Who was first? Who cares? The West needs a timeline but everytime you read one you realize how wrong they are – and I’ve read that much of history in Myanmar is myth or made up or embellished. It is not my intention. I only wish to tell a story, to put down on paper this incredibly rich cultural phenomenon of artist as writer, poet, curator, critic, manager, teacher, performer, installer, videographer, painter and supporter. What makes them so motivated? It is some gorgeous combination of identity and concept, voice and history, influence and difficulty. Is it nationalistic? Is it intellectual? Is it simply living in the moment? Why does one do what one can? What are the motivations? How do they inspire one another? They meet this challenge with such fervor. WHY
How to shine a light in a critical way? How did X artist succeed in a way that Y artist failed? Where do I namedrop? Footnotes? Does the thesis not consist of 30% what people already know and 70% what they do not? Does not each sentence have to have the capability to expand into 10?
Performance art is a human experience. How is it more human than other mediums? Is that what the artists are even attempting to convey – when they all claim to be using the medium as merely one of many channels?
After 2.5 days I’m right where I began – desperate to talk about performance art in Myanmar but totally unsure under what umbrella it should be expanded upon.
Do I talk about the connective tissue between modern painting, eventually leading to performance – a sort of model posing to model moving transition? Or do I talk about the state of performance and the “self” in spite of the institution? Is performance a citizen of the state? Is the artist having to operate within the idea of the State’s idealism? In a culture slowly being pried open to the rest of the world, what is the result? Performance? Is performance to Myanmar what abstract expressionism was to the post WWII world? An attraction to freedom of movement, of cause, of intent? In Afghanistan, the Americans are working to subvert the government via the populace. Is performance art a way for artists to reach the populace through working with the government, rather than in spite of it? But art is the human drive beyond the government, is it not?
Perhaps the spirituality of performance art – but that would only apply to certain artists and not others.
What about the contrasting aspects of the traditional and the contemporary?
San Min — Po Po — Htein Lin —-Aung Myint — Phyu Mon — Aye Ko — Nyein Way — Aung Ko — Nge Lay — Mrat — Htoo — Moe Satt — Zoncy —Emily Phyo
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