Saturday, September 26, 2009

More Artspeak...

[Angelica Mesiti] told [The Australian] she was interested in "notions of worship and ecstasy", which is a bad start: a notion, a perennial favourite in artspeak, is a vague entity that is no longer the thing itself but has not achieved the clear and distinct nature of a concept. When an artist claims to be interested in notions, you know they haven't thought anything through properly. Ecstasy at a rock concert? Yes, that's all well, but do the object and context of the ecstatic state have no significance? Why not ecstasy at the Nuremberg rallies? - Christopher Allen, The Weekend Australian, Sept 26-27, 2009.

This relates to the winning artwork - 'The Rapture (silent anthem)'. The text is perhaps a bit harsh when you consider that most don't have the luxury of picking the ideal or appropriate word or phrase when interviewed.

When people write/speak they also tend to go to great effort to avoid repeating words so 'concept' is expanded to 'notion', 'thoughts', 'ideas' and a plethora of other words. Often these texts are genuinely discomforting to read as the words tend to get more and more obscure and the text becomes more pompous.

As others, I have a constant fight with the rather dry term 'narrative'. This is often dumbed down to 'storytelling' (which has it's own problems) and many filler words like 'inert', 'ambiguity', 'innate' and 'abstract' tend to creep in.

It is extraordinarily difficult for those not 'trained' in such things to write a text that is appealing to the disparate (that's another of these words) demographics of artspeak officianados and the 'masses'.

Consider Art Life's posts about 'based in' and 'is/and' from a while back.

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