Filmed: In conversation Inside.

Here for you is the film of an “in conversation” with interlocutor, author and journalist Michael Jacobs at The Bob Hawke Institute In Adelaide Australia on 18th August. The patron of The Bob Hawke Institute is his life long friend Nelson Mandela. “Racism is a personal story, deeply deeply personal.”

1 thought on “Filmed: In conversation Inside.

  1. Thanks for that Lemn, really enjoyed it! You give so much. As always, plenty to be inspired by and think on. You are a rare spirit and true.
    With regard to one audience member's question about certain artist's portraying images of self-destruction (and whether this has any damaging effect upon young people in particular) I think she had a point, though I'd say the potential damage is part of a collection of symptoms pointing to the fact that we are living in a de-sensatized and unreflective society. Therefore the potential damage lies in the fact that bad art or non art being promoted in galleries only serves to reinforce people's sense of alienation or dysfunction, compounding their malaise.
    This is damaging as we instinctively go to art for nourishment or to connect, or feel some healing, or to see in a new, inspired way, art shows us who we are by taking us on a journey, it is transformative, revealing what life is, what it can be, and expressses our realitites all down the ages, it distills our essence, resonates and lives, makes manifest through imagination, skill and material.
    As you said so eloquently Lemn, Art does not carry a message It Is the message!
    Quite so, beautifully put. And I would add that art requires skill, to be art-ful is to be skillful, deft, adept. Without skill art cannot come into form, cannot take on a life. If there is no form to find to be generated out of the process of creating, and if there is little respect for the medium and no transformative process then art is simply not present. We journey into wonder wehn we imagine and when we seek to create we endevour to make real that which we sense and perceive, it is a process of going beyond barriers that seem to stand between that which we feel and that which we can actually do! Why do dancers train so rigorously day after day, why do musicians hone their craft? So that their spirit can soar and reveal that which we are, that which life is, they are the vehicle for the art not t'other way round.
    Real art is not a matter of taste ither, it is a force of nature, and we humans are impelled, compelled, to create art forms. Art is it's own message, resonating through it's form and speaking volumes. Real art can commmunicate successfully anywhere, it does not need to be “installed” and promoted or explained, we need not know what a damaged life the maker has, the addcictions they've struggled with, the miscarriages, abortions, or breakdowns or suicide attempts, unless these are integral to the message, as with Gil Scot Heron's art and his urgency of expression, he had integrity, great intelligence, skill and insight, was on a journey and very,very much engaged socially, therefore what he offered was of enormous value collectively and lives on.
    Contrast that with the experience of an “artist” who is simply licking wounds, poring over their personal pain, confronting the detritus of their room. Or contrast it with an individual “artist” who is apparently (what a dull yawn of a pose) obsessed with death, and we find half a cow floating in formaldayde, such “art” is akin to being lured down a dead end street and getting done over.
    Yet it is avidly promoted, talked about, appluaded, bought and sold, and is therefore a symptom, and the problem is two-fold. Firslty the mistaken idea that whatever an artists says is art is art. Secondly the idea that art and the art world are one in the same.
    The promotion and domination of Coneptual Art with it's faux 'Sensational' images, installasions etc largely came about due to the depressingly moribund taste of one Charles Saatchi, a buyer and promoter of “art” who gave the likes of Emin and Hirst such a prominent position in the art world. “The public gets what the public wants” (?) Well ok, in that it was a sign of the moribund times, money doesn't talk it swears, a hugely wealthy advertising executive promotes his collection and his “stable” of artists.
    But art is not a peep show into the effects of damaged pysche's, art is not therapy ither. Conceptual art is almost an oxymoron. Art is a journey, a process and it has to have a language, a form. It does not begin with an idea and then simply present that idea, the artist loses themself (and finds themselves anew) in the work, they engage with their medium, be it words, movement, clay, music, paint, wood, paper…be what it may, the medium is integral to the process and the aritst engages upon a subject or an inspiration and they journey, and they may have something worth sharing as a result, (or not). The art takes on a life of it's own.
    So I totally refute the idea that concept is all and that art can be whatever the artist deems art. Yes we need freedom of expression and expansive mediums and to keep on keeping on pushing the boundaries but when there is clearly no carft and no art let us not gleefully cheer the emporer's new clothes! It is insulting to intelligence and to the integrity of everyone, and yes potentially damaging because it's a lie and a cheap and nasty one at that.
    In any other walk of life it wouldn't be accepteable to say that whatever one deems worthy of the name is fact, that is madness!
    So a chef can say that the meal they have placed before you is the dish you ordered and it is their finest creation to date, you look up incredulous as your plate is clearly bare,your stomach growls in wrank discontent, the chef smiles down at you, condescendingly, saying that the dish you can imagine is far superior to that which they can create, and knowing this they have provided you with the environment, the arena in which to encounter this concept, in which to experience this idea. What?! Bullshit! Your stomach is hungry, you went to be fed! Imagine your meal?
    Would you feel insult or delight?
    Or you go to a tailor or a doctor, a haridresser or a plumber….if all these people went around saying that whatever they decreed to be worthy of the name was fact then the lunatics would have taken over the asulym. So why becaause the arena has the word “art” attached to it is is suddenly not just ok but terribly hip to lose all sense and start believing the hype?
    Marcel Duchamp's signing of a urinal was literally a piss take, a sending up of the pretenstions of the art world, all very funny and making a point but the art world is a universe away from art itself, let's not conflate the two! Moreover, let's not get caught up in the dumbing down of society by agreeing that we can all be artists and that anything can be art. Yes, we can create, we can all do art and have art work through us, we can earn a living doing any job and have valid artisitc activity in our lives, sure we can, not easy by any stroke but possible. But don't debunk art or artists by reducing it all to a homogenous sameness that whatever is decreed art by “the artist” is art, that's nonsense.
    We need the intergrity of art, for it to be whole and stnad on it's own merits. We sorely need the honesty of it, and yes the shock of it and the tenderness of it, all that it can be, so that we can be awakended to all that we might feel and see and know and be.

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