As an artist, like most I constantly strive to produce something ‘new’, ‘original’ and ‘authentic’ in order to captivate an audience that is becoming increasingly difficult to please. Artists have to do this without losing touch with the reasons that they make art in the first place and that is a very subjective reason. For me, personally, the audience is vital – I want to enter into a dialogue with the viewer and to create experiences that are not fleeting but permanent in their minds. The recent collaborative work with a sound artist was solely about the audience reaction to the work. In Second Life, the work was about collaborating across disciplines to seek out a new space that belonged to no one particular discipline. That project only made small steps into that but the virtual world was the ideal place in order to experiment with that idea.
There is a great deal of anxiety in modern culture about ‘authenticity’ most recently brought to us in the movie about the creation of Facebook ‘The Social Network’ . In our everyday lives as artists, musicians, designers, writers etc we continually come head to head with the issues of copyright and using ideas that are not claimed by others. But ideas come from interaction with others, from exposure through the media, film, books and TV. They come to us because we are passionate about something and because we want to enter into dialogue on that subject. Used in good faith, ideas should belong to everyone. The real question in ‘The Social Network’ was if those ideas were used in good faith.
The anxiety of the contemporary artist is less about authenticity and more about translating ideas through their own personal language. It’s their bid to engage with others in a unique and somewhat personal way. Authentic and unique are two very different contemporary issues.