I like the question in the heading. ‘But is it art?’
It’s a question I find myself constantly asking. Since we have entered this digital age, advancements in technology have opened up many new avenues for artists to experimentwith and convey their message through different mediums. But I guess we’re starting to get to the point where we are asking ourselves and I know I do, if what we’re saying is really art?
When reading through this Fibreculture Journal entry and it was talking about the changing ‘conceptions of our perceived role within interconnected systems’ and how this involves an embodied experience I immediately thought of the works of Mike Parr.
Mike Parr does a lot of performative art works based around protesting the treatment of refugees, usually starving himself and inflicting some type of torture unto himself. The particular work I remembered that really resembled the embodied experiences the Journal discussed was ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi: Democratic Torture’.
This art work involved Parr sitting in the middle of a room in a gallery space with his face wrapped with wire and the performance was broadcast on the internet via camera. Viewers could go to the website the performance was broadcast and by clicking on hotspots on the footage you could send immediate shocks to Parr as he sat in the room.
This work starts playing with the concept how now viewers are no longer passive in viewing an artwork. Parr’s work includes the viewer in the work through this interactive feature on the site. Parr has utilised this feature in order to comment on how people feel they are passive in relation to the refugee issue.
But when assessing these types of performative “artworks” I begin to question whether this still classifies as art and whether making a statement in this way is someone just trying to have voice?
In my opinion it still classifies as art it can still affect you upon seeing it, it renders you with a feeling and whether you agree with the message or not that becomes subjective and that is what a lot of art does.