Friday, September 24, 2010

I think what I appreciated most about the zero1 event was the platform it provided right at our doorstep to consider and experience a lot of new genre work that typically I have limited access to. It was great to read a chapter for a class about site specific work and then walk down the street and hear the artist talk about how she considers her piece as site specific. I'm referring to Robin Lasser of course. It was great to see post cards floating and hear the buzz for what people were excited for. So in general I think in terms of community and local arts and the city of San Jose it's great! But having that been said, in going back in reading my notes from the symposium I notice that a couple of things had me a bit caught. More specifically the candidate presentations for the Climate Clock. One thing I was struck by was that the term "behavior change" kept getting thrown around and yet not one of the panelists ever actually said what that change would be. I found it slightly bombastic to introduce a multi-million dollar project that is meant to insight behavior change without giving the viewer any actual means to act. So I started thinking about possible "behavior changes" that could be the result of any or all of these pieces and all I could come up with were the things that have already been made available/known to us. For example driving less, being thoughtful of our appliances, and of course the old Reduce Re-Use Re-cycle. So I was thinking that most of us already know that. And those that learn it as a result of a school field trip to Diridon Station, well thats great, but lets be real they simply just don't make up the majority of the problem. So then I wondered what is the majority of the problem and it seemed obvious to me that its the exact thing that these artists/scientists are intentionally avoiding to talk about...its the industry. Now I'm not going to pretend that I'm versed in how to fix the climate condition. But I'm admitting that I didn't learn anything new in that panel and I'm pretty sure people who are already commuting on public trans (its at a train station) and class trips won't either. Further I wonder...and I understand that this is an art conference with a panel of artists/scientists not politicians or activists necessarily, but doesn't there have to be a point where we just say enough making art that talks about shit and start talking about shit...outside the choir? Don't we already know that it's time for policy change? I know that's not the point of the project, nor the conference I gather. But I couldn't get past it. That is of course until Jade Chang got up. She was great because in a sense she did the opposite of the previous panel. She talked about art that not only demands the viewers participation to exist but additionally asks the viewer to go out of their way in order to participate. And I'll admit...her slide presentation of images and video clips was more inspiring than the art project previously mentioned. So to that extent I think the climate clock could be a double failure...failing to provoke actual action, and failing to succeed as an art piece. I don't mean to sound harsh I just know how the panel made me feel (frustrated) and subsequently how Jade Chang made me feel (inspired). I wonder how others felt about it? Am I being a jerk? Because I can be. I just think its a lot of money to spend on a project that at the end of the day might not incite behavior change that would effect climate change any more then an earth day poster. I just would have loved one person to tell me something new that I could do rather then remind me how bad it is...thats all.

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