Art: Dream Theory
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Thesis, for the inattentive: Dreams are the only form of pure art.
Seamus Heaney, lauded Irish poet and translator, said famously once, “The completely solitary self: that’s where poetry comes from…” This thought is quite interesting coming from a translator, someone whose work necessitates an interaction of poetic intensity with lost, covered voices.
In the same vein, I disagree with Mr. Heaney. Certainly, much of Art’s merit––if not all––is imbued by humanity’s creative motion against tides of existential restlessness. And Heaney is right about the “solitary self,” as the ultimate source of artistic creation.
Unfortunately, the “solitary self” does not exist. ‘Self,’ as many theorists will pleasantly attest, is too frayed, too broken, too schismatic to be considered a sole well of creative output. ‘Self,’ delayed and destroyed by various technologies––from language to the Internet––, can not be considered culpable for anything, realistically.
Art, ideally an output of momentary inspiration propelled towards the ‘real’ world, is absolutely dissolved in the translation from the artist’s mind to substantive reality. See, all perception is an act of translation; the artist translates his ‘vision,’ reifying it; the reader/viewer translates the artist’s work, sifting it through the odds & ends of the affected, socialized mind.
Just like when you’re trying to tell your girlfriend you love her and instead you let slip, “I love you, despite your scale-ruining fat glands.” No, it came out wrong. I didn’t mean that.
In perceiving, the original weight of Art is immediately disappeared.
In many ways, that’s okay. Some of the most interesting facets of art rely on the debate between reader/viewer inference and authorial/artistic intent. However, much of the greatest mystery and confusion of Art also lies in this twice-removing translation.
Pure Art, I believe––and don’t cut me short, there’s honest theory behind this–-must be conceived unknowingly and not perceived in any capacity. The artist must not be able to interpret his idea beyond its original impulse, and a viewer cannot be allowed to see it, lest some disunity between impulse and perception occur.
Dali’s A Dream: Not Art
At first thought, it seems impossible to have Art that is neither created, nor technically perceived. I’ve spent many hours of waking day reflecting on the issue. But my error was the state and not nature of my reflection–I was awake.
One recent night, I had a particularly intense dream; I awoke sweating, but could not recall the dream itself. However, because I experienced an emotional state as result of the forgotten dream, I realized three important things: (1) I had been affected by an event of the creative process (2) I neither consciously created the dream which involved me, nor (being unable to remember it) altered its meaning in hindsight & (3) no one but me, the accidental creator, witnessed the experience.
Because the act of creation and perception were synonymous, and no being other than the creator/perceiver was exposed to the scene, the ‘Art’ remains pure. I do not remember the art, and you certainly don’t remember it. Yet somewhere, as a temporal moment transpired, the Art exists. Lost, yet unified. Forgotten, yet pure.
Dreams, I feel certain, are the only artistic entity which can be considered untranslated, pure. But pure art is fucking boring, beyond a discussion of its legitimacy. No one wants be aware of Art they can’t perceive. Though dream exhibits would be sweet!