Art as Creative Dialogue

Open Source Studio class at the California Institute of the Arts, Fall 2012

What exactly is creative dialogue? In the hallowed histories of conceptual and information forms, it seems to fit right in: human discourse as artistic action. How does creative dialogue serve as action at all? And what is it about dialogue that substitutes for the materiality of traditional media?

Dialogue is a catalyst. Purely. A driving force. In many ways it is the end result of the artistic process: after the work comes into existence there are ideas resonating in the air to be absorbed and shared and dissected. So what if you simply eliminate the “work” and cut right to the chase: the discourse of ideas as the point of origin – which just might – crystallize into something that resembles art. Why not?!

Dialogue as the substance of art is a mediational force, which joins people together, while dissolving differences of discipline, culture, perspective, and experience. As the substance of art (rather than a substitute), dialogue is a source of creative energy and reason and understanding between people who engage in the action of words.

In the 3rd space network of virtual possibilities, dialogue becomes a distributed *medium* that dissolves distance. The medium of dialogue is a catalyst for a dynamic that creates links across social and political barriers that might have been impossible to connect. The insertion of dialogue into the 3rd space defies the physical limitations of geography and time and opens up the possibilities for change, transformation, knowledge and instantaneous inter-cultural collaboration in ways that were formerly unthinkable.

It is at this point, in which dialogue functions as a thread for weaving global trajectories of human exchange, that we understand technology as a great enabler, a source of empowerment, and a force of artistic thinking. Inter-cultural dialogue signifies hope where none might have existed, it signifies a broader understanding of the world where ignorance might have prevailed, and it is a means for the artist (or any individual) to resist and overcome hierarchical and even tyrannical forces. Dialogue and its empowerment functions as resistance on a new scale. Dialogue is a call to action.

Creative dialogue as an artistic medium means giving primacy to the voice of the artist. Simply stated: let words be the new media.