the inside and the outside: marina abramović and her dresses

One thing I like about Marina Abramović’s performance – ‘The Artist is Present’- at the MoMA (till May 31st – [see Jac Jemc’s related post here]) is the significance of the dresses she’s been wearing. She alternates between dresses of three different colors – red, dark blue, and white – each pertaining to a mood or energy level she believes will help sustain her at different times throughout the exhibition, which is two and a half months long, and which involves her sitting in silence across from any number of museum visitors almost every day.

Below are pictures of her in the three different dresses. If you click on any of them (during exhibition hours) you’ll be connected to a live streaming video of the performance.

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Art as Experience

Like John Cage said: "Not a peep."

In the comments section of my last post, Can Video Games Be Art?, I sketched out a definition of art as experience, or even as an attitude, rather than as a thing or a collection of things (see here and here). At the risk of repeating myself, I’d like expound on that position, in case anyone is interested (and wants to discuss/debate it).

But first, and briefly: I really do consider Roger Ebert’s argument—that video games aren’t art and can never be art—easily refuted. (I suspect Ebert thinks similarly; he’s obviously being polemical.) Here are two different ways:

1. Redefine art so that it includes video games. (As far as I’ve seen, no one caught up in the Ebert-inspired debate has taken the trouble to actually define art—always a big mistake.)

2. Demonstrate how video games display, in their own way, artistry (formal elegance, originality, personal expression, ingenuity, response to an artistic tradition, etc.). This is what I see most people trying to do, but the key is to find that artistry in the video games themselves, without comparing them to paintings, literature, cinema, etc. If they are an artistic medium, then video games should have their own unique artistic integrity.

That said, Ebert’s right when he asks why anyone really cares whether video games are art. I think it’s self-evident that they can be, but despite that most of them still totally suck.

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