The Work of Art

Suppose for a moment that we can dispense with hundreds of years of aesthetic theory and revert to a child’s comprehension of art as exemplary being, art – are – to be. What is it about the work, creation, that excites us so much? To take hyle, (latin=matter) and bring it farther into being, into being as artifact. To take an old Sekine racing frame and boxes of parts, 13$ worth of cables from the local bike store, and begin to bring it into being as a fully functioning racebike (now with high quality low mount shifters!) – is this not exemplary of bringing into existence a work, an “oeuvre”? A piece of work, a product, a commodity. But this is certainly not a commodity, there is no violent chasm between the image of the thing, the thing’s outward appearence, and the thing itself. Rather, the image of the forming Sekine is constantly subverted by the difficulty of finding some part, of having to free a stuck shifter, a seized fork. But this is not merely the automobile breaking down and it’s ready-to-handedness being suddenly apparent in it’s failure to be ready-to-hand. When I’m done mixing my labour (but it isn’t labour (latin – labour is the word for pain), it’s work) with the Sekine, I might add a POV LED animation set up for the front wheel. Which brings me to the way in which playing with electronics is art, you bring into fruition functionality out of matter. But what makes the kind of electronic arts that interest me distinct from the rabble is something like the spirit in which they are invoked. http://www.ladyada.net/ has many projects, but they all spring out of a spirit that is other than capitalism, ever greater subjection of nature, or the will to power. Rather, they are playful. They play with consciousness, perception, presentation. Play with technology. Technology, techne, being brought into being through humans bringing together matter with form. Art is techne a fortiori. Art – exemplary being. A racing Sekine, exemplary reconstitution of thrown aside parts. Thrown aside parts, recycling to make mp3 players, expression and entertainment in the age of the world’s night. For us, not free form expressionism, but using the meaning of technological objects against, and towards the realization of, the meaning of technology and the character of truth in the age of technology.

Why would you prepare your turkey the hard way, if you could go straight from frozen pre stuffed with a butterball? Hmm, maybe if you wanted your turkey to be a work!

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