Additional Amendment: Ms. Wolff also fails to consider the physiological and neurological as factors in individual human agency. (You know. Just sayin')
A Jock McDonald Remix Project by Pete Smith.
This blog is a running journal that was made in conjunction with my artist residency at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada that took place between December 2014 and February of 2015.
To get an understanding of how this project fits into the larger scope of my art practice, please visit:
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Car-Library Research Notes
As I was driving into work this morning, I thought a lot about Ms. Wolff's book and the arguments she has thus far presented (I'm about halfway through). Although I am definitely interested to see if she is able to convincingly "prove" her larger point about the "myth of artistic genius", I am compelled to point out something that I find problematic in the structure or her argument. Wolff's thesis is being advanced largely under the assumption that all human activity (artistic or otherwise) bears a relatively straight forward relationship to causation. She believes that all of the things we do are done for a reason. To Wolff's credit, she also puts forward that there are an abundance of psychological, social, political and historical reasons that inform all of our decisions (which is certainly true). She believes that a human being is, more or less, a pinball that bumps into one thing only to be jettisoned into something else, and if we measure the angle of impact and the speed that the ball was travelling, we should be able to thoroughly understand why the pinball arrived at it's next location. But I just don't think that presumption is correct. I think this presumption more or less discounts what it is to actually be a human being. I think often there are a multitude of reasons for the choices we make, but sometimes there are not. I think some of the things we do are, more or less, arbitrary decisions based upon an infinite complex of chance variables that are presented to us at any given moment: sometimes the pinball does not travel straightly and truly. I mean, if an individual person cannot themselves understand the reasons (if any are actually present) for all of the things that they themselves do, how can someone else presume to understand why those choices were made? I think sometimes the ball just travels on it's own.
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