Lemme ask you a question. What is the best freaking thing in the world? Your favorite thing—the most awesome thing you can think of? You still stuck? Well, I can tell you what it is for me, or at least one of ‘em. A one. way. ticket. A one way ticket has gotta be one of the most beautiful things in this entire dream—a painting, hanging right next to a pair of shoes and a cup of coffee, all perfectly lit and serene, there to be regarded and considered, there to be seen. What does it mean? What does anything mean?
If all art is a way of teaching—and it is—then what does that specific rock have to teach us? What does that rounded grey stone show of the artist’s inner cowbell, the scissors in their hands, the view from their little hospital drama?
I remember coming across Jenny Holzer’s original Truisms at the Venice Biennale in the summer of 1990. Lines and lines of black Futura Bold, ALL CAPS, one of which is her advice to ”OFFER VERY LITTLE INFORMATION ABOUT YOURSELF.” You see, without many facts, your art is all the world gets of you, all the world knows, all the world can see of who you are, what you express, what you make, as opposed to what you look like, what you do, what you say, what you insist upon, argue for, watch, eat, drink, grab, stab, make hash of and try to cash in. Now, in this case, the ding! of my inbox, the email that arrived, you know, the ticket, with its carefully-formatted numbers, and the Preferred Zone Assignment arranged just above the slightly-smaller September 11th Security Fee, and the black stink of the 0.07013 tonnes of carbon footprint for this quick trip, with the attached Data Protection Notice and Dis-insect-ion Notice (about insecticides)—all of that—is that just data? The print shrinks and shrinks as we get down to the Important Consumer Notices and then swells again as we are told in closing to “Check with your airline, or your travel monkey.” As if there were any of those left. Extinct like so many other species. All you had to do was click on a spool of thread and then there it was, your one-way trampoline.
That little bayonet of information, that right there, the information, that is the art. It’s the data itself, the message in the message, the fact of it, by which I mean of course the lack—of a return! It’s a bit of a trick. It’s a crack in the ice. It’s God’s twitching finger on the CD changer—maybe he’ll flick the switch! The times I’ve had the chance, the clean, clear and glass-hard balls that I thought were required, the red-rare vision to leave the rest of the crash of stars in the future, where they belong—those hard and shining times—those are the moments that I want to chew and grind like diamond dice.
You’re not going to like this, but part of the reason to offer not so much info is that the more we know, the less is true—and truth is what makes the world real, so let’s be sure to leave some room for that. And, hey, if truth makes it real, then art is what makes it more than real. What I like about Holzer’s work is that she makes the plain text do all the art work, and what I’m trying to get across here is just as simple. That flying airline ticket? That’s an artifact—it’s making art a fact. It’s a dream, but true, and landed.