Updated: Aug 5, 2018
By Noah Witke Mele
I define art as something without boundary, limited only by the imagination of the artist -- as long as they can say that a work is art and discuss it as such, I affirm its existence as an artwork. Any and every thing has the potential to be made into an artwork, all it requires is for an artist (and by this same definition, all of us are artists) to act with intention, to name the work art, and to engage in a dialogue about it. When the thing is given the context of art, it becomes art.
Art is worthless if it does nothing.
What function does it serve?
I oppose art that is shallow.
I oppose art that exists in a space void of ideas.
I oppose art that does not need the world.
I want art that does something.
I want art that changes me.
I want art that changes others.
That is the purpose of art:
to enact change.
The amount of change does not matter. A work that changes something very small is just as much an artwork as a work that changes something very big. The change could be how the entire world works, or how a singular person thinks. A work could break something irreparably, or it could repair something. The act of causing change is what is important, because art must not sit idly by while the world turns.
Technique and medium are tools with which to enact change. But they are nothing more than just that: tools. Art, on its own, defies all boundaries. It is as open as the artist makes it. Whatever they use to create their work, be it words, movement, color, form, sound, or anything (Air! Make art with air!) is their own
business and is of no concern to the rest of us. Material does not define art, intention does.
I reject beauty as a prerequisite of art.
Of course, beauty has function of its own, people love beautiful things for a reason, but beauty alone easily turns vapid. The perception that artwork must be beautiful to have value nullifies the artist’s drive to make work that changes things, because they must focus on creating things that are beautiful, and they can no longer focus on making work with meaningful intention. Beauty -- or technique, or medium -- alone does not make art.
Art, in its purest form -- where it is boundless, and unrestrained by perception or expectation -- is change. Art is how we interface with the world, altering it to our needs and to the needs of others. We must destroy the idea that the definition of art is fixed, and allow everything the potential to become art and change us.
A manifesto is a statement of belief, in which my opinion is the only opinion that matters, and where my truth is the only truth.
I oppose this.
I am made of privilege. I am a white man. I have inherited a powerful voice from a culture of white men talking about things and never actually changing the way theworld works. They have always kept themselves on top, perpetuating a patriarchal society, and continually oppressing those who are not like them.
This is a time for pushing boundaries and definitions. If you are asked to draw a line in the sand, step over it until you are no longer on the beach. Opening and opening and opening is the way to truth.
I offer you my ideas, but do not ask you to hear or accept them. You have seen that I exist, and so I can ask no more. Now is the time for us to turn our sight outwards, to see those who must be seen and recognised and heard, to let all experiences of the world become boundless.
About the author: Noah Witke Mele is a queer artist/performer/writer. His works strives to blur the line between life and art. Noah has been featured at Phantom Theater, the Helen Day Art Center, Ello, and Balaclava.Q. Currently, he is working on his conceptual art book/instructional manual LIFE AS PERFORMANCE. Noah is a certified master teacher in DEEP [Death Electric Emo Protest] AEROBICS by Miguel Gutierrez. His favorite food might be chocolate cake.