A Conversation About Art And Censorship

by Travis Mateer

This week’s episode of Zoom Town is a conversation about art and censorship with co-host Tim Adams. After recording the conversation yesterday I got a book I’ve been waiting for in the mail, called Dispelling Wetiko, by Paul Levy. When I woke up at 2am this morning, unable to sleep, I started reading.

Here is an excerpt from the first chapter about the role of the artist:

When I use the term “artist,” I am not using it in a traditional, limited way of meaning someone who is solely painting, drawing, or using some other particularized medium; this is too circumscribed and flatland of a conception of what an artist is. When I use the term “artist” I am alluding to the fact that we are all creative, mulitdimensional visionary artists and dreamers whose canvas is life itself. Art is not just an activity that results in products but, rather, is a way of being and mediating experience. The very act of verbally or nonverbally language-ing our experience, of giving creative shape and form to what is happening both inside and outside of ourselves is itself the process through which we, as artists, deepen our realization of what we are trying to express. The fact that our realization of what we are expressing deepens through the act of creatively expressing it is the litmus test which certifies our act of creation to be worthy of the name “art.” In creating a new form of communication, the work of art is both an expression of a more expanded consciousness, as well as being its initiator. Art attains its greatest numinosity and ability to affect others when the creator of the work of art is re-creating themselves and being transformed in and through the act of creating the work of art. The artwork then becomes a living testament to, encoded with, and a carrier of this experience of transformation, as if the work of art unlocks the door through which this transformation becomes activated in and transferred to others in an act of living transmission. The artist’s creative endeavors are timeless artifacts, which act like transducers of the semantic, symbolic power encoded in the human psyche. Contagious in its effects, art can “virally”spread via the unconscious of our species in a way which liberates and unleashes the latent, creative energy lying dormant in the unconscious of humanity, which has the power to effect real change in the world. Ultimately speaking, the real purpose of art is not merely to momentarily express ourselves so as to make us feel better, but to awaken us and make us free.

At the end of this week’s episode I have included a special treat: an original recording I’m calling SKINK DOES SEUSS.


About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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