Journal 7

Performance and Harm, Painitng



If painting is a primitive (meaning uncomplicated) technological system, the end result of which is widespread communication based on the idea of representation, then the body is the source of power that propels a painting into existence, allowing it to say whatever is says. The source of power that impels or even compels the body to produce a painting is, I think, more involved than a simple notion of desire or energy transfer in the form of work, but that is not my heaviest thought at the moment.

I am interested in the place of the body and of performance in what I view as a cycle of representation. My drawing practice has been reduced to observation from wild expression. My thinking practice has been reduced from impassioned raving to methodical plodding, in which I mine the sources of the smallest bits of information that eventually form the universes of thought contained within our most ornate cerebral forms. And I think my performance practice must, as another form of reduction, exclude the involvement of others. I have dealt with the force of the body, and I've begun to deeal with the consequences of force.

My body is inherently powerful. When I will it to move it moves. It walks, it talks, it acts, it makes. It can do. And for months it has done. It has hurdled forth without regard, calling itself a representation of destruction, coolness, non-chalant disdain. In this way its power has manifested doubly: both as itself, stomping over real ground and glaring into the eyes of real people, as well as visually and narratively, imposing its reality while claiming irresponsibly its not real its a put on im not crazy chill out advance your art thoughts catch up be smarter.

In order that power not be weilded wantonly or cruelly, I realize now it is imperative to arrest physical movement, and then to assess that movement. This is especially true inasmuch as my physical movements affect those around me. This may seem unnecessarily cautious, or it may seem cowardly and simplistic. However, I have learned that the effects produced by action like the ones I have recently taken are tangible, and because of this they cause direct and real harm to those I have viewed as a sort of collateral damage. I choose as an artist to deny myself the privilege of determining what it is exactly that my peers need to hurt for, to be punished for. I am not here to meet out judgment and justice on a world that has hurt me in the past, but that is what I have used my body to do. Like a bully who picks on a small child, i have sought to unleash my pain upon a world of victims who could never understand the source of the violent force. Our bodies are powerful. When we use them, they do things. I don't like what i've done to my body, nor do I like what my body has done.

I'm confused now about the origin of change in behavior and thought, in thinking and making. As I consider this personal guilt and implement private action to counter previous, public and interpersonal action, I have begun to change. I made performance work that I now feel was harmful, which led me to uncomfortable guilt--an emotion, not a thought--which led me to stop moving, which led me to think, assesing my behavior, which led me to