Only in being useless, does it have infinite value.

#461 afterwords

I deplore the use of false comparisons to scold or draw attention to this or that problem, versus another, perceived to be of lesser importance. These all presume some zero-sum equivalence, where there are insufficient resources, material, economic or social, to attack both, when, if this is so, it is only because this presumes a status quo of capitalist, political conditions, where the the application of resources to ANY given problem, will result in withholding resources from another–maintaining an equilibrium of injustice.
All these–“why are you asking to give to x, and not y?” in that larger context, are false equivalences, and if that logic applied to anything, it would be, ‘why are you asking to devote resources to x, when the only thing that’s going to matter in not so distant future, is climate change?”
The real question for any problem, is how do we apply our resources in such a way that it will address the root causes for all these problems–overcoming and replacing the entire capitalist political/ecomomic/social/military/colonialist system? How do we CHANGE the role played by each and any of the specific problems, in that system?.
Understanding the importance of the arts and its products–other than in terms of use-value, and propaganda, is particularly vulnerable. It is precisely in their HAVING no use value, that they confirm meaning our lives in our otherwise doomed and absurd world.

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#1025 Stonewall at 50

30″ x 48″ (77x122cm) Acrylic on canvas. For the Stonewall 50th anniversary Invitational
in June. Marsha P. Johnson, Jackie Hormona, Zasou Nova, Marty Robinson, Morty Manford, Robin Souza and Silvia Rivera: names engraved in this painting, some visible, some not, but all–and all who joined the uprising,  present in love and gratitude for their courage and rage.

#1025 Stonewall50.JPG
View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

Nothing lasts but change

944

For generations, artists in the Euro-American traditions, like ancient Greek heroes, accepted the idea of posterity–the hope for an enduring place in history and myth, that they, and their work, might defy mutability–hope for a kind secular immortality; artists and poets might die, but art and poetry was forever.   On the brink of collective human suicide–and even if we should survive our human-made catastrophes, it will be but for a blink of the universal eye–who can believe in such a thing, now?

I’ve been thinking about this for some time. My work will never achieve an enduring status, and even if it did–what posterity…?  when, in a few generations, there will no humans left on the planet? And in the immensity of time, before the sun consumes the inner planets as a red giant, who can maintain the illusion of a lasting memory, of a lasting anything? What then, can take the place of that old fantasy–dead as the gods who belonged to that vanished world? What, but change itself? Like Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Seed. Rather than imagining, how works of art might endure, think of them in terms of what they do, as themselves, agents of change–which they are. As works of art and poetry have always been… done?

Lubricants to slide us another step into a future we can only know when we get there. The only past worth saving, is what will remain as we break the chains that bind us to it, the past that will survive, because it changes with us in a future we create together.

 

What makes art revolutionary?

What makes art, revolutionary?

I’m fine with political art. We need it. But that’s still basing its value on use–on the use that is made of it, and not for itself, which is how this fucked up culture judges everything and deprives everything, human lives not the least, of any value but how they can be used, or what can be got from it.

Art that is USELESS is also revolutionary, not because of what it represents, but because it witnesses to the reality of inherent value, of value that can’t be reduced to any exchange.

I love art with a powerful revolutionary messages, and respect those who make it. But please don’t dismiss the not so obvious revolutionary power of holding to a belief in inherent value, autonomous from all else… as we must hold human life as of value, apart from all the ways it can be put to use.

EndPars-Occupy City Hall

ICE down 1 Remains of medical station after cop raid at ICE, 8th and Cherry.

the 2011 Occupy camps were an open mass movement, a premature revolutionary experiment that wasn’t able to deal with how unprepared so many were who came into the camps. They had collapsed and outlived their service weeks before they were taken down by cops. But failures are how we learn.
When I first heard that there was going to be an attempt to ‘occupy’ the ICE facility, I was skeptical. Heraclitus had a pretty good rule of thumb for radical action: can’t step into the same river twice “Don’t Try to Repeat the Same Thing”

But from the beginning, it was clear that what’s become the end Pars occupy city hall camp (a single action in a larger coalition) learned some valuable lessons, whether from 2011 or from wiser young heads) — It only superficially resembles the 2011 Occupies. Contributing to this, is the deep, organizing that preceded it–diverse groups many that had been working independently, but were prepared for cooperative, intersectional action when the right occasion appeared.

Micro-organizing is the essential prerequisite for the success of any mass movement. Never despair because you are few! You are NOT FEW!

Forget corporate cooperative Trade Unions!

Re, recent Supremes decision.
We maybe need to think of different ways of configuring unions. The ruling was pretty specific in addressing existing trade union laws. But the existing legal protections also constrict how and what unions can be. We got these laws with bloody wars–and the definitions of what those laws protected, and what unions were, with them.
This is a new era… time to forget the laws and unions as we’ve let them be defined, and begin the fight all over, for a new and way more inclusive kind of union. Trade unions are archaic. There no reason to mourn their demise. We can do better!

Artists against Capitalism!

Why is it so hard to find committed, radical/anarchist artists–committed, both to making art, AND to working together to find ways to make art outside the capitalist, gatekeeper, gallery to investor system? Cause no one can do this alone.
One of the factors in what makes me so discouraged, and depressed in my efforts to make art.

It can’t be just talk. It has to be action–discovering, creating through action. It has to begin with saying: we can’t do this anymore! We can’t work within the system anymore! Enough!
And then–looking at what we CAN do–and doing it!

Though the material and social problems involved are unique to each medium and form–this is something that should be addressed by artists of all kinds–dancers, theater people, poets, musicians –together, as a collectivist work.