The Hero Discussion

10 February 2008

A dialog begins.
In these blogs, always to be titled The Hero Discussion, i am inviting you, the public, to discuss with me your interpretations of both my writings and your own ideas of what a hero is today and how the role of the hero operates in our society (locally and/or internationally). The most recent posts will be at the top and dated.
This is to create a public dialog and exchange that leads up to the December Art Show (see below) which will then become a part of the artwork itself - a way to bring art out of the gallery without trying to undermine the gallery simultaneously. December will yield a visual manifestation of the research and conversation occurring between now and then. Please join in and be a part of this.

Further clarification towards the subject of my December 2008 show at the Rake Art Gallery.

I have decided to take on the arduous task of coming to a definition of the word ‘hero.’ The questions that immediately arise are as follows:
- To ask myself why and how I have come to decide on a definition.
- What (social and experiential) factors contribute to my definition?
- What is to be considered when each individual viewer approaches the works with differing ideas and definitions for the word ‘hero’ – and what happens when our definitions are in fact different?
And what surprisingly arises out of this questioning is a new sort of approach.
Should this project be about those very differences? The most intriguing proposition in this questioning, for the intentions of my own misty brain, is that we indeed will each carry different ideas of just what a hero is, as well as carrying different applications of this word, as placed on varying circumstances, people, and situations. So then let’s examine why that is.
The most striking influence, as far as written and recordable knowledge goes, is in our social make-up. What experiences have we lived and what influences have made their mark upon us. (This is an easy way to culminate all the developmental influences occurring during our childhoods – because, if we were to acknowledge all the subtle influences in their entirety we would need books upon books of literature, more than what is manageable in the context of a visual statement). So what then contributes to a persons’ definition of a hero? I suppose the next task is to answer this. From there, I would like to examine some of those definitions, chose a few key themes, or repetitions, and propose a hierarchy of roles that ‘heroes’ play in our society today (ex’s: inspiration, aspiration, or embitterment).
What then comes to mind is this:
Because the definition and the role of a ‘hero’ vary for each person, does this then undermine the existence of the hero?
Can subjectivity make gone the hero?
Does what eludes definition thusly elude reality?

12 January 2008

Concerning the use of the word ‘we.’
A mistake I have made is to assume an all-inclusiveness by address the general public with the term ‘we.’ It is an unfair categorization to do so. All persons have experienced unique consequences in their lives that contribute to their outlook on society. Society, as a whole, hardly exists in this sense. Only through a privileged outward glance in can one make comments on an entire populace. It is not my wish to corner any one person into a larger paradigm by use of the term ‘we.’
So, to amend my statement below. Our experiences each contribute to our understanding of the ‘hero.’ The hero plays a role that is unique to each of us. My engagement with this theme as a discourse to feed this art project is dependent upon my own views and experiences. If I am to create a dialog with the viewer, it is to be done through offering my own opinions in hopes that you, the viewer, will answer back with your own opinions. Each of us experiences the hero differently. To say ‘we’ means to compile all of our views toward a grand-scale collective, entirely unlimited by singular constraints.
Of course, more to come.

December 2007

My art (paintings and mixed 2-D media) will be addressing the issue of the hero in our society. At the core of this concept lies the role that the hero plays, both historically - in the way that history leads up to what we experience today - as well as currently – which imbues our daily activities, social orders, and even intimacy capabilities. The two manifestations I will be addressing deal with, one: the contradiction that even though we function more successfully in groups, we still place virtue on the ability of an individual to achieve a goal ‘by oneself;’ and, second: that we tend to equate the words ‘individual’ and ’strength.’
Possible directions: Are these two actually one and the same? Is the virtue of the hero hindering the functionality of a group? Is the need for groups hindering the creativity of the individual? Can an individual deeply impact a whole society or population? Can an individual retain creativity while functioning within a group? Or, an interpersonal twist: Can an individual follow his/her own path while sharing life and intimacy with another?

For the coming show I will be focusing on the myth of the hero, the psychological effect hero-mentality has on us, the social dynamics instigated by this thinking, as well as addressing the events of history that have created the idea that a hero is something that is both virtuous and real.

We are trained to associate strength with independence, to think that a heroic endeavor is amplified when accomplished by a single human, as opposed to a group, team, or pair of humans. This leaks into our psychology in many ways, including, but hardly limited to, overriding social structures as well as our interpersonal relationships (such as the belief that a partner often intrudes upon, or limits another’s personal/spiritual growth). Another approach toward the hero is the condition of the hermit: the human who leaves society - other humans - to ascend alone.

These themes/approaches have my focus enough to begin; however, I am certain my research will bring forward new permutations.

This statement will develop over time, as my findings and beliefs grow. The work will evolve likewise: with ideas from which the imagery is started, to the end which is a result of change (as is inevitable with the passage of time).