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  • Jamie McCarthy

Serving the Artistic ‘Visions’ of Others.

31st July 2015

I’ve been thinking lately about how the idea of serving someone else’s vision in the arts has a lot in common with some forms of institutionalised religion. The very use of the word ‘vision’ is quasi-religious. When someone has an artistic vision, very often others end up having to put themselves out to serve it. The vision must never be compromised, but along the way, human beings may well be.

There is a sacred aura around the idea of artistic vision and just as religious ‘vision’ can be used to quell disagreement or opposition, artistic vision is often used in a similar way. People say things like: “Well, it’s what the piece needs” as an excuse for all sorts of shit to happen, all sorts of stuff people have to put up with when serving the vision. The utterance of such a phrase is designed to silence dissent – a vision is supernatural and therefore not open to debate. What both the religious and artistic visionary does not admit to, is that what they’re talking about is THEIR interpretation of what the piece needs, but somehow, we are supposed to believe that, as holder of the vision, this person is (as the pope is deemed to be) infallible: the artistic visionary as representative of the gods.

Inherent in this art /religious view is an assumption that there is a correct version of the vision, that somehow the vision is a gift of the art-god and is complete as it arrives into the visionary. The product of the visionary’s transmission is immutable and must be reproduced by those who serve the visionary and their gods.

Personally I don’t buy it: for me everything is interim, everything is mutable, everything, even the most mysterious and ultimately unknowable in art is part of the process of this human existence and relationship I find myself in. Being simply a HUMAN / ANIMAL maker of human art I am open to the being of the others I create with – I do not have a supernatural vision that must be served at all costs.

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