Salon Romantik, op. 5

NOTE: Salon 5 is appearing soon as part of (the world we've created), a multi-artist installation gallery at The Studio Loft at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, June 13-15, 2014. For information about that event, follow this link. To hear about the concept and process of Salon 5, read on...

Salon Romantik, op.5: CREATION

An interactive-immersive gallery of living installations
A Masterful Creation by Control Group Productions
A Collaborative Cultivation of Situation, Environment, and Individual

Salon Romantik, op.5: CREATION is an artist ethos in crisis - a stale binary lodged in calcified conflict....

 

Salon Romantik is a multi-work, multi-year series exploring/witnessing/exploding the historical contents and contemporary mobilizations of European Romanticism. In particular, the works engage the Romantic perspective as half of the dialectic of Modernity: the opening salvo in a rejection of Rationalism that has defined Western thought for the last 300 years. In Control Group’s usual mode of inquiry, we enter this conceptual landscape simultaneously critically and experientially – trying on objects, ideas, and values that we already recognize are flawed or problematic, and looking to move through them into another way of thinking/seeing/being.

In our previous Salon works we have explored various directions of Romantic thought and content: fairytale narratives, the supernatural, wilderness, insanity, chaos, fate, the end times, and much more. Salon Romantik, op.5: CREATION drives at the heart of the Romantic era and perspective: the nature of the act of creation.

Romanticism prizes the artist above all: the individual alone, engaged in the expression of a deep, individual truth. It is in the Romantic era that we find the birth of the modern artist ethos, the Master Maker Model: the solitary artist genius manifesting exquisitely crafted, completely original expressions of self, beauty, and truth directly from imagination into the world. This vision of the artist feels decidedly stagnant – ignorant of context and limitations in its implication of total control by the artist, and arrogant in its formulations of mastery, ownership, and originality. Romanticism’s aggrandizement of the artist and of art’s purpose of personal expression leads to a lack of relationship with or respect for the work’s audience or for criticality in general.

We juxtapose this perspective with the most primal force of human nature: reproduction (and its long-term effect: evolution). Procreation defies creative individuality, originality (genetic materials aim at replication), ownership, artistic vision, and control… Instead, this act of creation has much more to do with cultivation of the new ‘creation’ than with an inseminating artistic vision or intention. But this usually collaborative parental nurturing is only a part of the environmental influences that, working in tandem with the chaotically determined genetic composition, slowly contribute to the nature of the new creation. And ultimately, the urge to procreate doesn’t manifest as a desire to make a baby – that’s simply a (life-altering) by-product of the instinct-driven physical act. While collaboration, contextual responsiveness, and cultivation are excellent tactics in an artistic process, as a whole this vision of the artist, lacking coherence of intention and even a primarily aesthetic nature, doesn’t function.

This, then, is our artist ethos in crisis, a revolving binary of stale and ill-fitting models. CREATION seeks to re-balance this bipolarity – by repeatedly smashing the two sides together. Embedded within the binary of Master Maker and Nurturer we find a vast array of dualities that define the conflict of Romanticism and Reason: male/female, nature/technology, instinct/reason, product/process, object/context, essential/evolutional, mutable/eternal, personal/communal… underpinned by the question: how much control do we have? What are we trying to make, and what agency do we have to make it?

    

 

An immersive digital/physical/live performance installation, CREATION juxtaposes nature and technology in a deconstruction of action, presence, gender, and the creative instinct. The work magnifies minute worlds to a cosmic scope: a child’s play area, a machinist’s laboratory, a pregnant woman’s womb, an artificial garden. The work burrows into the Romantic portrayal of the solitary artist genius and explodes it from within. It questions the nature of the creative act and returns to the original acts of creation: production and reproduction.

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