Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Prof. Marion Wilson
Prof. Michael Burkard
Visual and Performing Arts
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Art and Design | Fine Arts
Nothing exists that we cannot perceive, nothing is ours that we have not made, and nothing has meaning that we have not given. In order to foster a more active participation in the collaborative act of creation in which mankind engages every day, we must engage in art practices that are completely dependent on interaction and investment. The value of artwork is not derived from its original material but from the energy invested in it and the significance that it gathers from each hand through which it passes. None of us exists in vacuum; instead, all creation relies on collaboration and exterior influence. Rather than try to isolate ourselves as individuals, we should embrace our dependency on the environment and each other. Our goal is not to make things that are new but to make anew that which already exists in our hands, our minds, and our hearts.
As Roland Barthes famously said, “The author is dead.” He was born out of capitalism and a desire to protect a monetary claim to creative endeavors, distinction between those who appreciate art and those who profit from it. But in a post-industrial society, where tools of creation are widely available, the distinction between author and reader disappears completely. This allows us to see that which has always been true, that ownership of ideas does not exist. As any true creator knows, it is the integrity of the creation that matters. Rightness takes precedence over the artist's ego, popular trends, personal whim, or even societal prescription. Thus it becomes imperative to make work that is larger than the self and that serves the greater society at large. But before we presume to do good for a community, we must first become part of that community. Before we reach out to the marginalized or estranged, we must become estranged ourselves. Before we can help the needy, we must experience helplessness.
In April of the year 2012, we engage in project called “INTER,” a seven-day collaboration between two artists and the inhabitants of Syracuse's Near West Side where the artists live and work for the duration of the project. The artists arrive on site with no supplies or food of any kind and they are strictly forbidden from using money, phones, or computers for the entire week. Through face-to-face interactions, they attempt to establish networks and infrastructures built solely on human capital. Armed only with a guitar, a drum, a video camera, the artists have exactly one week – 168 hours – to install an entire body of work in and around the gallery at 601 Tully using only materials they receive through the generosity of the Near West Side. This project examines the potential of human generosity and intent. No one among us has the power to create a world in 7 days, but by working together we might be able to discover one.
The artists are not autonomous creators of their own narratives but instruments of art-makery whose function is to transform the material and social potentials of the Near West Side into a work of art. The irony of this project, and of every project, is that nothing new is created. Material is undeniably transformed, but the true art of the work is the illumination of relationships and connections already in existence. The artifacts themselves are merely manifestations of these relationships. The only thing that is truly created is a chain of new relationships that will continue to support the INTER mission long after the project has ended. → www.johncardone.com
Cardone, John, "- INTER - An Examination of Potential" (2012). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 109.
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