Monday, January 9, 2012

The Fabricationist Manifesto

Art is anything you do with your hands. For example, as a species, we have built so many dams that 50% of all river flow on Earth is regulated by human whims. We have transformed the planet. This is the most grandiose artistic project that has come to fruition in human history. If sculpture is an art, than sculpting the land is an art. If writing is an art, than rewriting the genetic code of the plant kingdom is an art. If painting is an art, than painting the view of our planet from space with a Great Wall is an art.

Art is anything you do with your hands. If fixing a motorcycle or performing heart surgery is not artistic, but fixing the narrative structure of a novel-in-progress or performing an avant-garde dance piece is artistic, we do not wish to have anything to do with that idea of art. If fixing a motorcycle or performing heart surgery cannot be artistic, but well-designed representations of such actions can be artistic, there is a serious imbalance of priorities that fetishizes the superstructure at the expense of the base.

An art is anything you do with your hands. An art is not capitalized. It is not elevated to an echelon of superiority. An art fails. An art fail. [tearfully] An art fall. [regaining composure] An art is a work. An art is work. An art work. An art works. A work is an art. A work is art. A work arts. A work's art. Work is art. Art is work. Art works. Work arts. Working is art. Arting is work. Hard working means hard art. Hard arting means hard work. Working is an art you do with your hands. A work is an art you do with your hands. An art is any work you do with your hands.

An art isn't just anything you do with your hands. Douglas Adams gets very worried about the idea of art. He thinks the idea of art kills creativity. Of course, he was a comedy writer so no one took him seriously. Which is how he liked it. And obviously, comedy is not an art. Who would think making people laugh is something artistic? An art is also anything you do with your voice.

The age of contradiction has not lost its luster. We are all disposable heroes of the same hypocrisy. The fabricationist project impels us to simultaneously channel both our most individualist and our most communitarian impulses into a new dialectic. That dialectic unites heretofore artificially separated crafts and disciplines. Previously, we organized society like a book, with all the soothingly ordered hierarchy that implies. Now, in order to survive, we must reorganize society to be like the internet, with all of the terrifying chaos that comes with such a disordered horizontalism. The age of contradiction has not lost its luster. To be converse, this conversation is not all bluster.

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