That three-letter word can be a real irk. If there is ever a competition held on art, it would most probably be one of the very few fields that we would unlikely win. The vagueness and endless possibilities of art as an idea are, fortunately (and unfortunately), downright simple. The possibilities of the said vague idea is endless.
Luckily, there isn’t any competition. This freedom is what Art Beyond the Year Two Thousand codifies. The “communication power” of the mass media, explains art critic Achille Bonito Oliva (Salerno 1939) to me during the launching of the book, a decade after the year two thousand (and about five days ago last year), “influences and hits the imaginary of many people in the world.”
The essay recognizes what happens after art takes advantage of its comfortable position that is described as being in harmony with the experimentation of “new languages.” Art has embraced globalisation and has undergone its own globalisation…but that is not even the horror yet.
With the steady rise of acknowledgement of popular arts in both the United States and Europe, where “traditional craftsmanship ‘charm’ and the bond with more reassuring and controllable times ‘rhymes’”, its commercialization becomes the “ideological proof” or art’s assimilation. It appears the term “avant-garde” (minus the kitsch) has been successfully neutralized.
But not without the many relationships between art and other fields of study. Citing a handful of artists from a variety of places around the globe, including the United States, Europe and South Africa, Art Beyond the Year Two Thousand acknowledges the role of art in advertising (not excluding copywriting), art and the invasion of hyper technology, and the artists.
The “sporadic” characteristic of art post-second world war period has its audience witnessing its own metamorphosis as a consumer of artworks. Specific terminologies within the established context of art, of course, is already a handful for the public audience. Art, the essay goes on, is neither local nor global, but somewhere in between. This is what is introduced as glocal.
In a section on the public’s death, the essay inserts a quote that sums up the position of the public as “I, the brave costumer who sways between videos, installations, bars and restaurants, toilettes and computers, handphones and cloakrooms, shopping malls and nice people, is a magnificent and profuse (being who will) eventually, gently castaway within the daily inactivity, which is so very dear to me.”
As if the first volume of the Seni Kontemporer series was written and printed on a cruise ship, the essay positions the public as being conscious of the changes happening with themselves as they cruise on their daily interactions with many artsy things. It explains that there is “no international conscience” of the irking three-letter word that is art.
So yes, there is a new artistic movement in progress, and this movement has the ability to “trigger visual literacy” between populations of faraway places. The essay recognizes that this movement follows the law of continental drift in its strategy, making it a movement worthy of its contradictory positioning within the concept of time and worthy of its name.
Spilled by the art critic as “art against and beyond the year two thousand”, the artistic movement’s soulful presence could as well have been traced within the affirmation of Ernst Jünger and the explanation from Norbert Elias, who are both writers and thinkers like us. There is bound to be a contamination of “art’s prevalent character” that goes against the year two thousand which is most likely caused by “the rapid circulation of different visual codes between different continents.”
Recognizing the symbolic death of both the public audience and that of art, Achille Bonito Oliva’s essay identifies the many positioning of art and presents a contemporary artistic movement’s map in the art system (from environmental art to the many art’s tribes). This map is best described as a summary of the portfolio of the many branches of art since the 20th century globalisation.
[Imagine an illustrated visual map of the contemporary art system here…and you’re good to go.]
As someone whose political stand is as advanced as opening up to the possibility of getting over the minimal pair of body/bloody politics (thank you so much, phonology), my own investigations have brought me yet to another clue to understand (a sympathetic gesture) whether the mocking way Indonesians speak is an intentional experimentation or one of those too-cool-for-fools’, rocket scientist gizmos.
Art Beyond the Year Two Thousand agrees that language “is always” what it is all about. So let’s take for granted that globalisation is on our side, and everyone’s an artist in their own field (an empathetic understanding), and find out how Indonesia fits into this whole system…