The word "art" started to mean something new, something we had to learn about and feel dumb because of. Or smart because of.
While growing up I was always confused by trying to understand what my parents showed me as art. I could see it, touch it, relate to but still, I couldn't narrow this into words. Every intent fell short whenever I tried to explain art from a single piece. As soon as I was confronted with another piece, it turned out to be so different that every thread of reality I have built was nulled.
And I grew up just being confused. Accepting and rejecting that I couldn't reduce my emotions into an understandable structure. For myself.
I don't know what art is but it is the only thing worth living for.
Art is everything that makes us humans. Whenever you stop from your automated life to wonder whether you should be performing at your job or just reflecting into how much time you have wasted in your life... that trigger is art. Byung-Chul Han argues poetry is art as it uses words for more than its functional purpose (Han, 2020). And it turns out that feeling human is to some extent a spark of real free will. It is the free will where laws don't exist and death is just another dimension to be explored.
Art is everything you do that breaks explicit and unspoken systems. That is the reason you sometimes face artwork and you wonder why weren't you the artist. And you feel envy because you could be living the artist life at this moment, but you don't.
When it makes you feel uncomfortable it might be scraping into an area of your emotional spectrum you have to keep guarded. Thanks to art, these feelings can be consumed in a safe space. Where you are invited to explore without judgement.
Although it is a recurrent conversation whether art should be political or not. The usual answer is to keep politics away from artistic production. Rupester art is an example of how artistic production is no longer yours the moment you have conceived it. Nowadays, art preservation is up to governments or organised communal institutions. Even now, civil society can argue that working towards a negative carbon footprint is essential for rupester art preservation. And it sets everything into a different perspective. Is it worth asking whether your art is political or not? It is a preproduction question. However, human creation can't be entirely free of politics.
I don't know what art is, but it moves me. It moves me like a falling wave that rolls me to the shore. Sometimes, even after being in a peaceful place, I can still feel the sand in my skin. Scratching those feelings, making me feel uncomfortable and making me dream I can also break the system.
- Han, Byung-Chul, 2020. The Disappearance of Rituals. Wiley. Kindle Edition.