Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On the train with "super artists"

Now that I am on the train, a in semi-camp counselor as conductor role, I can let my thoughts solidify a little, although my brain is somewhere between pudding and jello and not a mass of smartness. I am traveling with Kevin, Ellen, Kay (mom), Andrew and Paul. I am passing out snacks and am already enjoying the conversations of Kay talking about past train travel, Ellen's desire to pass through India via train and Kevin's train of thought that eventually leads back to John Lilly.

John Lilly was an American physician, psychoanalyst, psychonaut, philosopherand writer.
and pioneer researcher into the nature of consciousness using as his tools - the isolation tank, dolphin communication, and psychedelic drugs, sometimes in combination. He was a member of the Californian counterculture of scientists, mystics and thinkers that arose in the late 1960s and early 70s. Tonight Kevin will read, "Lilly's Voice," by John Lilly where he advises on the importance of being "super present," "super intelligent" and getting to a place where one has a deep empathy (sympathy and love) towards others. I could really use that lecture and the Lilly readings couldn't be a more perfect way to begin the adult program of Camp Pocket Utopia.

My Camp Pocket U. project has many different components; kid, free, train, communal, hotel, house, backyard, public, private, art-making, conversation and transformation. Just as Pocket Utopia, the salon, exhibition space and artist residency program, I ran in Bushwick for two years was an extension of my art, so is Camp Pocket U..

Norte Maar, through generosity, hard work, and dedication to collaboration, has provided the operating structure for this extension of my art process. And it is a process.

My art making process involves defining and redefining the role of the artist in, what I have observed lately, a rapidly evolving cultural landscape of limited resources, changing audience participation and the urgency of other global matters (the environment, health care and the economy). Artists have a responsibility to respond to the world around them. As John Lilly put it in 1994, the year I moved to New York City to be an artist, "one tends to repeat in order to be safe." Under repetition we ignore possibilities of a widening spiral that has no end.

Let's seize this camp opportunity and coin the term "super artist." Now, let's try and define it. For the next few days, my task at this "camp as exhibition," where Beuys hangs out at Womanhouse, is to make a spiraling list of understanding who the super artist is in all of us.