these texts are an archive of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area from march 2007 - march 2015. it stands as a record of close to a decade of my life, charting the struggles i faced as an artist, daughter, and lover. messy and chaotic at times, eloquent and poetic at others, these texts are an index i am proud of. it was here in this electric box that i learned how to be honest about my experiences and the person i needed to become. it was here that i first learned the truism that words make the world and how to trust such a beautiful, rife, hard fact.

thank you for meeting me here in such tall grass.

my artist website is here.

May 14, 2010

part one- attempting to weave and unravel art history, religion, art theory, contemporary society, and A Clockwork Orange...

one thing i've been thinking about a lot lately in terms of art (in general) and my practice as i continue to wrestle with contemporary theory, is the assertion that original thought is impossible (The Death of the Author) which i don't (at this point) disagree with at all. in fact, i'm very comfortable (and comforted by) the lineage of artistic enterprise. there's a lot to learn and build upon and struggle with/against/for.

but the idea of "genius" is not one of them. at least not for me and what i'd like my work to accomplish.

the problem i have with this notion of the impossibility of original thought or "newness" in art or thinking, is that the idea itself claims to be new. and it isn't. "There is nothing new under the sun" is a biblical quote and contemporary art theory unveils the religious lineage of art by making this assertion. which is only strange due to the fact that most intellectuals (and that includes a great deal of theorists, artists, writers, psychologists, philosophers, etc) will tell you God is dead. more specifically, the judeo-christian God is dead and that morality is a governmental device intended to control human behavior and impulse. basically, it is brainwashing mechanism, government stamped and approved (as religion is, historically, government), to eliminate free-will.

power-structures of greed and dominion are at the root of this and also the common man's struggle for personal liberty. freedom, in this context, is what contemporary art signifies no matter what a person's subject happens to be. artists are no longer in the service of the church, painting murals for popes and members of the nobility. or are they? could contemporary theory be descibed as a Pope? has the pope's hat merely become invisible? and is currently being shuffled around, worn by different heads? would not a rose by any other name still smell as sweetly? (thanks, bard!) especially when that sweet smell emanates from wealth and the power wealth affords (the umbilical cord of gold: the avant-guard does not actually exist)? today, based on Guy Debord's work The Society of The Spectacle, the invisible Pope Hat would be dominant culture itself. the masses who have accepted Images as reality. status symbols. surrogates for the truth rather than the truth itself. if i look rich, people believe i am rich. if i am perceived as successful, i am successful. if i am titled "good", i am good.

which takes us in to A Clockwork Orange, a subject i'll be returning to a lot as i think it is a very important work that i, individually within my practice and thinking, need to wrestle with.

this idea of goodness... what it is and how to create it.

aversion therapy as a means of controlling behavior, of presenting a painful consequence for desire. any desire that is deemed problematic.

violence is definitely problematic as humans are social creatures that must find a way to work together in order to simply not extinguish ourselves. compromise is a necessity. but i find it very interesting that the violent actions of the narrator of the film is juxtaposed with signifiers of youth and innocence: drinking milk and rhyming speech. Alex DeLarge refers to his meal as eggie-wegs and steaky-wakes. a very sing-song slang that, at first glance, heightens the creep factor of the story for sure, but the more i think about it i begin to wonder... is Burgess and Kubrick saying that acts of violence are childish behaviors? a signifier of being spoiled rotten? because violence itself is a form of greed, a take-what-you-can-grab (as evidenced by rape and theft in the story) and but-i-want-it-and-i-deserve-it toddler-esque mentality. yes- i am saying violent people are over-grown, ill-behaved children. but the critique this film performs is to say that contemporary western society itself is pretty much a stunted adolescent, enamoured with sex and power. any method of displaying power or acquiring sex is a-okay: violence: the taking of something by brute force. and this is juxtaposed also in the film by the fact that Alex is shown as being more than capable of receiving sex from a willing participant. he picks up, not one but two, girls and has a threesome- the scene itself, sped up to a blur of hundreds of images too fast to keep up with, is actually quite funny and playful. this highlights common psychological knowledge about rape as actually not being motivated by a sexual impulse whatsoever, but is rather a desire for power. dominion. a person to person mirroring of The State. a microcosm. very much an act of imperialism when it comes right down to it. "might makes right" and all that. again, the take-what-you-can-grab philosophy hard at work.

in this way, Alex is an "every man". a poster child. common. the unavoidable end of living within a society that champions power and aggression. it's like Reagan-omics but with violence instead of money. shit rolls down hill. if your leaders are corrupt, and the masses are so dazzled by Images of status and wealth as to be blind to that fact, the masses in turn will seek for themselves the same level of power and corruption. if you are raised by a burglar, chances are you know how to pick a lock. you've seen it done too many times not to have the steps memorized. and that is called indoctrination. nurture. Alex's droogs even try to attain (take) the level of power he enjoys in the group. an uprising. and Alex puts the kibosh to that with fast violence. pretty much the same thing (again) that the state does to those who challenge its power.

more later. i must jog.


Maggie May said...

Angela- I have a quessssstiiiion!
I'm accepting sponsors and in order to get things off to a good start am putting up some free ads for people I know. Would you like a free banner up for your artwork on my sidebar?

angela simione said...

maggie!!!!! good for you! that's wonderful! and yes i would LOVE one!!!! thank you so much! <3

Elisabeth said...

Quite a tough post, this one Angela, dense and full of ideas.

I saw Clock Work Orange many many yeas ago and I remember little of it, though I found it disturbing.

You'd think I'd have more to say about violence given my thesis on the desire for revenge but as I stress time and again the desire for revenge is not the same as its enactment.

For me violence derives from infantile pressures that have not been dealt with satisfactorily during the process of growing up.

These impulses can erupt in all of us at any time given sufficient stress, pressure you name it, but most of us keep the impulse well in check.

We find ways of putting our rage into words or some into sublimation-type actions like kicking a football, painting a picture or writing a poem.

Unfortunately those who do not get help, who react in knee-jerk ways with their fists, knives or guns are those still operating as infants but with adult bodies and you're right it's dangerous and destructive. It's mostly about getting power and trying to overcome powerlessness. In the end t doesn't work, but awful things can happen along the way.

Thanks, Angela.

Radish King said...

Choice and spiritual freedom. I always found it interesting that the last chapter of Burgess's A Clockwork Orange was cut from the American version of the book and also from Kubrick’s film. That chapter showed Alex outgrowing his violent ways. He decided he wanted a family a wife and child a fully realized and good life. I think the omission of that chapter says as much about American art as does the novel.

angela simione said...

elisabeth, yes! thank you for your insight!!!! i'm planning on watching it again this week so that i can write part 2 and keep investigating this big swirl of ideas. i'm actually glad now that i waited so long to watch it. had i seen it when i was 16 or 17 i doubt i would've been able to catch its significance. it is a brilliant story. hard, but brilliant.

angela simione said...

rebecca- it's so strange that the final chapter was left out! i just read an article about that! the nullification of redemption... or simply the glamorization of violence in our country, i don't know. but i'm going to read the book as soon as i can. i have to wait til payday to get it and that's still a few weeks off. but for now, the movie is more than enough for me to chew on. choice, free-will, nature, nurture, ect... huge issues. and issues that are hugely important to out times as well as to ART across the board.