COMMODITY IS WEAK. BUT IT MIGHT BE OUR LAST CHANCE TO SPEAK.
TRYING TO GET A SIMPLE POINT ACROSS, YET TOO OFTEN THE MESSAGE
IS LOST. MEANWHILE, THE INDUSTRY CONTINUES TO GRIND OUT THE
CHEEZE WHIZ, IF THAT AIN'T CENSORSHIP, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS....
FROM "BRUTAL EQUATION" 1991
Art Jones remarks
on artists of color seizing on limited opportunities for speech
while keeping an eye fixed on the context/politics in which
that speech is allowed. Hopefully, audibility, visibility
in a range of institutional settings will also be opportunities
to question "whiteness," to see how "otherness" is a cottage
industry, to explore how your rights become my privileges.
Who will define these terms and the context in which they
are spoken/written? A western dualistic model that always
already knows the spaces that we should occupy? Fuck 'em.
Numerous commentators have discussed the "burden of representation."
Perhaps the first thing to go under this enormous weight is
the idea of a stable, essential, non-white subject. (We're
not all the same.) Resisting reduction to a commodity, to
a stereotype, requires changing strategies. Ignoring (refusing)
certain categories is only the beginning. Retaining an awareness
of the smallness of the opening that makes your speech possible,
and giving some of that space to other others may continue
the groove (viva multi, multi). Concentrate on the audiences
and institutions served by the manufacture of new styles of
opposition and identity. (Produce as many questions as possible)
DON'T BE BLINDED TO THE LOGIC OF EXCLUSION EVEN WHEN YOU'RE
Right now I'm not
consciously working on this. (Joke.) I tell myself I'm doing
something a lot simpler. I'm trying to make a "personal documentary"
while deconstructing it at the same time. The piece is about
my mother, so it has a lot of narrative and Oedipal tropes.
She tells stories while I busily frame her cropped image with
quotes and voice-over essays. I let her speak, but never outside
the context I construct. (A lot of my commentary is irrelevant
to her story) Think about all the hands and reasons and agendas
between you and anything you see no matter how "raw," "faux-naive,"
"rough" the style. A lot of confusion exists between romantic
notions of "otherness" (authenticity, identity) and highly
fragmented, constructed, class- and gender-split subjects.
Social agendas are always disguised as art. What statement
is more politically charged than the claim that art (or science)
must be politically neutral? Art can't help reflecting on