Coe (1992, p. 219) defines art as:
“Color and/or form used by humans in order to modify an object, body, or message solely to attract attention to that object, body, or message. The proximate or immediate effect of art is to make objects more noticeable.”
My interest is not in making the body more noticeable as is the case with adornment and decoration, as this type of body art is strongly linked to the goal of attracting a suitable mate, and nor would I say that my practice is the art of movement. For one thing, the term “movement” is very vague and yet seemingly all-encompassing due to the fact that “doing” is an act, and all acts imply movement of some form, but when we examine the practices of those who align themselves with such a label what we see is a much more limited set of ideas and products, but more importantly the art of movement implies an emphasis on movement and aesthetics, drawing attention to the movements themselves, and in turn the body.
My goal is not to get caught up in worshipping a particular physique or type of movement, but to draw attention to the wonderful variety of human capacities that stem from having large brains and being bipedal with opposable thumbs. This incorporates a lot of physical activities, skills and qualities, but above all, the capacity to acquire them through continuing challenge, practise and discipline.
I think that self-change, an expansion of experience and capacity to appreciate and also empathise are at the heart of what I am aiming for. A humanistic art that celebrates and consciously seeks to benefit from our innate abilities and characteristics, and that inspires a broader perspective of what life is and can be.
So while a body is necessary for being human, it should be seen as a facilitator of experience rather than simply a means by which to render one’s self more desirable. My art is human-centric, not body, or even mind-centric.
Nevertheless, we can’t escape the fact that as humans we love to watch each other, especially when we perform, so while we can exercise our humanity in the enjoyment of watching or being seen, we should just accept this as an inevitable phenomena and not confuse it with our person aims.
Sheep are thought of as being dumb animals who follow the herd without thinking, but humans are very much the same as we too are highly influenced by social proof. I was watching one of our kittens play with a ball of paper and saw how this interested the other, which got me thinking that all activity, but physical activity in particular functions as a stimulus to outsiders, and perhaps even works across species. Have you ever seen a child only begin to take an interest in a particular toy once another is playing with it? From our definition in the introduction this would be akin to the art of doing or the art of interacting, making objects seem more interesting by taking an interest in them. I have already experienced something similar when out photographing various things. When encountering other people with or without cameras they take my regard as a sign of something interesting, something to be interested in.
I now think that the best way of getting people to take an interest in activities and ideas, especially new ones, is to publicise your own involvement and interest in them. I imagine that this works better for ideas that can be presented visually through photos and videos that portray a person actively engaging, rather than mere images of something which is supposed to be of interest, or videos shot from first person perspective. This also implies that writing may be a relatively poor method of generating interest, as writing is always read inside the head of the reader, instead of experienced through the mouth of the speaker.
I suspect that the advent of the online video has been responsible for relatively more copycat acts than the democratisation of the printed word ever did. Could it be that videos and certain photos are in fact motivational superstimuli?