Production and re-production

What loss were ours, if we had known not birth?
…whoso ne’er hath tasted life’s desire.
Unborn, impersonal, can feel no dearth.


As artists we produce work. What one means by production has shifted over time, as have the methods for art making, the word itself, production, which comes from the Latin producere, to bring forth, has shifted from manually crafting something to more often meaning an industrial process that has well-defined and planned inputs and outputs. Art has shifted accordingly. New means of production have thus been added to the toolbox of creation, the past ones are still present, even though some techniques are becoming more niche and thus disappearing from the mainstream artistic practice, at times with a negative impact when it is a central part of this practice, such as traditional drawing. But, overall, one could argue, the new methods have expanded the possibility for creation. Is this creation worth this expansion? As with everything, some is and some is not, even Sewell would agree that there is quality to be found in contemporary art, mostly folly, but as with everything, time is the great critic and selector. How will this art be defined/appreciated in 100 years it is impossible to tell. The only possibility is to keep on doing it as best as one can. An important component of this practice is repetition (mechanical), the more one paints, or sculps, or reads, the more one improves one’s capacity for performing said act, this coupled with innumerous other factors is key to becoming an artist with his/her own individual approach, one avoids unique, as unique is a tall order to be attained, and once again, time needs to be factored in. All this, links to freedom, to freedom of creation, and of living, but this topic one will leave it with von Kleist’s puppet.

Production stems from creation, one needs to have an idea in order to be able to create something, once that idea is formed, one needs to arrive at a method/technique to bring it into existence. Another interesting part of this process is where this idea is, does it already exist in someone’s head, or is it written somewhere, even in an unknown or not accessible paper, or it might even exist somewhere in the ether? It is still slightly mysterious where these ideas come from, they do not sprout from nothing, they do form from a confluence of influences, one’s life, empirical study, logical deduction, and so. Creation is also limited to our sensory capacity, the day we will be able to access different senses our creative output will take a different form. Therefore, we are always involved in our own social, civilizational cycle, the human takes most of its influence from what it knows, and what it knows best is himself and his fellow humans. Thus, art is what is closest to natural creation with a human behind it, it is aiming at gods work in human terms, even though it is always nothing compared to the natural world as it is only the filtered vision of one individual which is a very small particle in a much wider space. This filtered vision is best when it stems from a large number of influences or inputs and not just a few. This process is like Schlieffen’s plan, it is toiled and re-toiled and once in motion it is hard to stop, even when its end result is not satisfactory, there is a high failure rate in this process, as there is in an un-technological life, a pre-modern life. Has this changed over time? Probably yes, as it is easier nowadays to arrive at a convincing enough idea and to be able to find a method of executing it from the numerous production methods now available. Nonetheless, this does not discount many of these ideas as mere fait divers. This means that at its core, it is still a very pre-modern process, as are we as human beings. It requires constant physical repetition, physical and intellectual, it requires a constant state of alertness and to be imbued in society and its opinions, from the more lurid to the loftier ones, and a high rate of failure. What never was, might be and what was or is might stop being. It is a constant game of production and re-production and so are we.

Martim Brion