To begin a work of art, one must assume they have something to say to others, or at least, to have a desire to articulate an idea to the self in a way that is externalized. The desire then, to minimally realize a work for oneself points to a split within the maker, which echoes the relationship to viewer/ listener. While part of the self is as the viewer/ listener, there is a part that is motivated to make, to create. This maker part wishes to place into the world some creation that it feels is missing, or is not there, but should be present. While all such creations, to be realized, must at least propose the use of the material and physics of the world, the maker part does not typically engage those aspects of the world as participants in an equal way. The ego as i would call this maker part, puts itself above the matters by which the work would enter the world. In first contemplation, this would seem a needed condition, that the ego ignores the individuality of materials and world physics, so that there is a single ruler or controller. While this may be a sound and practical precondition for making, without disturbance or compromise, and perhaps, seem necessary, it also dismisses and ignores many possibilities that would occur if the creative art maker were to think of the materials as entities, equal in motivations to the ego's own rule. While it may seem that materials and physical laws lack a compositional focus like a human organizer, we often perceive juxtapositions and contrasts that the world generates itself, that could be understood in the same way as the converging aspects of a piece of art. When such events occur, we might wonder at the possibility of such events happening in the gallery or concert space, and further wonder, is it possible a human instigator might facilitate a meeting of material, conditions, and world physic that could generate some work, more directly related to the natures of the things which as artists, filled with ego, we mimic?
The first important act in moving toward an art that recognizes its materials as entities and as equals, is to reconsider and modify the role of artist's ego in the compositional process. To force our materials to bend to our will as artist ignores the desire and need of materials to fulfill their own best interests, and destinies. Though it may seem odd to suggest materials have their own purposes, it is only because of a bias that makes it seem so. To place criteria such as, living, intelligent, and so forth is extremely limiting to how we may guide how they manifest in art. If we consider materials as entities, all materials, we put them in a wider group than just saying "instruments," or "art materials" in a conventional sense, and immediately expand our pallet of material almost indefinitely. And, if we consider circumstances of their presence also as an "entity" without body, and also the physics that governs the world as "entity" without body, we also immediately create a collaborative situation, as we then have matter, the environment they are in, and the ways they behave in equal standing with the artist, who by recognizing them as being, can participate with them in a communal relationship. The artist's ego becomes part of a group, in which individuals have their own needs, desires, and abilities, all having their own variety of ego. But, a material based ego has more to do with directly responding to a first nature, and what it can best do. This direct form of ego, when exercised in a communal relation with other materials, circumstances and physics, becomes a single motivation of parts. The artist's ego then, in recognizing all things as being, becomes a natural part of the collective, becoming less about self, and more about what can be contributed, and what constitutes its own best strength. When this happens, ego is no longer a word to use. Something else has taken place; a shared authorship.
Let me present an example to show what i mean, about this shared authorship. Let us say, it is cold day outside, and there is snow everywhere. We as the artist in our best role, perhaps as an organizer, recognize first the snow as entity. It has its behavior, and is a form with certain tendencies. It is a certain way, where it is, in its environment. Let us say, a performing space or gallery with be used to present a performance. The performing space is warm. Let us say, this is a circumstance of the entity, the space. Now, let the artist introduce the snow to the space. Outside of its environment of origin, the snow will wish to behave a certain way; in the warm performing space, the snow will melt, and change to water. The entity the performing space, and its temperature, will perform with the snow, as the snow is activated to collaborate - naturally melting. Let us say that there is a breeze outside. The artist may recognize this entity, and invite it also into the performing space by opening the door, and allowing the wind to enter. Perhaps, snow placed near this open door will feel this wind, perhaps it is cold, and the snow near the door will melt less quickly than snow near say a heat source in another part of the performing space, where snow has also been placed. We have a composition arrangement here; two snows, interacting with wind blown cold, and a heat source - as two sections things, in contrast placed by the artist, made by nature and by environmental circumstance. Let us add one more element. I suggest, a few sheets of paper. The paper is blown about the space, coming to rest, some continuing to move as pushed by the wind, and dependent on the power of this wind for its dramatic gestures. As snow melts near warm areas, a sheet of paper is caught in a puddle of water that forms. The wind blown travel of the paper comes to an abrupt stop in the water. This happens with another piece of paper. So, with material and forces, equally introduced to perform, as they are inclined, the artist facilitates a collective performance, of equal authorship.
Many things may be brought together in this way, some more active, some less, higher, lower contrast, many things that will react and compose in ways that avoid the confinements of ego based formulations of a single contributor. This of course will also require altering expectation and perceptions of audiences for the event to be viewed as composition at all. An audience will likely expect an egotistical expression of an artist, who would typically force the choices to perform in ways uncomfortable for them. (for the materials, the circumstance, etc...) So, to perceive such an event as a collaborative creation, an audience must also make the leap, and suspend the receiving ego, and be a part of the group - which sees, which participates, through perceiving in an unbiased, unprejudiced way, the physical reality of what takes place, and allow it to be perceived directly as a natural composition without imbalanced focused on a single human part. Moreover, all participating entities are functioning as the "artist" in such a work, and truly, their can be no judgment of the quality, as all are doing perfectly as their natures dictate. In this, each drawing together is a perfect composition. Everything that is necessary is activated, their is nothing not utilized, only what is performed, as natural conjunctions .
It is rich for me to imagine that we may come to think of our world in a collaborative way, and that even a single artist may suspend the overriding feeling that selfhood brings, with the reward of pride, sometimes respect, and aggrandizement of a singular authorship. But i think, the world has always been open to collaborative adventures. The course of human art at least has demanded we exalt the human character, and work to add to achievement of the human legacy. But it is certainly true, that we do not exist alone. There are other things, other objects and matter, and orders of matter. There are other forces, and other circumstances other than human ones, so inclined to be obsessed with a pioneering tendency, to battle against the elements, to fight other forces, to defeat - nature. Humans have a variety of ego unique to them. The equivalent in other matter does not exist, but its place is held by the direct purpose and motivation instilled by collaborative interdependence, the way things are, how they change, and convergence of things around that i am so glad to be a part of.
MA. Lewis Gesner Mobius Centre - Boston /USA/