The dialogue between the two articles hones in on the reflective, mirror-like quality of art concerning society. Art in collective contexts distorts the familiar associations and bridges within the hierarchy of making things, bringing forth a representation. But who is being represented in the reflection of society, in the aestheticization of space and the individual? The theme of reflection is brought up once more in both articles in the conceptualization of public spaces and collective spaces where the art comes into contact with both areas. Martin explains that these “spaces” for lack of a better word are vehicles for connection and reflection. Art is an end in itself, the process of which and original intention are a pre-production unnecessary into the interactions of the piece and its audience now. Politically, engaging people in spaces like these can be justified to mobilize dissent, to be a voice for the people. In the outreach of the artwork alone, in calling people together in a mutual connection, art becomes societally civic. With the event of the internet, I can’t help but wonder how this point is invalidated by its non-physicality. If public spaces are to aestheticize place and persons and their connection to one another, then the spaces inevitably demand a physical “being there” paired to the conceptual “?” of a piece. As Walter Benjamin wrote about the aura about an artwork being destroyed in the mechanical age, I wonder if we need a critique of art in the age of digital production. It is not sufficient for art to simply appear in public, the image of it becomes mute and political, and ideological messaging reshapes the pull of the artwork.
Art can now no longer be just an ends; it must be a process. The artist must now provide the means to navigate and negotiate differences into productive action.
Citizenship is a kind of group belonging that can be described along multiple dimensions at once personal, social, temporal, and spatial. Artists are born into a system that can never fully express or articulate that which needs to be said critically about the system, just as everyone else without the title is without a way to explain or navigate the systems into which they are born into. Embedded into the artist is the identity, right, obligation, and acceptance shaped by society. Art traveling into the public begs questions of context, it effects, and meaning without prescribed purpose. Form informing content and vice versa is a major system of thought underlining both arguments.
Art, however, has no binding to the sense of authorship or civic duty, it need not be a mirror to society had we not prescribed it context. Human interaction, what it’s audience makes of it, and how the piece makes them think critically about the world around them are all products of an economy based on consumption. To give art this definition of the relation is to place the concept into a hierarchy fundamentally based on limitation and negotiation. Collective artistry is proposed as a way of responding to the world around you, a process of consumption, but we must consider what is drawn out of focus in the generalization of making something, the traces and power structures that form and shape the art into a tool rather than philosophy.
Viscerally, I would like to believe that art exists outside of the human; viscerally I wish for art to bridge the private and public without being applied as a filter. But in the aestheticization of space and the complexities of adding personhood into the works, something within discourse is being left out ( especially if we consider art outside of the context of other art). If art is society looking itself in the mirror, what do we make of the moments outside of art, in the actual blurriness and indistinct communication od collective and individuals.