Having always struggled with coming up with a solid plan for a MEDA proposal and wanting to do something that really meant something to me, I started early on my research.
I looked back at all my previous artworks for this subject and found that there was never any cohesive line of thought or theme that I was inspired by. All of my art was seemingly random and didn’t reflect anything profound about my views or personality. Trying to figure out a medium to portray my work on as well has always been a struggle for me. It wasn’t until someone told me that even though it is a ‘Media Arts’ subject, a media can be absolutely anything and I shouldn’t feel the need to limit myself.
In high school my english teach provided us with the Roland Barthes essay The Death of the Author (1967). I’ve previously mentioned this in an earlier blog post, but I recently had another read of it in much more depth.
He talks about how critics prescribe meaning on a work based on the author and he uses the example of Van Gogh and his ‘madness’. The author is always seen as the ‘genius’ and they are the ones that ‘feed’ the story. They put themselves into it and exist as a precursor to the work. But the death of the author, according to Barthes, means that a work “exists in no other time than the utterance”. He states that “Once the author is gone deciphering a text becomes useless”. So instead the true locus of writing is reading, essentially it’s in the destination not the origin.
This entire concept really struck me because every time I’ve created a work in the past I have been asked questions like “find what you’re interested in” or “find your practice” and while I understand it works for some, it has never made anything easier for myself. By asking these question you are already prescribing meaning on my work before I’ve even begun. All of my previous works have been rather random and I believe they exist only in that space of time and rarely reflect any of my personality. So this frustration I’ve had with my own ‘practice’ and the concept of the death of the author is something I’d really like to work with.
I also took a look at a few artists. Manifesto (2015) from Julian Rosefeldt is one work I’ve been inspired by in other subjects. The cinematic style of it and the ‘storytelling’ through this mismatched manifestos has always been interesting to me. The monologue element as well I believe is very mesmerising.
Candice Brietz’s Love Story (2016) was introduced to me and I think it is really something to emulate in my work. Getting well known actors to recount the stories of these refugees from around the world and how an audience will relate with one story and not another, and how the reader themselves influences this.
There are also some other artists like Cindy Sherman and Cecile B Evans that have been recommended to me and that I will investigate in the next week or so.