14 May 2012

Moan on Monday - editing artspeak

With a couple of decades of critical engagement with (medical) text under my belt, I find it difficult to read "artspeak" without wanting to use slash and burn tactics on it in an effort to extract its meaning. (Though the possibility that it's meaningless has also crossed my mind occasionally.)

"The LCD screens used in the exhibition serve not only as transmitters of a digital content, but also function as material devices which are constitutive of the artwork itself. Each of the slideshows present a cycle of digitally rendered documentation stills. These cycles display a wide variety of material, including images of sculptures made by the artist, video stills and digital elements, shown in complex configuration with one another. Throughout the duration of each of the slideshows some aspects remain fixed whereas others vary from one image to the next in a seemingly arbitrary fashion."

Here's what I think it means -
As well as showing digital images, the two LCD screens are part of the artwork. The slideshows are sequences of photos of the artist's sculptures, stills from videos, and other digital elements, shown for various lengths of time, so that images on the screens seem to interact with each other.

Stripped of the buzzwords, of course it sounds less impressive. And it's so easy to get caught up in using buzzwords...

Maybe editing artspeak is like editing poetry - query the misspellings (they may be deliberate) but don't change anything - ?


Olga said...

You and me both! My mental blue pencil is worn out on artblether designed to puff the impressiveness of the writer.

Margaret Cooter said...

Why use one word when two or three will look more impressive?! Why use a plain word when a bombastic one is to hand?!
It's a bad habit people get into....

Stitchinscience said...

I agree with you Margaret. Sometimes I'd rather have no explanation than this strangled and overly complex language.

Thanks you for your art recommendations. I went up to the Parasol Unit on Saturday - thought provoking and I loved the Kusama installation in the garden.