Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hungry Art

As someone who earns a good chunk of change writing Dog poems, I am obviously a Dog activist and worshiper (remember Dog spelled backwards is God -- this is not a coincidence). God may be dead, but Dog survives. At least mine do. Guillermo Vargas's dog in the art installation "Eres Lo Que Lees" (Códice Gallery in Managua, Nicaragua, August 2007) may not have been so lucky. While there remains controversy about the fate of the dog, it was documented to be extremely sick and emaciated while chained to a gallery wall. Stories conflict as to how long the dog remained there, whether or not it was fed, and other details, although many of the reports/rumors concerning the installation described the object of the piece as deliberately starving a chained dog in an art gallery and noting visitor's reactions. Vargas himself commented that no one attempted to assist or free the dog. His intention in the piece was purportedly to explore how sets of rules and understandings prevent spectators from "interfering" with tragedy, particularly in the case of media (i.e. news photographers snapping photos while an elderly woman is bludgeoned to death) or art museums, where visitors are sternly warned against touching or interacting with most art.

The thought of a dog chained to a sterile gallery wall is bad enough; starving it to death to note visitor reatcion is deplorable. To call the entire experience art however is intriguing, and opens the door on an entire realm of performance/installation art that I feel would be intriguing. Simply stated, it would involve artists chaining themselves to gallery walls and starving themselves to death (I have a list of candidates). Installations could be videotaped, and spectator interaction studied (huge signs warning people against touching or feeding the artists would be posted). What sould be the effect of gagged pleas, urine and fecal-soaked clothes, and the listless, lethargic eyes of death on "sternly warned" viewers? The effect
would certainly transport art into a real life or death arena, and remove it from its current ennui of dillentantism, actualizing the prophetic text of Kafka (The Hunger Artist), or John Hawkes (The Passion Artist). In the words of Professor Suanders Stillet of the Ecole de Baguette whom I often consult with on matters of art, "This type of artistic pursuit would foreground the premise of nihilism and suggest that Derrida’s analysis of dialectic pretextual theory is invalid. In simpler terms, the gradual starvation and death of will is also reflective of the body of the Other in the One, embedded, as it were in the meaninglessness of narrativity, beyond which there is no transgression but the use of capitalist neoconceptualist theory to modify sexual identity, as Debord certainly clarified."

And when it was all over, think of the bones it would provide for Dogz.


Jeff said...

I certainly agree with you here. However, two questions occurred to me:

1) How much money do you make from your dog poems?

2) Did you use the Postmodernism Text Generator for that lovely quote you've got, or did you make that up yourself? Because if you made it up, then I'm a little scared.

piper said...

$60K a year or so.

Be scared.