Message in a body.

Michaël Samyn, December 11, 2012

I have said it before. Bientôt l’été is the last work of art I made. On the one hand because I have more or less dealt with what I wanted to deal with. On the other because I don’t see the point any more.

When I chose videogames as a medium for my art ten years ago, it was because I considered it to be the most suitable medium to explore contemporary issues. I felt that the old media were failing to address the complexity of life in the 21st century and that people really needed art that dealt with that.

This means that I believed that deeply explorative and complex art could help people solve the problems of today’s society. I don’t think I believe that any more. Today I find society has deteriorated beyond any hope for relatively comfortable saving through art-provoked thoughts.

Humans have lost it. Their civilisations have become a parody of themselves. And while there are a lot of theatrics, there is very little substance. Nor desire to even survive as a species.

I still feel art can come to the rescue. If only to offer a reason why our civilisation and species should be saved from oblivion. But this art will need to be extremely simple.

It is understandable that sophistication and complexity is not appreciated by the masses. But now we have also lost the elite. It has become virtually criminal to consider oneself more intelligent or sensitive than others. And any signs of behaviour that doesn’t fit with what is acceptable by the masses provoke aggression and bloodlust.

I don’t think people have actually become stupid. But stupid is how one is supposed to behave now. Intelligent art will not work in such circumstances. People are simply not equipped to deal with it any more. And there are no people around to tell them that intelligent art is far superior to the pulp rubbish we are allowed and encouraged to enjoy. Try that in a public place and risk lynching!

So to be effective, art will need to mask as pulp, be simple, so it can be accepted by the unaccustomed masses. Even if your art is intended for an elite, it still needs to be able to pass for shallow because otherwise the people who enjoy it risk public scorn, or simply prevent scorn by ignoring the art.

But your art also needs to penetrate the hearts and minds of the stupid, or at least of those who act stupid because it’s fashionable. No more deep exploration or honest investigation of complex issues! Deal with simple ideas, cliches even, but present them with charm –not irony! Be honest. Don’t even try to add hidden layers. Just trust your artistic soul that the meaning will be there, for others to find it, equally unconsciously.

Art as a secret communication between human souls through the vehicle of unpretentious entertainment made by bodies for bodies. For when the oppression is over, or when the system that pushes us towards this shadow of a life, finally collapses. If some of our bodies are still alive then, perhaps our souls will come out.

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