December 25, 2015

Excerpt from the introduction to Authenticity is a Feeling: My Life in PME-ART


It all seems so strange to me – in one sense every time we begin a process I am aiming for a breakthrough, hoping to surprise myself and make something that doesn’t particularly remind me of anything I’ve seen, or if it does remind me of something else, if it does remind me of some other work, or some particular aspect of my own previous work, I still want it to do so in a surprising way. And yet on the other hand I no longer believe in any of these things, they seem to me only like some youthful fantasies that my current understanding of the world can no longer support. What’s important, it now seems to me, must be something else: to make work that doesn’t feel empty, that raises striking questions, where the content and form are inseparable. But also to deal with the collaborative process in as honest and human a way as possible, and for the integrity with which the work has been made to come across as we perform it.

I am still working on all of the same artistic questions I started with thirty years ago, and often wonder if they are now only bad habits, or if the fact that I’m still working on them displays a certain degree of necessary commitment and fidelity to my earliest artistic impulses. At the same time, I’m also working on a more recent set of questions, many of which almost completely contradict the earlier ones, and most often I make no attempt to resolve these contradictions. Everything I do brings me into paradox and the paradoxes only deepen over time.

Nonetheless, as a matter of principle, I remain fiercely against those who say that everything has been done, even if I am somehow, gradually becoming one of them. Because how do they, how do we, know. There is always a certain energy and curiosity in believing that anything might still happen. As well, saying things go in circles has a different emphasis than saying everything has been done, since every time you come around again the things you do are both the same but also, somehow, desperately not the same at all. Yet now it is still 1996 and therefore, at age twenty-five, I very much believe it is possible and important to make something completely new in art.

[Authenticity is a Feeling: My Life in PME-ART is a new book I'm currently working on which will be published by BookThug in Spring 2018.]


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