(419-420) "Self as Content" 419

The vast amount of literature lacks pattern
And restrains the flow of ideas as they come and go.

There are many examples of performance art in which the "self" of the artist is the content of the work:

In some instances the content is the artists' own cognitive and perceptual processes, in others it is autobiographical incidents from their lives, in still others they present themselves on stage as themselves but sometimes in such a way that it is not clear what is actual and what is illusion.1


The collared pheasant does not prosper
But the tern is faithful and loyal.

This is the "narcissism" that I mentioned earlier which, as I stated before, is not only useful to the individual artist but helps the audience explore themselves through their subjective experience of the performance. However, artists have also been exploring other direct means to help others. The integration of Gebser's stages is moving beyond the reactionary explosion of time of the Dadaists. Note Suzi Gablik's comment about some of today's artists:

A great deal of modern art bears witness to humanity's estrangement, isolation, and disconnectedness from the world: It has been a mirror for what Jung has called"the general neurosis of our time," a sense of spiritual emptiness. Within this paradigm of alienation, it is difficult for individuals to feel responsible for conditions in the world over which, presumably, they have no control. The question is, can artists be a positive force in transforming that mentality? Does art have the potential to shape a new consciousness? Riane Eisler's model of partnership in The Chalice and the Blade expresses the sensibility we will need if we are to succeed to overcoming the paradigm of alienation, based on separateness, objectifying, and competition. The understanding that alienation subsides when we are aware of our connectedness with others and with nature has begun to emerge in our post modern culture; but the idea of pursuing a positive vision that brings the community together has no reality until we put it into practice.2

1 "Self as Content," American Alternative Theatre.

2 Gablik, Suzi. "Making art as if the world mattered: Some models of creative partnership," Utne Reader, July/August 1989.

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