On artistic discovery, lifelong learning, and contribution
The process of artistic discovery states a chance to gain new experience and satisfy the need for musical curiosity, experimentation, and creativity. It represents following the traces of particular focus, emerging through everyday observations, and moving forward in order to reassemble gathered pieces into the sets of artistic information worth using in one's oeuvre. The need to select a certain source for art production or rather the process of making artistic choices and setting personal goals to achieve the imagined figment of one's imagination helps define individual aestheticism and taste. Observation of change and transformation, while self-realized, becomes an interesting study for the artist oneself, quite often an element of experimentation itself. What is the meaning of this process and the purpose of experimenting in music? In my belief, the urge for the unknown, attempt to realize "the inner ear's whispers," and challenge the scientifically established canons through a purely empirical experience of the contributor might be one possible way of answer. Jennie Gottschalk calls it simply "a position – of openness, of inquiry, of uncertainty, of discovery" that might state a compact but adequate summation not only for the issue of experimental music but any dispute on experimentation in arts.
Time is a specific, severe, and non-changeable axis, containing the possibility to mark your presence in the history of things and a promise of potential positioning of your art in relation to surrounding matters. Time also marks the inevitable end of things for every inquiring person, sometimes abruptly ending prematurely, or being graceful to possess many years in order to search for the answers of special interest in life and art. Regardless of their fate, lifelong learning is a process of acquiring thoughts and growing meanings through constant analysis and questioning, which artists can cherish and develop during their lifetime.
Lifelong learning – brings reflection, artistic growth, responsiveness to the world, and awareness of the fragility of life. Due to the fragility and elusiveness of human existence, artistic creation becomes so significant and relevant. Working on this text during the Covid-19 pandemic made me realize how important it is to lifelong-learn, especially during the uneasy times, and grow through knowledge and understanding of surrounding things, because that is the core of our artistic expression - absorb and grow - in life, and through art.
Finally, the aspect of contribution sums the process phase's efforts, ending in the delivery of artistic expression to life. The finalized artwork is a sum of artistic discovery and lifelong learning, their correlation, and influence that eventually pierces into fixed artistic expression. It is a particular legacy of the artistic mind, a specific product that nobody else but only each individual could create. If no efforts were undertaken to transform the thought into reality, no contribution could mark the artist's presence. However, it is not only about marking artistic presence in the world, as personally, I would put this element at the end of the food chain in terms of significance, but mostly about why we create art in the first place. The reasons are countless, and the reasonings are unlimited. One could postulate the eternally present concept of beauty in a dispute on arts and bring it to the core of art creation. One could refer only to the need to express and communicate ideas through the execution of the artistic product. It is also possible to see art as a way of archiving and personalizing times, places, persons, and objects into the kaleidoscopic documentary of a sort, which becomes the artistic record. It would somehow mean that the need to express oneself through art comes from the need to catalog personal experiences and statements against falling into oblivion.
Drawing back from positioning the artist in the middle of the contribution aspect, it is utterly interesting to look at the contribution product itself. The artistic creation, denuded of the artist's presence, becomes an independent entity, IS the contribution embodied. You can perceive it through different layers and discover it from variable perspectives:
- As an artistic object stripped from any connotations to its maker and the times it was created in, a pure form, self-defining itself.
- You can refer to the contributor of the artwork and judge it through the prism of his/her presence.
- You may consider the contribution incorporating the spirit of its maker and approach like a palimpsest, the artist's recreation through the object.
Whichever angle is considered, the manner of interaction with the artwork changes, and the patterns of recognizing the contribution and the contributor gains prominence. All being said, multidimensional positioning of the artistic product defines its functioning and presence for the contemporaries, and somehow also determines the importance of the contribution act itself. Concluding, the three conditions defining artists' creation - artistic discovery, lifelong learning, and contribution are the inseparable elements of the artistic process, research in the art, and the purifying research in oneself.