I've recently been doing a lot of thinking about the role of an artist in his or her respective art-consuming society and the ways in which this role has changed over time. At some point during the past century, the practice of writing program notes has been shifted away from artistic programmers and curators, and now seems to be entirely the responsibility of the creator of the work of art in question. This can be incredibly beneficial if the artist has something significant to relay to the audience about the work, but it also raises a number of concerns. For one, it comes dangerously close to hearkening back to the 19th century model of viewing the artist as a demigod whose interpretation must be read as the one and only true version. It also necessitates a system in which the artistic vision, inspiration and total life experience of the author of the program note is exactly identical to that of the artist who created the work (because it is the same person!), thereby applying a sort of double-filter that can have unintended consequences on the otherwise open minds of the observers of the work. Additionally (and perhaps most importantly), it runs the risk of binding the creation of a work of art and the production of its accompanying program note into a single project in the mind of its creator, allowing one to exert a certain amount of influence upon the other.
But even on a more basic level, what is an artist to do if he or she feels that everything that needs to be said about a given work is already contained within the work itself? There is, after all, a reason that artists have gravitated toward the respective mediums within which they express themselves. In response to this question, I remind the observers of this piece that this was a project for a class focused on multimedia, and a multimedia work is in some sense less in need of a program note than a work that is confined to a single, limited medium. Additionally, I disagree with the notion that an artist always has some sort of obligation to "explain" his or her work to others. It is, therefore, with newfound confidence that I am pleased to announce that I have nothing to say about this piece at this time.
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