Narrative: Engagement

Every now and then like other artists I question what I am doing, why I do it and why I do it the way I do.

Isn’t art passive? Passive consumption is the last thing any artist wants his or her work to elicit. At the least an artist expects the work to be stimulus for a reaction. The joy of creation and dissemination is that those reactions can be very varied in as much as the stimuli a piece generates.

How do you do avoid passive consumption? We are bombarded with a ton of images and messages. We become lethargic. In fact, companies more on product marketing than on development. There is no formula here only exceptions that succeed. Lethargy and fatigue sets in when you receive the same story of message over and over again. It either seeps in or it gets blacklisted in our minds.

Father-in-law’s Gaze, Chador: Unveiling Myths, 2016
A woman wears the Chador to remain hidden from the eyes of unrelated men. But for a married woman, the father-in-law and brothers-in law remain in the outer circle of gawking men. Without the constant protection of a father or brother, it is natural for her to become hyper-vigilant in the company of others.
All men are the same when she is veiled. They cannot resist the temptation of gazing at her, so she is responsible for escaping even her father-in-law’s gaze.
The aptly named “Mother-in-law’s tongue” is the hardy plant that inspires these vivid colors.

Art, on the hand, has to engage the audience in a conversation which leaves them different from what they were before the engagement. I treat my art practice, process, as art or narrative, I feel the need to engage with my audience through various stages of its creation. It is very easy, through technology today, for someone to immediately scour the web to research a piece of work. I want my audience to always have access to the narrative of the piece. It keeps the piece alive even after it has left my studio. 
This might be the case of every work I produce. Some are part of a collective where each has impacted the other. This is particularly true about my smaller works. Sketches and works on paper are often part of a stage or process where they stem out of the same narrative.

When someone engages with my work, I want to view and review the work in light of the text. I want them to return to it in a few days and reflect on how they have changed after the interaction.

Engage? I am trying something new. I am inviting people to get involved in the creation and proliferation of the narrative. They will participate in the development of text and the visual. They will be able to provide comments and inputs through the process. I hope that this interaction will generate a stronger narrative.

Something like crowd sourcing? Not exactly that open to the public. They are engaging with the narrative by providing possible directions it might take. They are not creating the narrative. This is not a hodge-podge. Those involved are expected to be involved in the process no matter how the output shapes.

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