I’ve been doing some light-research into found art today, and discovered some fairly wide interpretations of just what found art is. The definition given at wikipedia holds that found art is:
art created from undisguised, but often modified, objects that are not normally considered art, often because they already have a non-art function.
[f]ound art derives its identity as art from the designation placed upon it by the artist.
These definitions are the ones that grabbed my attention. The other ones looked pretty simple and uninteresting to me, so I’m not going to discuss them here.
The example of what these definitions mean is given by wikipedia in the main (clearly at the top-right of the page) by Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’: a urinal that we could say has been designated a fountain.
The designation here though does not necessarily mean the same thing as a modification. Where a designation seems to refer to the dignity that an artist gives the object by calling it art; modification appears to have more to do with the dignity that the object is given by its context, or placement.
With reference then to Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’, I would say that its modification sits in the fact that it’s been raised from waist level to drinking level. I would then say that the designation refers to the fact that it’s been dignified with a submission by the artist to an art show.
However, there is a third distinction which leaves me flummoxed and thoroughly uncertain about what I have just said. Found art is “nearly always reinforced with a title”. Would you say that the title of Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ constitutes a modification, or does it constitute a designation? The urinal has been raised up and signed by R.Mutt – a modification; but the signature is also a designated title given by the artist.
Should I accept that my distinctions are wrong, or should I recognise that ‘reinforcement’ very simply means ‘a pulling and a holding together’? I would like to accept the latter. It simply means that I don’t have to confront any of the distinctions I’ve already made.
In the spirit of scientific method, I tried my own experiment and plugged these ideas of found art into a quote from Jacque Fresco in Zeitgeist: Moving Forward that stuck with me. No no; I think I plugged the quote into the ideas.
Jacque Fresco has said, “this shit’s got to go”. I thought, ok. That could make for a good meditation core. Like think about the shit in your world that’s got to go – one by one – and each time one comes up follow it with the statement…
‘this shit’s got to go’.
Then I thought about how I might make the core statement less confrontational and wondered what would happen if I plugged that quote into a Haiku. I realised then that it was very likely to become even more confrontational; particularly for anyone who might happen to be a traditional Haiku lover. So I went back to my mental drawing board and rediscovered Hanjin Song’s ‘The Fly’.
I think I’ll turn this paragraph into the next post. It seems bigger now than it was where I started it, and I found happy-feeling tears in the process :) Thank you. It’s been both re-inforcing and positively confrontational!