06 September 2016

{M}anifesto: Commentary on the dogmas of {M}

{M}anifesto


Commentary on the dogmas of {M}
These dogmas are not so much beliefs and more like axioms in geometry— principles or rules that if followed define {M} and works which can be included in {M}
In my research for these documents I consulted Dogme 95, the basis of a minimalist, highly constrained film movement started by Lars von Trier and Thomas Vintergerg in 1995. 
I don’t think {M} has much in common with Dogme 95, but I like the way they presented their ideas and I have emulated that to some degree. So using dogmas here is an acknowledgment of their influence.
Dogma is defined as a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly trueIn this case I am the authority and the truth of the dogmas is not really relevant since they are prescriptions, not descriptions. 
1.  direct experience of the actions of one’s mind to the viewer, rather than an expression of emotion or an idea.
I got the idea of direct experience from reading about Zen Buddhism, where practitioners seek to experience reality directly without any mediation, conceptualization, or thinking. {M} is not based on Zen, is not a kind of Buddhism and is not a spiritual path. I don’t know if pure direct experience is possible, but I know it is possible to expand awareness of the feelings and the perceptions to be more conscious of things that are happening in one’s mind. This distinguishes {M} from much of Conceptual Art, where the intention of the work is to generate an idea in the mind of the viewer. So no expression of ideas, although ideas might follow the direct experience. The direct experience of a work in {M} might involve direct experience of an emotion or an emotion-like feeling, but the goal is not to experience the emotion of the creator of the work— Schubert’s sadness as he wanders a winter landscape— but see how this emotion or feeling arises in one’s mind as a result of whatever sensory stimulus comes in from the work.
3. The “art” of {M} is considered in the broadest sense of what art is and is not restricted to any particular media. 
Besides the traditional fine arts genres of painting, sculpture, photography, drawing and printmaking, the literary genres of fiction and poetry and the allied time-based genres of music, sound art, dance, theater, film, video and performance, one can find works in {M} in cuisine, fashion, architecture, typography, sports, games, and graphic and industrial design. Or mixes of two or more of these genres.
4. Works in {M} provoke viewers to ask questions about their own minds and look for answers in their own direct experience. 
The viewer must pay more attention to their internal reactions than to the external appearance of the work.

  1. Works in {M} must increase viewers’ awareness… the mental phenomena addressed by {M} are relatively low level. More complex constructions, such as those involving race, gender, power, status, and other sociological constructions do not fall comfortably into {M}. This is not to say that art cannot nor should not be made concerning these. It is just that including them would broaden {M} so much that it would essentially lose focus and meaning.

6. Even if a creator intends a work to be part of {M}, it cannot be included in {M} if it does not conform to these dogmas.  
I remember in the 70’s many works were presented as “psychedelic” in the sense that they were supposed to induce a psychedelic state, but in reality they only resembled hallucinations that one would see while tripping, without inducing, in me at least, any kind of altered state of consciousness. The piece really has to work provide an experience of one’s one mind to be classed as part of {M}. So I have to be a kind of dictator who decrees if a work can be in {M} based on my experience of it.
It can be argued that any work of art or even any experience can be used by a person to better understand the workings of their mind. But most works of art and most experiences distract one from this. Only a few works promote direct experience of mental phenomena and these are the ones that are included in {M}.

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