My titles are always in pencil : projects in the absurd

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Amy M. Anderson (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Ron Laboray

Abstract: The Absurd, in terms of existentialist philosophy, is born out of the conflictbetween the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and the inabilityto find any (Absurdism). Through my work, I examine the conflict of the individual’srole and search for the state of freedom in which Absurdism leaves us. This is not toquestion the necessity or aim of society for the common good but examines the socialroles that are imposed on individuals within a given society.Absurdism describes how we, as humans, desire order, purpose and meaning inlife. As a result, we are left unsatisfied by what Camus calls the “silence of the world(Camus 20),” and its unwillingness to unquestionably provide us with such answers.With no meaning to our lives, there seems no point in living. Yet, suicide is alsomeaningless. This brings us to a position of existence where we are left living our liveswith no meaning. An acceptance of this meaningless state of being alive is supposed toleave us living in total freedom. (Camus 20)In our social positions, the stage is set for us to play a perceived intended role. Inthe universal pursuit of meaning and happiness, we find ourselves together on this stagein which we must ask ourselves if we can find truth in the role we are playing.According to Jacque Rancière in The Emancipated Spectator, the stage desires tobe a “magnifying mirror where spectators see the virtues and vices of their fellow humanbeings in fictional form” and its purpose is “to prompt specific changes in their minds”by producing “the dual effect of intellectual recognition and appropriate emotion.” Thecritique of this goal manifesting through the stage lies within the passivity of spectatorsversus the role of actors who are knowingly performing. Rancière poses the alternativeand better solution is a pensive (“full of thoughts”) image. An image exists as such whenit refuses to give a finite answer because it never ceases to pose relevant questions thusalways inhabiting a contemporary conversation. (Rancière 62 – 132)By observing and investigating common social scenarios, my work inducesconversations about social conditions and promotes change within the individual. Byshedding light on the absurdity of social roles, viewers are prompted to ask themselveswhether the role they play in life is merely an act or if there is some truth in who they areand the potential of whom they can become.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Camus, phantom community, Ranciere, sculpture, time-based art, visual art
Absurd (Philosophy) in art
Social norms in art

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