The Williamsburg Symposium

Sunday October 18th, 1998 3 P.M. to 6 P.M.
Reconvenes 7:30 P.M.


The Williamsburg Art & Historical Center presents October 18th, 1998 @ 3 P.M THE WILLIAMSBURG SYMPOSIUM "Has art been redefined at the end of the 20th Century?":

The WILLIAMSBURG SYMPOSIUM is deliberately couched in the midst of the show THE CALCULUS OF TRANSFIGURATION show which attempts to bring us another step forward toward the "event horizon" which represents new emerging art. Some of the artists are using computers as their artistic tool, some are making wearable computers. Still others examine viral and biological processes.

In this show some of the artist/thinkers look around at the rain of communication abounding and recognize in it the very material for their art: communication, meaning, redundancy, absurdity, as well as the muddy boundaries between orderly and chaotic processes. One of our panelists today, Susan Dionne, finds those muddy boundaries rich in a new infidel heteroglossia against the one language that translates all meaning perfectly. She seems to be raising the banner of freedom against the imposing established order of the world of the arts. Some artists in the show like Gregory Barsamian focus on perceptions or kinetic illusion. His art reminds one of what David Hume and the empiricists as well as George Berkeley and the phenomenalists understand that "the nature of all reality is that of perceptions, there is nothing more than that!" Einstein gave much credit to Hume in his own thinking, and even today as physicists examine the world they think of things as composed of "events."

Many of these artists are bringing forth the intelligence of the subconscious that creates art and are consciously engaging the formerly hidden reasons for the products of their art. Individual artists may have done this before, but it is now becoming a solid movement, it is becoming expansive. There are artists in our show and on our panel engaging their art with the tool of ritual revelation as Robert Sagerman does with his kabalistic painting rituals, or with perception and pure reason as Mathew Deleget. The precision and delicacy and deliberation and elegance of the new artistic creature, the developed mind with all its subtlety, now rules the domain of the present.

The artists in the CALCULUS OF TRANSFIGURATION show are responding to, or swept up in, something that is happening to world culture at the millennium. It is a more conscious awareness. It is a growth of the faculty of inquiry and self analysis. It is remarkable in what this might herald for the next millennium. Susan Dionne, mentions that her art has something to do with "causing to stand," ...the precariousness and contingency of it. Indeed, "process of change" from one order to the next. Nothing stands in the world, it is always toppling. Ebon Fisher calls this toppling effect "Wigglism" as the effect which makes living things active or "wiggle." Today we will hear about his attempt to breed "turbulent mongrel creatures in a mongrel jungle of plasma, machines, and minds."

Robert Sagerman, another panelist, looks at the act of creating art as "being steeped in the process of being in a state of belief." Is it not each of our states of belief that allow us to exist and act in the world? There is something really significant here, and more is discovered at every turn through the eyes of the many artists in the CALCULUS OF TRANSFIGURATION show. The artists here are mystics and ontologists and epistemologists. And other artists here simply express a wonderment at the technology of the new age. The symposium will look at the validity of these ideas and their place in the context of the world today.

Mark Cohen, the writer philosopher on our panel, will address the confusion of input and output in art - confusion among artists working specifically along a line parallel to the development of theoretical physics. He will discuss the relationship between perception and meaning and the artist's metaphor to theories in philosophy & science in the post-Kantian world. Mark has been the inspiration for the panel from the beginning, having brought up a series of questions that a panel might address such as, has intelligence replaced beauty in art here at the cusp of the millennium? Or, what is the relationship between science and art, etc.?

The panel will also address the question, is the art of the late 1990's distinctly different enough to be classified as something unique? Has art been redefined? How is this art different from post modernism, or is it merely an extension of it? Is there an objective basis for art criticism? Science, technology and mass communication have become a necessary substratum for modern life. It seems to shape everything including art. What precisely has been the effect on art? Does art shape new science or does new science shape new art? Are they just two heads of the same animal...or does each occur without having been effected by the other? What is the purpose of art, or does it have a purpose? Is the purpose to reinvigorate or refresh the spirit? Does it enlighten? Socrates say that the proper concern of the good man is society, is that the concern of the good artist? Is art a social activity?

Eric Salzman, an renowned experimental composer who is writing a book on music of the 20th Century, will give us an overview of the realms of music. James Jacobs, experimental composer and musician of Williamsburg will discuss his take on things.

Besides all of the new thinking in the arts to be presented today, we will also hear from Travis Stewart who "promises to offend the sensibilities of anyone born after 1850" at today's symposium. He will discuss the pitiful state of the arts at the end of this century! And I am sure that Jason Grote will also have a thing or two of interest to say.

Orin Buck, an artist who is writing a book on how art has been defined and redefined over the centuries will begin the discussion today, an historical overview. Other illustrious panelists are Mariann Weems of the Builders Association, Kathleen Laziza of the Laziza Electric Dance Company, Terrence Kelleman, Kim Iacono, Janice Everett, Ceri Isaac, Adam Oranchak the Cyborg, Richard Humann, all creatures of the transcendent "now!"

Our artists and critics in Williamsburg are examining the issues of science & philosophy, art, meaning and perception and society. There is a wonderful thing here, perhaps never before done in such a way. And there are many artists inspired by each other in this pursuit. One can write volumes on the many different and varied ideas examined by the many artists in the show CALCULUS OF TRANSFIGURATION and in THE WILLIAMSBURG SYMPOSIUM.

Terrance Lindall

The Calculus of Transfiguration | electrokinetic | Williamsburg Symposium

Events & Exhibits Williamsburg Art and Historical Center: Featured Events