i don’t mean to say, though, something simple like a work of art isn’t yours even if you made it because you didn’t make it because your work is actually a tissue of quotations drawn from the multilayered texture of signifiers/significance/etc that structures our lives. because you still drew the tissue and it should be mandatory that you receive whatever accolade or compensation is necessary for your labor. i mean to say that things are more complex than saying authorship is bad and renouncing authorship is good. i also mean to say that things are more complex than calling some things dark matter and saying they are good, whereas whatever isn’t - light matter? - is not good, but i haven’t actually read that book and i probably should before i start bitching about it.
i liked what tania bruguera did in her keynote at open engagement (let’s just say OE from now on). namely, she began the lecture by saying “i am making art and making art is ok,” and, somewhere towards the end, said: “i don’t think of myself as an artist, i think of myself as an instigator.” while this may seem like a totally contradictory thing to say, and maybe it is, i think it’s nice: you can be an instigator, and one of the things you can instigate might be art. and if you are an instigator and you happen to instigate art, then that’s fine. you did it, good job. this seems actually like a lot more productive than calling yourself an artist and claiming you make instigations. which actually is what i tend to do, so maybe i should just shut the fuck up and call myself something else entirely. or just continue to call myself several things simultaneously.
anyway, what i mean is that things are complicated and it’s ok and also more interesting to refer to things as complicated than simple, although perhaps it makes for more cumbersome dinner party conversation. or perhaps it makes for more honest dinner party conversation, that maybe honesty is cumbersome, generally. or rigor, if we want to steer clear of the h word. generally when people ask me what social practice is, i either pause and wait for them to answer their own question or i say something mumbling and stupid. once i said something like this: “well, let’s think about sculpture. we can say sculpture is sculptural practice, a way of making that involves the history and materials of the sculptural as such. the same goes for social practice: it is a way of making that involves the history and materials of the social as such.” then maybe we can have an actual conversation, which would probably be more interesting than politesse.