The Title is the Art

With few exceptions we spend a great deal more time remembering and ruminating upon artworks we have already experienced than we spend sharing space with those artworks.

Our memories of artworks are kept in mind, 'pegged,' if you will, by experiential aspects of each artwork that stood out to us as we shared space with it: a color, form, recognizable image, icon, and so on.

By default these distinct 'peggings' of the artwork's experience become contained in the artwork's title.

When discussing artworks, we don't say for example, "I'm reminded of great sprays of pale, desaturated grayish-purple among speckles of gray of various lightnesses and darknesses."

Instead we say, "I'm reminded of 'Lavender Mist,' by Jackson Pollock."

With the passage of time and the lack of a refreshing experience of an artwork the memory of it becomes distorted. Its clearest evocation comes at the appearance or the verbalization of its title.

My piece The Title Is The Art explores this phenomenon. This piece only exists during moments of your participation. The instructions:
  • Click on the headline for this post, or click here.
  • Type your name at the top of the program window that now appears.
  • Click MAKE ART to generate the title of an artwork. This title is generated through the random selection of an adjective and a noun from lists of thousands of words. The artwork is instantly attributed to you through the addition of your name -- for example "The Indigenous Walrus, by Bill Gusky."
  • When you see a title that resonates with you, click STORE. The title is now added to a list that lasts as long as you keep the program window open.
  • When you are through making art, click SAVE STORED TO DOC. A window appears allowing you to save your list of stored titles anywhere you like on your machine as a Word doc. Note that if you have trouble opening the Word doc due to using an older version of Word, simply right-click on the file's icon, chose Rename, then change the file extension from .doc to .rtf, or to .txt -- although in .txt you will lose the line breaks between each saved title.
Your title artworks are instantly connected with you through your choice to generate them, through your activation of the art-making medium (the title-making program), through your choice to save an artwork, and through the use of your name.

Your title artworks become energized and their relevance is reinforced through deployment in your life: as a print-out tacked to a wall, as printed t-shirts, as signage, as graffiti and so forth. Since they are yours your title artworks can be used any way you like, any number of times. They persist in this world as your artworks.

The power of each title artwork that you create is multidimensional.
  • Each exists first as a container of resonance for you. Something about the title artworks you select is evocative for you on a personal level.
  • Second, each artwork is an entire narrative in miniature. Its elements derive from linguistic units developed over thousands of years, across many thousands of miles. Some phonetic elements stand out among the others, becoming aural or graphic protagonists that adopt a stance vis-a-vis the other elements. These conflicts become associated with aspects of each element's history.
  • Third, each title artwork exists on the art historical continuum that includes conceptual artworks by James Lee Byars, George Brecht, John Baldessari, Joseph Kosuth and Lawrence Weiner, among others, as well as Marcel Duchamp's readymades. As such, each title artwork helps bring that continuum forward. As you create each title artwork, and particularly as you deploy each title artwork in your life, you participate on a moment-by-moment level in the vitalization and evolution of that art historical continuum.
When you make a title artwork using this program you make history now.

Welcome to future history.

Bill Gusky

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Steven LaRose said...

That was fun! I couldn't stop. I've got ten titles however and I intend to make 10 sketches to accompany them.

Charles Browning said...

A fun exercise, Bill! The list words are great. The adjective/noun format makes titles that remind me of Edward Gorey. Also calls to mind Jane Hammond's project with John Ashbury.

Bill Gusky said...

Thanks Steve! Glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks Charles! I also appreciate the associations you brought out. Glad you enjoyed it.

Ls angels said...

That is amazing! Your blog impressed me because I've never seen such programs.. I used it, and it is awesome thing!

face paint said...

oh this is such a good idea! Thank you, list is getting bookmarked in 1..2..now!

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