Plot the change?

Change is everywhere, all the time. That’s why the whole “Change” campaign by (now) president Obama was a bit of a weak statement. But as with many weak statements in modern society it was wrapped in a powerful and very intelligent pr campaign. Voters in the US bought the change, casted their vote for change and got change.

And that’s where I am at the moment; The United States of America. For the last three months I was fortunate enough to reside in this interesting country and see lots of art, people, nature, highways and even get a glimpse of my inner self, which I will not bother you with.

Changing the plot in the art world is something that is mostly achieved in retrospective. Although change is everywhere and every atom on this planet and beyond is subordinate to change, plot changers are mostly recognised as such long after the work has finished. I can imagine that in technology or other practical crafts people sit down to find a solution to a problem or to simplify a certain process. If I search for “revolutionise” in Google News right now, the top three hits are articles on reforming the creation of genetically altered mice, special education for autistic children and…baseball.

In art it does not work like this. Just like a bottle of wine it needs to be on the shelf, it needs time to ripe and even then, if you open the bottle at the wrong time it can taste sour. After the fall of the Berlin wall everything that was associated with East German communism was cast aside, especially the work of artists that were locked in the Soviet satellite state for years. Just recently this former “propaganda art” was put on display at the New Museum in Weimar where it was for the first time perceived as art, stripped of his/ her ideological veil.

A few weeks ago I went to see Hamony Korine’s Springbreakers at a lovely cinema in Rhinebeck, NY. Yes, the movie was complete shit. I love girls in bikini ever since watching Miami Vice in the eighty’s, but I could make a more shocking and revealing movie myself just by editing spring break scene’s from various dodgy websites in my attic. After that self-indulgent and irritated first reaction I started to see the flick in a complete different way: People watching it in thirty years or so will get a great view and feel on life in western society in the beginning of the 21st century. Korine’s bottle of wine – or in this case a mix of Red Bull and Absolut vodka – is waiting on the shelf of time.
©2013 Philip Fokker