Archive for August, 2007

What more credible source of validation for the non-economic that uberEconomic MasterCard’s ads that claim that things you can buy have a price, but that experiences are “priceless.”


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I read your article,  “A New Proposal:TransAction” with great interest. And now I will tell you why I think it is such an excellent idea.

Artists often collaborate or otherwise interact informally, though not as often as they should, considering how beneficial it is to them. Collaborations/interactions/TransActions are beneficial in all the ways you alluded to, and I agree that it is not because some wonderful product is necessarily going to come of it. But the greatest benefit is the unspoken, implied one. TransActions build community.

I think what is needed by artists is more community and not more programs on how to make more art, as if we’re not making enough already. Despite the art life being at times profoundly fulfilling, what I hear from artists is that it does not meet their basic human needs as creatures of a greater society. As a sociologist might say, it does not help them to feel competent, choiceful, connected and respected. If artists cannot get these needs met in the greater society, why not then get them met in a community of our own making, the community of artists?

I only just saw here at the Anchorage Museum the film “Who Gets to Call It Art?”, the story of Henry Geldzahler and the 1960’s art scene. Even though it talked about art and artists, it was essentially all about community. Seeing it after having read your idea of TransActions was a thought-provoking combination.

As you said, the things you propose we do are things we do already, but the genius of your idea is in the acknowledgment of them, in the recording of them, the notice given them and so the validation and encouragement gained by the importance put upon them. It is the formalization of the usually informal. And as with the angels in the film “Wings of Desire”, the power comes not from the ordinary things being listed, but from the very listing of them. All this has the effect of encouraging an artists’ community, of connecting artists and making important those things we do. This helps to fulfill those basic needs that all have, needs which often in the arts these days are fulfilled by negative actions which results in the the look-at me art, in-your-face art, the aren’t-I-terrible art, all which proves a competence that is not necessarily of an artistic nature.

So let’s get that record started. Can anything be too ordinary to acknowledge? I don’t think so. What is important is to see it as the record of connections between artists within our community. Tacitly encouraging ourselves to do something, anything, whenever possible, to strengthen this community. To make conscious the importance of all the little things we do with other artists, and to bring us all into the community of artists – wherever we may be. And I believe then that many, many other good things will result.

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