I have been out of commission for a week so I must apologize for the lack of updates. But it did allow me some time to go back and look at what happened the last two weeks.
1. Perhaps Rina was on to something when she offered that tip about approaching art with more selectivity and reflective engagement, especially in big events like an art fair. One reflection that did get some circulation was from a visual artist who felt some unease about how people were treating the art at the last fair and what another, reposting to a social network, commented about a sense of the sacred that was slowly being lost while leaving the question of a cause for it open.
I have a very small circle of people who are concerned about such things–I mean, the loss of a sacred sense–and we tend to be interested in things like liturgy, mostly of the kind that has been around for centuries. Whenever such a topic comes up, I begin to understand why we are drawn, for example, to Western plainchant or the warm solemnity of a Coptic Eucharistic liturgy, or even Eastern Christian iconography. What these bear, between them, is the weight of a sense of the sacred that some cultures, including our urban one, need to rediscover. But this rediscovery might come with a shift, perhaps a backlash, against abstraction for abstraction’s sake. Perhaps it might follow that art must, for it to be connected to a sense of the sacred, should be part of a common vocabulary that, as Gadamer suggests, must forge a sense of continuity with the past and a responsibility for the future. In short, a sense of tradition.
2. On a more practical note, I honestly wonder whether Art Fair Philippines should increase its entrance fees for next year to cover the costs of insurance against damage from visitors. I’d be willing to pay those fees now, and I think it may be necessary to help people understand that despite its commercial purpose, such an affair is distinguished by an explicit attention to quality which, in our current economic paradigm, requires a premium.
3. Meanwhile I must say that despite the challenges, doing a Fringe event with a very good group of people was better than I expected. Now for all the next steps…