The Artist Manifesto*
by Ernest Chang
*as of Winter of 2014
I am an artist; I observe the world through the perception of my transiently conscious being. Photography captures what I observe. The photographer does not dwell oneself in consciousness and thought but actually one’s subconscious which is also the moment. I capture, in the moment, the spectrum of colours in light that I see as I experience the phenomenon of being red-green color-blind.
Every artist must have a medium in which one shares and communicates, for example “Oil on Canvas”, as seen in many museums. But as an artist who is color-blind, I must use not painting or colours to communicate but the nuances in-between the perception of sight. By nuances, I refer to the less superficial aspects of photography which makes it an art as we have discovered long ago. To be surrounded by a world of capitalism; in a world full of delusions of grandeur not of the cosmos but of oneself; I believe my act is noble to discover the mysteries of perception. And since perception is all created by our brains, why does one again, dwell, on the microscopic pool of the conscious which to most is the only ‘meaningful’ perception; which is as microscopic and limited as it is digressive.
No one’s perception is the same, therefore everyone is an artist. I have the ability to see artistically because I have always perceived differently. But when asked to make sense of the spectrum of colours, of which ultimately I still cannot see, I have developed a harmony. And by that one small piece of knowledge I received about myself when I was eight years old when the doctor told me about this disability, I gathered all the necessary perceptive tools to assume colours to fit in with other’s so-called collective perception. Disability or not, I was assuming what I saw was always wrong. This makes me question even the most fundamental agreements on humanity, on society, on anything collective humans have gathered themselves in.
Humans are selfish, therefore Art shall not be. One can only achieve selfishness in a world where the “I” is comfortable, the physical body; as we talk about our ‘selves’ like they are different things as the saying goes “I see myself being in…”.
I, was not comfortable for a long time. I, did not know that the self and I are and were and hopefully will continue to be the same thing; and it was only because of this forced collective perception that I suffered a fearful sense of disorientation in my maturing self. I am not limited by other people’s perception as I have experienced a natural, implanted mental prison as equally destructive as the world humans have created for my self and everyone else. But I believe in hope.
Hope is all an artist needs to create; or one does not care. One is not an artist but a technician. Art can be anything, but it needs to be hopeful even if the artwork fills one’s mind with depression or themes of mortality, the work itself needs to ultimately lead our audience to a provocation to the thought of hope. And hope contains an element of humanity which is authenticity.
As an artist, I require only to be authentic to myself in feeling to study the mysteries of the human mind and of the cosmos. All lies are told because everyone is different in thought and therefore the same systems of lying must be structured somehow within one’s soul and body. It reverses all negatives to positives, or vice versa. Isn’t that what one needs to be happy? We have agreed on lying to each other everyday by not going around telling unattractive people “You’re Ugly!”. We stop ourselves from doing these things because we are actually selfless within. And if that is true then why have we created a selfish world where we are forced to ignore what is important in life and constantly be reminded of the scarcity and inauthenticity in it?
Science is not Art. It is not the opposite either. But it is subtractive. Art on the one hand, does not doubt itself in truth. Science needs it completely. We project that doubt onto the artwork because we are human. And it is why even a performance artist is not totally just him/her because one is performing and therefore does not act according to one’s true human nature. Only when one is alone that one’s true sensations seem to come out. Solitude brings out the artist in all of us. That is why constant instant connection with others are destructive towards human experience for the most part.
Art creates peaceful boundaries to which humans and nature can live harmoniously by. It is the answer to most of our troubles in so-called modern civilisation. Science is the study and the further distillation of that line, making it easier for one’s brain structure (created organically) to comprehend, by which information is absorbed almost like osmosis as long as one understands the tools of sight and language. Art can be irritating to one’s perception if one doesn’t understand it but it doesn't require you to understand it to like it; because ‘liking it’ wasn’t even the artist’s intent in the first place. Art is always additive unlike some things in the human mind, for example, lies and secrets.
Art shall always be progressive, as progress is the dimension that controls our endeavours in the fields of art and science. Art is not only progressive, it is also the truth of the myth and the myth of the truth; which mean it is also of the moment and the moment’s remnants. Forward or not, life itself is measured in units, like time and space and lives. We must place ourselves with the notion of constant doubt, because I believe it is the reason in which human discoveries have gone as far as history could record or not. As long as Art is the forever-beacon or forever-step of hope for mankind, there shall always be a light for the the darkness.
Art is about sharing, if one doesn’t have a feeling of the shared joy while looking at a piece of artwork collectively, one is not scrutinised or doubted but called an artist him/herself if he/she could very possibly provide a reason in which he/she disagrees. Science on the other side is known to be just facts, and nothing but the truth. But as I pointed out earlier, I do not believe in the perfect truth or the imperfect lie. I think adjectives like perfect and imperfect are simply distractions to what truly is valuable to me. Truth and lie are far more important instead. They give me the tools to be an artist. To lie in a world where truth is considered the highest recorded esteem, is ultimately what the artist must do in order to create.
As I repeat, Art is the mediator. It is the fence from which we safely observe humanity’s truths and lies. Art is either truths portrayed in a lie, or lies portrayed in a truth. Because as we know, perceptions change all the time. Since I personally still do not hold a strong grasp over my truths and my lies, I tend to believe that staying progressive is the only way to exist. That is because I do not will to be a stubborn, unchanging thing. I exist to understand my own existence. Which means I not only need to observe truths and doubt them, but lies too and the reasons behind them. It lies in front of an audience as an object of complete pure truth even if the theme depicted is not at all valid in life or is against humanity itself.