Thursday, 24 March 2016

The NVA Trilogy: Changed My Mind (part 3)

By the time that I arrived back in Glasgow, I had changed my mind. 

It's not that part two is wrong. It is just that the article's existence tells me that Hinterland is more interesting than I implied.

I mean, it inspired me to write a rant. 

"I thinking you are over-thinking again, Vile."

I'm sorry if my intelligence frightens you, son. But you can always stop reading this now. 

Because my critique of Hinterland is not a critique of the event, but of the society that gives it context. Actually, getting me to feel that passionate, that reflective on the absence of spiritual revelation suggests that the installation has more depth than I admitted.

Look, I was happy enough when I was walking up the hill through the woods. I felt like a pilgrim, The shock of boredom that came when I stopped to see the performance in the seminary exposed the emptiness of the rituals that have replaced religion. 

You see, I think part 2 is a good review. It is evidence that Hinterland made me think. I can handle the aesthetic experience being uncomfortable - wasn't that exactly why I loved Vanishing Point's The Destroyed Room? There was little theatrical pleasure in the actors' awkward conversations, but that bold performance made me recognise my complicity in a drowning world.

Unfortunately, there is no fucking way NVA are going to use my review in publicity. And that tells me all I want to know about the problems of criticism. 

I did not see beauty in the brutalism of the architecture, nor poetry in the graffiti, nor evocations of spiritual redemption in the exposed electricity. I saw a reflection of a society that is bankrupt, decaying, in denial about its materialism. I mourned the loss of Christian sensibilities. 

I recognised the problems of thinking about the sacred within late consumerist society. So I ranted at the event. 

The thing in itself is not the thing, the thing is the thing-in-itself experienced in the mind of the observer. Meaning, maybe art, is the product of the moment of engagement. Hinterland has no meaning when the audience have gone home. 

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