02 October 2008

The red spot

In the endless and generally unproductive "what is art?" debates, somebody (I'm not sure, offhand , who) at some time suggested that craft becomes art if it changes the way you see the reality. I'm not sure I go for that as an answer to the question, but it certainly has more going for it than most – and is, in any case, an interesting idea in itself.

Jenna Cartwright, Saul Grossmann and Raz Khan all wrote to me within a few minutes of yesterday's Today 081001 image posting, asking if it was a deliberate reference to Julie Heyward's Red Line. (Actually, "reference" was Ari's word: the other two used "homage" and "rip off" respectively.) Half a dozen others have asked the same question, in one form or another, in the hours since. And the answer to the question is ... definitely no, but perhaps yes ... sort of.

First, the right words are probably "influenced by" ... or maybe "pallid shadow of".

Second, since Red Line is a created work of art while Today 081001 is simply a record of an observation (and not a particularly good one, at that), it seems presumptuous self aggrandisement to claim any connection at all between the two – a bit like scribbling a shopping list and then claiming kinship with Sylvia Plath.

Third, although I love Red Line (and am still mesmerised by it) the real influence here is Mind Game. Which brings me back to the idea in the first paragraph. Don't ask why I photographed that red berry amongst a scatter plot of leaves; ask, instead, why I saw it in the first place? I saw it because my head and eyes were full of Mind Game – and so I was primed to see red accents. Mind Game had changed the way I view reality.

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