is rather one which we refuse to abandon. There is, first, the hoary conviction that the real is the enduring and unchanging. The second preconception regarding the nature of the real is the belief that reality must be simple. The instincts, then, being neither simple nor enduring, cannot, perforce, exist…” (pg 141 from “Simplicity Versus Adequacy in the Definition of Instinct” Author(s): C. O. Weber Source: The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 24, No. 6 (Mar. 17, 1927), pp. 141-148 Published by: Journal of Philosophy, Inc)

Later ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment