On art and lies
Hello, Chat-GPT. Open Spotify.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a live music concert. It was by one of the best known artists of the international scene. I enjoyed it, a lot, because, what a surprise, there were only four of us in that concert hall and, as you know about me, I am not a fan of crowded places… to say the least.
At the end, I was able to talk to the other few attendees and they all commented the same thing: lately nobody went to concerts anymore because music had become something cryptic, something only for musicians; that people did not understand if what they were listening to was good or not, if it was worth paying for it or not… they could not even decide if they personally liked it or not… so, faced with so much confusion, they decided not to listen to music, and by extension not to go to any concerts.
What a shame, really, because at this rate music is going to disappear. Nobody cares anymore… After all the amount of messages, values, poetry and emotions that it transmitted to us… or that we transmitted to each other through it. After all it united us, all it made us live, share, understand…
Now the musicians dedicate themselves to sing about the same music. The lyrics talk about notes, about impossible compositions, about taking music to a higher level… and of course, only musicians understand it, and only musicians are interested.
But it’s not just music! Something similar is starting to happen with cooking. Restaurants have stopped cooking to feed, and are dedicated to experimenting exclusively with new formulas that provoke unknown, magical, mystical palatal sensations. As a result, culinary products and their raw materials have become more expensive in favor of gastromasonry, and few connoisseurs can afford to go to a restaurant to eat. Chefs now only cook for other chefs.
What a pity that the world is taking this drift… if only all that were true.
This is not really happening, you know, at least not with music or cooking. But it is happening with another creative field: with ART, and it has been happening for several decades.
Painting, perhaps, is more likely to recruit thinkers and philosophers, people more interested in studying culture than in living it, sharing it or producing it. The art world has always been full of people, to put it bluntly and from the inside, pedantic, marginalized or with few social skills; outsiders who end up expressing their vital needs and delusions of grandeur through an indirect medium such as painting, writing, photography…. This is so; I paint for this very reason.
The case of music was similar in its beginnings until, perhaps because of the consumer society, we began to turn musicians into a sort of gods, saints to be prayed to with their own musical prayers, and maybe that has saved them. Music more easily awakens emotions and thoughts, even desires. Mathematical sound has that magic, it activates the strings with which we think and remember, and we love that.
But what about painting?
We painters, especially since the 19th century, strive to be gentlemen, ladies, bohemians, sad, eccentric, thinkers and, in short, characters outside any classification, because our unique point of view will be what gives value to our work. When we
create compose, we use pieces that already exist to obtain new elements, but we must put it all together from the nonsense to reach something that, sometimes, has a new meaning. This is creativity, and it engages, and you end up doing the same with everything around you. I have a freezer full of unpaired legs.
This is why it is said that art is a language. It is not only because, sometimes and not always, it serves to express, but because it is composed of meaningless particles (letters) that grouped together form logical structures that represent something real (words). In this way, an artist chooses a word from the dictionary, breaks it down, rearranges it, perhaps mixes it with other words, some words he has heard from someone influential, and thus “creates” (you can’t create anything, I’ve already said it. IT IS COMPOSED!) a new word or phrase with a new meaning. Pure genius. Ask Picasso.
Now, let’s imagine that our genius composes hundreds of words that, well, only he understands.
It’s a kind of language of his own that no one else understands. Does that make sense? What’s the point of a language if not to communicate with others? Well, it can have aesthetic purposes, like Tolkien’s Quenya, which looks very nice on your cousin Karen’s calf but, let’s not fool ourselves, it would be easier to have a conversation in binary… Or it could have a ludic function, we are simply playing at creating languages because creating languages is a fun and enriching game. I don’t know!
And here’s the rub.
We’re all past the “what is art”, “this is art” and “this is not art” debate. That’s my 5 year old daughter doing that. This toilet is art… and so on.
It is my opinion, and it should be yours too that, in the end, art is anything created by an intelligent being with a motivation beyond the merely functional.
That is to say.
Let’s imagine the first glass in history. It would be a bowl, half a coconut, a folded leaf… anything that fulfilled a function. But once we already have the technique under control, we stop to think that maybe it is not decorous for the chief of the tribe to drink her camel spit in a coconut bowl, like everyone else, and that maybe it should have a shape, a color, some inlays that make it beautiful, pleasant, that speak of the status of the person who owns it, that speak of the creativity of the tribe, of the talent, of the time in which the artist who creates it lives….
It is no longer something functional, it starts to be something with an additional motivation, with a message, that has information. Even when it is something merely aesthetic, it is telling us about the taste of the time, the means, the resources… It is an object with information.
And at the same time as objects, art will reach actions, words, sounds, movements, war strategies, clothing, the structure of society itself?
In everything there is information that the human being, in our case, has added for others.
Everything is art.
And why are we no longer interested in art?
Art interests us, but we don’t realize it. What doesn’t interest us is art that talks about art. That’s an unbearable pain in the ass (marvelous pain for some friends).
From Marcel Duchamp and his piss-pot, then Klein and his “painting” paintings, and even Hirst and his colored dots or Jeff Koons and his plastic dolls made by other people… art has not talked about anything else but itself.
Artists make art to talk about art. They no longer talk about love, death, society, beauty… now they talk about the possibilities of art itself. They talk about how far the definition of art, painting, sculpture, performance can go. They speak of perception, of the material, of the interpretative… of increasingly abstract and meta-artistic concepts that, frankly, do not even interest us artists anymore.
And therein lies the culprit. Artists and scholars may be interested in that art, but what does it matter to some lovers, to a lost child, to a lonely being, to a struggling woman… what does it matter to them how black a black color can be, how a white on a white background can be called art, how a Serbian woman counts grains of rice until the audience goes into ketosis…
Nobody cares about that. And few do anything to change it.
My work is to compose images about things that not only concern me and come out of my life experience, but that I know concern us all. My goal is visibility. To be seen. Because I think, arrogantly but to some extent objectively, that what I have to say is important, and that I can make others feel a little less alone.
There are many people who will never get a message that they need and that maybe I have, because they think that art is boring, that it is only for people who “understand art”.
Don’t let any self-styled representative of art, a stuffy gallery owner, or a curator in an open shirt tell you what is good and very expensive, and what is vulgar or brutal and worthless. If your 5 year old daughter can do it, if with a mop and a lighter you can do it, if it doesn’t make you feel anything, if it doesn’t mean anything to you… it will be art, but it is not good.
Painting, and art in general, has to be like music. We all know if we like a song or not. Nobody says “Oops, I don’t understand reggaeton so I don’t know if I like it”, “I don’t know if this Pop is any good”, or “My 5 year old daughter sings like Enrico Caruso”.
Believe me, if you like it, it’s good. If you don’t like it, it’s bad art. You were right.
Bran Sólo. Dic-2021
Vote REAL MADRID
Recently, in our bipolar Spain, we have gone to the polls to decide who will be the next to occupy their throne in power, specifically in the city councils and autonomous communities. After the skewed results, where the majority seems to be fed up with the management of the last years, the current government has announced the celebration of early general elections, leaving us all between astonished and not caring at all (what really worries us is that we will be on vacation… let’s not fool ourselves).
At this moment the “Clown League” begins. A spectacle of spotlights, microphones, slogans and promises, as well as a few chutes, balls to children’s heads, offsides and boos to some faggot referee, which will conclude with the public defenestration of the loser and his hunchbacked henchmen, and the burning alive of his voters in the square of each town, as well as the proclamation of the Magnus President of the Government 2023-2027, who as a Miss will greet and talk about Confucius and Venezuela from his balcony.
This spectacle has already got us, many of us, unhinged, and has become an old-fashioned tradition that we no longer trust.
Representative democracy, on which the functioning of this country kingdom is supposed to be based (look at your ID card, it says kingdom, you do not live in a country/state), consists of electing representatives who defend the interests of the citizens in the institutions. Where do these representatives get the set of interests and needs of their citizens? Do they carry out a survey? A field research? Do they watch the news on La Sexta? Well, maybe… but I am afraid that many of the needs that our politicians try to satisfy and solve are those that also concern us all. That is, they are their own. Worrying.
And I am not referring to the comfort of the office, of a job in a seat, in an office. To have a car, a house, a salary and attention for life.
I am referring to the fact that it is the personal experience of our politicians, depending on where they have grown up, where they have studied, their economic level, the political and moral ideology of their family, and the circumstances of their environment, which defines the objectives, views and sensibilities of each one of them, and of the party of which they will form part.
Here the jacket begins to fray. We are no longer talking about just a representative, we are talking about a person, subjective and with will, like everyone else. This, which may seem obvious to all of us, hides some trick that perhaps we are not seeing at first glance.
First of all, are these people really qualified to represent anyone? Perhaps they represent those who want to be like them, but not others. So far, our politicians are not asked for any psychological report, nor a study of intellectual, emotional, empathy, specific skills of a representative position…. They are only asked to smell good, to be well-groomed, and to speak with a lot of charm. If they have a catchy slogan, all the better. And if they can be seen with their grandparents in the park or with their family at a charity event, there is no doubt that they are the right people to decide what is going to happen to the lives of the people of an entire country for the next four years. If all else fails, they can say “You more,” and they win the fight.
And that is what party democracy is all about, giving the power to decide to a group of people who have their own ideas, some of them private, and who among themselves are forced to think and decide from the same breadbasket, so that they can impose them in order to maintain their way of life. It seems that their intention is not to represent, but to be right. To align their way of thinking with that of the majority of voters, and to convince those who do not think the same way that they are wrong.
Politics is very simple, it is divided in two:
- Those who are fine and want to stay that way, and think that if nothing changes, everything will stay the same (makes sense, doesn’t it?) These are the ones we call conservatives.
- And those who are not fine and want to be it, and for that they need things to change (not them, things). Let’s call them progressives.
Depending on what family you were born into, you will be one thing or another, unless you hit the lottery or find a way for others to give you their money. Remember that you don’t get rich by working, you get rich by thinking, and there are people with very bad ideas.
On this basis, it seems normal that in the end democracy is typically organized in two camps, which generates pitched battles to be right and to maintain one’s position. In addition, this system has several known problems, or minor flaws, such as:
Bipartisanship, or the tendency for only two organized gangs to alternate in power. This reduces voter choice and favors clientelism and corruption. In addition, the fact that there are mainly two parties in dispute continuously divides people into two opposing sides, something typical Spanish, turning Spaniards, accustomed to battle even at leisure, into real fans of two rival soccer teams.
Another problem is the disproportionality between votes and seats. Minorities are left out and new political formations are disadvantaged, as they have less chance of accessing parliament. This also generates inequality among voters, since some have more weight than others depending on the territory where they live. This is quite suspicious.
And to put just one more point, it also turns out that the representatives are only accountable to the voters every four years (or never, really), and during that time they can do whatever they want without consulting them. People have no mechanisms to recall politicians who fail to keep their promises or to propose initiatives.
Thus, politics becomes a media spectacle, where what matters is charisma, marketing and polls.
We do not vote for ideas or programs, we vote for a person: “I am going to vote for Rajoy”, “I like the Galician”, “I can’t stand Perro Sanchez anymore”, “El Coletas is going to sink the ship”, “this did not happen with Paquito”…. And we give our life, our time and our money to that person’s decisions. What is going to happen to us during our lifetime, our total existence, is largely based on the decisions of the government of the country in which we live. If tomorrow it is decided that we all go to war, we all go to war; if they take away half of our money, we give it to them; if alcohol is banned? we all go to France.
Isn’t this medieval?
Just as Real Madrid fans flock to a match, dressed in the same way, with their badges, their chants, their war paint on their faces… configuring themselves as a single, cohesive entity, with a goal so clear that no one can doubt or take a step back, so, we go to the polls, and to the whole of life, with our flags, our pride in being and thinking as we do, our intolerance of others, and our desire that everyone be like us and share our success. We are not going to vote, we are going to win. That’s the problem. This is not a competition of groups, this is not “socca”,
We are gambling on conditioning our whole life, which is the only thing we are going to have, and we do not realize that we are leaving everything in the hands of anyone, so that he can do what he wants with us, simply because he has convinced us that we are right, and he will maintain and assert that same reason before the others. Politics is a battle of egos, a game played by two or more buffoons who charge us admission, and at the exit, some ultras will beat themselves up and sleep warm but happy.
Some wear Spanish bracelets, others do not shave their hair and only buy bio, others will wish for the return of barbarian forms of government that we enjoyed in this country not long ago, such as the various republics or the dictatorship, without realizing that everything in the past did not work, they all did it wrong, and we should do something new according to the needs of everyone TODAY, instead of trying to be right with genocidal formulas of the PAST.
I do not want my life to be based on the rules of an outdated system. I do not believe in communism, nor in socialism, Marxism, fascism, capitalism, nor in anarchy, republic, monarchy, party democracy… no conservatism, liberalism, nor nationalism. I do not believe that anything that has not worked before will work today, at least it did not work for the majority, but only for a few. And I think we are now ready to realize this. To look at our buffoons and send them home.
If only politics were simply a craft of anonymous people. A set of connected bodies, fully transparent and at every step and action publicly documented, from where mainly people are taught to think, to detect problems and propose solutions, to participate in making them and to help ensure their maintenance. If only these politicians were only civil servants, in charge of compiling and creating reports of needs, with committees of experts in each subject represented by scientists, outstanding people from the world of culture, sports, economy, industry, ecology…. and every Sunday, instead of going to mass (well I don’t think that is done anymore), or instead of going to soccer, we would go to listen to a lecture on the future of medicine, on the public health system of the state (of the kingdom), on the education of children, we would go to debate, to make a group decision, and to vote, and we would vote for ideas, decisions, measures… instead of giving our votes to a person who, possibly, fails all the penalties but comes out with very white teeth in the photo.
For the time being, we will have to be satisfied with not being killed in the streets for wearing high heels (whether size 36 or 46), with the pots on the balcony to put an end to climate change, and hope that, whatever happens, El Madrid wins.
Bran Sólo. Jun-2023