Call for 2021 residency and internship applications is open
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The call for 2021 residency and intern applications is now closed
The call for 2022 applications will open on Nov 1, 2021 with a deadline of March 1, 2022
Some say we are assigned the life we live: fundamentally deterministic; others say our lives are prevented from unraveling because we have the will to choose, linked to cause: guided by reason during periods of difficult reflection and uncertain direction. But when apodictic results elude us, our values become the arbiter of validity we feel is reliable scaffolding, as we build with the invisible bricks of emotions, for moral decisions and priorities in relationships between individuals, groups, cultures—the world, and it is the driver of what we feel is obligatory behavior: kindness, proof of trust, and the gain of respect and loyalty are positive examples. Equally, values animate less constructive features of profoundly impaired and constricted elements of brittle and unrepentant retribution thought as necessary to cleanse life of social or cultural contaminants.
Thus, equipped with a faith in the functionality of improvisational illusions, we are being confronted by a global climatic system in the process of change we struggle to fully understand, articulate our response to, and control with pragmatic effectiveness in order to avert apocalyptic suffering worldwide, but the realities of folly and tragedy plot misconceptions into every scientific fact and technological advance, leaving unresolved how the asymmetrical balance of political power, the clash of irreconcilable expectations, entrenched entitlements to resources, and the contagious consensus of dogma, whether it derives from religious, social, economic, or intellectual impulses, might be reduced or resolved. That this is true or that is false, it’s our beliefs that motivate us.
The tintinnabulated warnings of climate research try to serve as foreplay to action, but remain too abstract to wake and arouse our desire for change. An alternative outside the rational model, somewhere between atoms and galaxies, as an application of intelligence with a chance to restructure the direction of humanity and bequeath us insight and perspective are the arts: like a lit match, though its light seems dim and distant, the arts can set ablaze every shadowed corner of our culture’s living tissue as reliable reconnaissance to expose unpredictable consequences from the actions of our sentiments. Truth is not a single calculation derived from accumulated data points, but comes in a thousand forms of representation and cannot be grasped easily without fictional mediation in making our efforts come to match with observable sustainable regularity our reasons for doing: fables, parables, myths, allegories, and eccentric fantasies—life epically dramatized in vernacular idioms. It’s the truth embedded in these narratives that we crave and understand, aiding us in feeling and thinking deeper for longer periods about caring and meaning in our collective lives.
If climate change becomes The Big Unstoppable spreading its brimming flush over us with mesmerizing vastness, then we can do no more than fall silent in awe of it as we are of the starry night sky above: too immense—too enigmatic for us to comprehend, but looking up into that dark dome, as we try to thrive amid the neoPermian dilemma and ruins of our own doing, it is worth remembering that the arc of life is filled with marvelous and wondrously imaginative vitality to continue on in slight, slow, steady strides with no assurance we will be among the resurrected.
We hear, we read, we think, we say that change is happening: be it shifts in political direction, structural forms of inequality, relentless surveillance, or the course of our own peripatetic identities. Occasionally an additional jolt of insight, that toilet plunger for the mind and spirit, brings to the present a panoramic view of the world's generous stock of capricious contradictions and unresolved brutalities. What hope is there of calibrating the extent of this upheaval: the daily lurching of emotional tensions, and understanding the complex behaviors of others and their environments of influence?
We are living in a world soaked with ambiguity and uncertainty—a world of unlimited shades, packed with fractured fragments appearing in multiple and irregular registers as we are surrounded by circumstantial complexity as never before, fulcrumed on flexible facts that we feel legitimate when arising from our lived experience to create novel narratives in attempts to connect with which few of the many possibilities that might operate flawlessly under diverse assumptions appropriate to these conditions, or we discover the inevitability of misinterpretation and our infallible expectations becoming utopian windmills. Nevertheless, with claims to the greater offense we rise in quixotic righteous furor, ignoring the indwelling voice of drug dealer wisdom to never get high on your own supply, as reactionary wrecking crews pulling down roofs we regard, in reflexive, unnuanced ways as rotted to expose the corruption amid the ruins.
Revolting, rebelling, and protesting are often needed to break down barriers to justice, but when the revolution is won the victors become the establishment, inheriting the hierarchy they thought corrupt and for all others to gain admission to this brave new order and its orientation package of insider handshakes and disabled humor comes obligatory obedience training, measured by obscure prohibitions of zero tolerance and new rules of moral renovation clogged with slogans. From governments to bedrooms, those identified as having misstepped are damned by contempt, which is often in brief, blunt, and loud terms with banishment and retroactive retribution as punishment. To temper or reduce the authoritarian tone of these public tendencies by rational and formal abstractions, as applied by law, disregards the emotional passions remaining undisturbed in private.
It's the challenge of each new generation of artists and writers to communicate a social contract with expressions and visions that engages their freshly informed prowess and summons their impartial angels for the task of untangling their received world into original and meaningful philosophical, political, and cultural contexts of personal and social integrity. Knowing that all dialogues in conflict ask identical questions about life and its significance means they have the will and awareness to strive for what they believe is best, for what they perceive as better, and for what good they will do to make their endeavors exceptionally apt and exceedingly right for all humans to help separate ourselves from privately held beliefs to engaging with conversations of social variety and fluidity that challenges our certainties and deeper vulnerabilities, for it is at the boundaries of languages that discovery and new knowledge happens.
Conflict will remain with us until we as a species enter the fossil record and with hindsight, contrition, and regret not being conditions soon to enter terminal decline, as there is evidence to suspect that humans are gone awry at the atomic scale with no risk of compromise as long as we remain ghosts to ourselves. It's possible we can know ourselves—just for curiosity's sake, it might be worth trying.
It is to the disquiet of today's emerging artists, confronted by art's variety of denominational terrains, in searching for their strategic call to contemplation and expression: do they choose abstract cognition versus subjective experience; form a relationship to process or objects produced, or simply apply their principles to the business of art. Where might artists look or listen to assuage their anxieties, laying them into the everlasting calm. Should they elect to grope their way through the business of art world, it may require some major aesthetic gym time to train for competing in this 3-part sequential endurance career event, as in the order below.
Academia is the institutional structure, through which aesthetic styles tend to pass, with its mission of mentoring visionaries within mainstream orthodoxy and inculcating in them skills of spontaneous self-invention under scholarship's shroud of accumulated, athletically linguistic narrative, with curriculum corrections inserted as needed to assure students that they backed the best horse in the gallop to the galleries.
Commercial galleries are the perfected aesthetic arm of the capitalist state, their existence bankrolled by patrons to benefit the higher levels of investment interests, while they provide the hierarchical value of art in gold plated perspectives through the electrolytic bath of publicity polished with a propagandist's optimism, phrased to burnish brands.
Critics complete the triad of commercial grasp, with their glittering credentials of collected wisdom and aesthetic authenticity, authoring firewalls of exalted standards to preserve a sparse firmament of stars, as well as being the Disembodied Hand scribbling the necessary documents for posterity's investment concentration.
What is the herd bewildered to do, those who ran the race, but fail to be embraced by this trinity at the finish line? Perhaps it's the idiomaticalness of their aesthetic witness perceived as containing overabundant zesty zeal or crimped and stunted in their provincialism: their membership bestrewn with flinty eccentrics and their existence seemingly too bereft of aesthetic bequest to be ribboned winners. As their night draws nigh and shadows lengthen, they wonder if ever they'll be seen—consider that it depends on who holds the light and upon whom its narrow beam is aimed, not the race.
In a world that fetishistically venerates the allure of money, for those artists in Icarian fall from the cutting-edge of this economic contingency it often means landing in the zone of artistic extinction, but there does exist a wider universe of creative flourishing and the intrinsic glow it gives life: in it you find that the exhilaration of discovery, the empowerment of independent thinking, the immersion into concentrated effort, and the denial of self are characteristics which stir into our souls greater humanity each time we encounter and recognize these in others and ourselves: it's possible this might be when you're the sharpest you'll ever be...only a few more>>
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If your flame of concentration is snuffed out by the dense screed of syntactic complexity above, you may wish to click on the individual numbers overhead or move higher to the menu items where verbal de-escalation and other thrills of aesthetic sensation abound.
It's said that 83% of the universe is elusive and can only be inferred as existing. This proposition might be compelling speculation in understanding the invisible mass of an artist's creative process: their intuitive instinctual self, the abiding voice of their variegated inner nature and the vulnerable distance of their forbear concealed by the standard exposure on gallery walls—the nexus novelty of private direction against public disclosure: the sacred and intimate traded in the spectrum of negotiated exchange for the irregular voyeurism of public mass trespass and the economy of trophy assets.
The porosity of process forming into art is also the formation of intimacy with the artist: the incoherent spasms of their mind in motion, their indistinct self in perpetual internal drama, their rambling choices dancing like tumblers on cracked glass over a chasm, unconscious of the cracks while searching for matches to light the fire that illuminates the inner sky as the way to find faraway. It's a feral aspect of the philosophical reduced to the visceral where the axes of identity kiss with head-on collision in free-ranging experience hoping to form a bond with ecstasy's idioms. Sometimes it hits gold, but mostly it's lead and as some claim, in the quiet afterward, this was their beginning, others claim they still live with mysteries.
Contemporary life has cleared the table of the need for edictal intervention decreed from Perfection Above in charting an autonomous course, but this moment of freedom is an unsustainable grace, as the intrinsic elements of life's crumbs remain, indisputably on the verge of chaos from daily fissures of contingent and reversible relationships with the world and others. Capitalism's placebos of constant consuming offer tinctures of fame and tithes of fortune, but its insistent compulsions compresses the emotions of experience to the awareness level of a performing dog, leaving a feeling close to the impossibility of going on.
The process of the creative urge is not a placeholder for existing and is as inexplicable as love, forever a surprise reforming anew—the endless sparkle of going forth...still more>>
Call for 2021 Intern applications is open until March 15