Saturday, April 12, 2008

Verbosity and other words I'm overusing at the moment...

Thoughts on writing/thinking in Western Australia - the 'extended' edition.

I've found myself aware of how the idea of voicing a 'formal' opinion is remarkably intimidating. They are just words but, as with ideas, it is challenging to find the courage to string them together and stamp them as our own - especially in the arts.

This is sad, as almost without exception my own engagements with thinkers have been refreshing and critical to the development of my personal, professional and intellectual practice.

Once the assumption of intellectual 'sparring' is overcome, there is common ground to be found. Critical review is rewarding and crucial to the contextualisation of work as well as gives clarity to ideas.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the collective 'we' need 'more' but not necessarily in such a formal sense. Engagement rather than an 'us' and 'them' approach is potentially more rewarding for both parties.

Just from my own point of view, I think writing should be free of platitudes, pomposity and be honest in it's intent. It should not necessarily be overly journalistic but rather expressive. The most interesting writing - again, from my point of view - is that which initially approaches work outside intellectual constraints, documents visceral response and then binds it all together in (if need be - theoretical) context.

Work should be approached the same as you might read a text. It should neither be judged by the brand of computer, software, paper or pen that the author has used or by the qualifications of the author.

It should be 'read' and enjoyed without guilt because you love it, not because someone tells you that you 'should' love it. It is a good and shameless thing to enjoy the beautiful regardless of how fashionable the ugly might be at any given moment.

Bringing it back to earth, I think that in simple terms, there needs to be more column cms for a dialogue to open and engagement to potentially ensue. At the moment there is very limited 'real time' WA visual arts writing.

The various quarterlies do arguably have regular contributors but often well after the fact.

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