retune 14 Berlin - loose splinters

Inside the mirror was the tagline of this years retune, an

annual gathering of international creative minds seeking to explore, shape, and critically question the future of living, working, and expressing with technology

After going to the resonate earlier this year, this was my second dive into this fairly new realm for me. I will not reflect on the sessions I attended, but here's a good reading on that by my companion Heike.

I, too was a little apalled by the (too me) highly academic and conceptual approach many projects that were presented seem to put upfront. So I gathered this rather personal list of splinters from broken mirrors I found in my head, stemming from that very emotion.

on Conceptualism

When I was performing at the Reeperbahnfestival last week, people came up to me and starting questioning me, asking what my approach was. Or, why am I doing what I was doing there. I was struggling with that, and also almost found it annoying. Eventually my answer was "I am here trying to create beauty for you as a non-verbal viewing pleasure, in this very instant". In my head I added "… and all the thinking you will have to do for yourself, sorry".

I am now considering this is a bit of a closed door policy of mine, and I need to think about how I as an artist must be able to create an interface for people to be able to comprehend my work in a non-verbal form.

My problem with a highly conceptual approach is that I feel it might generate a pre-fab thinking for the viewer. As if it is something that I will have to feed my peers before I let them take in my work. At this point it feels like a safety net to me that I don't want to have.

SPLINTER: think more about the need for conceptual work

on Tools

As I am using mainly apps so far, I am coming to think that they are conceptual pre-fabs in itself. They only allow me to do what others had me in mind to do. Most of the artists at the retune were working on a code basis.

SPLINTER: do more art using code.

on Beauty

I have seen a lot of interesting stuff at the retune, but only one thing stuck to my mind as something beautiful, a piece by Casey Reas shown in the backdrop as an example during one talk. Everything else I saw I found inspiring, maybe moving, but rarely beautiful. So I am thinking, maybe I want beauty to be the conceptual layer on my work that I am striving to create, constantly accessible and adhering to it. That beauty eventually is the non-verbal interface that I want to put on all my work, and that also I might be expecting from all work of other artists to connect with me.

SPLINTER: think more about the interface to the viewer

on Relevance

But beauty isn't enough. I think it's actually a danger zone, and you can end up creating work that disconnects from an urge. Maybe my line of work does that once in a while. Asking yourself a question is always a good approach, and you have to retune your work to that question constantly for it to become meaningful and relevant.

SPLINTER: find my urge

Those are my loose thoughts at this point. Looks like the retune pushed me out of my comfort zone, and for that I will put it on my list to revisit next year.