I am not. You can only see me from the surface, but I am in the depth. If you follow me down you will go nowhere. I am inside the mask, and I will never take it off. I am in the mirror, made vulnerable in the reflection, suggested in the cracks. You are always very close to having me, but in the end I slide out of your grasp. I claim no substance and this is my power.
You fear me. You call me names that mean not-yourself. And I am not your self. Everything that you are working towards, I will undo. You invent me even as you vanquish me. Where you are strong, I am weak. I can bend. I will submit. It is only where you cannot see that I am powerful. You close your eyes and I am there, behind you, the shadow of every move you make. My power is in the suggestion.
I deny authenticity. I dance on its grave, and so I cannot acknowledge its comings or goings. Objects can be as they seem or they can be deceptive. That does not concern me. I am only in the play of appearance. After all, truth is only peripherally related to art, and facts are only peripherally related to truth.
I have no ability to grasp an objective reality, and I do not acknowledge the ability in you. We move in the space that is made by convenience, and I wish to disrupt the conveniences that we have made. My very existence is threatening the assumptions that we must use in order to communicate with one another.
When you do not fear me, you desire me. I am the promise of sex, but I am never in the act. I am so compelling that I must be veiled. You can see my eyes through the lace; you can smell my sex when you are close. But you are never close enough to touch. I will always keep you in wait. When you have taken my clothes off, I am not naked. There is still something you are searching for and have not found.
We celebrate artists after they die because then we can canonize them. Their meanings become up for debate because we can no longer ask them. We are no longer confronted with flesh and bone to destroy our illusions. They become an archetype; we can interact only with the artifacts that they have left behind. Thus, I am merely responding to you as if I were dead. You cannot ask me about meaning. Indeed, the act of creation murders its maker.
Therefore, let me address this creature the Artist. Many attempts have been made to knock him** from his pedestal. I am not interested in such a task. He must be the reason we stare in panic at blank pages of manuscript paper. He sometimes makes one think that his art is about him: his pathos, his desires, the notes and images that come out of his head. The process is so mysterious that we cannot fully know it. (How romantic! I am in love already!) Endless people have written about his relationship to his art, as if his perspective is more important that those of mere mortals. Why should this be?
One explanation is the mistaken impression that the creator’s relationship to his or her art is somehow more salient than any other observers. Let me offer a different perspective. Art is much like sound. There must be an observer in order for it to be present. If a tree falls in an empty forest then there is not sound, only variations in air pressure. Accordingly, I posit that it is the audience not the artist which is a necessary factor for art. Every piece of art must have a witness, even if the only witness is the artist.
Perhaps there is no artist, can there be art? If there is an audience perceiving an art object as art, then why isn’t this art? We make up our own meanings. Nothing has meaning without us because we invented it and it only exists because we construct it. Even if one sound is not related to any other sound, don’t we hear them as if they are? The way the we hear them is idiosyncratic according to our backgrounds and past experience, and even our physical differences and proximity. The act of perceiving art, listening to music is, in fact, creative.
The question is more important than the answer. The answer is thing that becomes known, and in doing so becomes used and consequently, disgusting. And there are tedious questions as well. For instance, what is the purpose of this manifesto? It is always so tiresome when I am asked the purpose of things. If the answer is not self-evident then it is more compelling if it stays in the dark. We live in an absurd world. Embrace it, misunderstand it, deny it screaming, make of it what you will.