Failure is of the essence

Untitled, AP Gorny

I had breakfast with AP Gorny this morning in Buffalo. His philosophy of art is almost perfectly antithetical to mine, and yet I love talking with someone who can maintain an amiable and perceptive disagreement with me. As William Blake said, “Opposition is true friendship.” He teaches printmaking at Buffalo State University, and he’s a bit of a spark plug when you get him going about the art establishment. I’ll do a post from our talk when I have time to digest it–the conversation ranges far and wide with AP and you realize what he’s giving you is a description of experiences from the perspective outlined in this statement he handed to me, which follows. He’s all about how to be an artist by breaking out of the¬† paradigm of “success” that gets promulgated by nearly everyone in authority. The question of how one manages to keep eating, while righteously pursuing failure, remains a thorny one, I’d say, but I have to admit it’s hard to find fault with what he says here:

From Gorny’s Interdisciplinary Approach to Failure

At this point, in this world I inhabit,
my life is afoot with a program of dismantling
the logic of success/failure.

Artists put themselves
in circumstances purposefully failing,
losing, forgetting, unmaking, undoing,
unbecoming, and not knowing.
In other words, offering creative, cooperative,
surprising, unexpected ways of being in the world.
These particular forms of failure
are more attractive to me than
conventional forms of success,
with ambiguous & wide-rainging consequences.

Providing me with a critique of standardized wisdom-production models
disseminated in university settings that just serve to re-inforce cultural
status quo, I daily propose in appropriate (or inappropriate!)
circumstances, that forgetting and losing knowledge (and all those coded
messages of affluence and success) can lead to developing ideas by way of
such a cultural amnesia.

My interdisciplinary approach to failure, obviously leads to problems,
not just in awful academia; it opens a morass negotiating daily life. But I
just say: Like a plumber’s work, it’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

–AP Gorny¬† 11.11.11


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