Here’s Looking At You.

Source: The Verge

Art isn’t necessarily something you hang on your wall. Or something you see in a gallery or a sculpture garden, or performed on a stage or projected on a screen and, yeah, one of my pet obsessions is trying to figure out a comprehensive definition of art. The best I’ve come up with so far is “anything people make or do” but that includes a lot of things that even I wouldn’t consider art, and, as you can tell, my own definition of art is pretty broad. I felt like I should include “do” not only because art includes live theater but also performance pieces like, say, Joseph Beuys’s “How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare”, in which the artist carried a dead hare around a gallery and talked to it.

Of course Beuys was a known artist and announced what he was doing and did his performance in an art gallery, but I think the definition of “art” could be stretched even further to things like flash mobs, which easily fall under the much broader art concept of “happenings” first coined by the artist Allan Kaprow—four years after Beuys carried a hare around a gallery. An event doesn’t have to be announced to be a work of art, although that makes it harder to define “art”.

Anyway this has all been running through my head, and boy are its feet tired, ever since I read about a guy with a TV on his head leaving old TVs on peoples’ porches in Virginia. He must have known he’d be caught on video doing it, which may be part of the point he was trying to make, if he was trying to make a point. Maybe it was a statement about obsolescence, disposability, and surveillance. Who watches the watchers, and when we look into our TVs do our TVs look back into us? It wasn’t that long ago that our devices didn’t record what we watched, unless you were a Nielsen family, and even then, especially in the early days, those who collected the ratings had to rely on the honesty of the participants. Now practically every device we own collects data on our habits and we’re not always aware that our data are being collected or by whom or for what purpose.

Of course the guy responsible may not have thought of putting TVs on porches as a work of art. It may have just been an elaborate prank without any intended deeper meanings, but does that make a difference? And, hey, who are we to split hares?

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  1. Anonymous

    You would have to be pretty hearty to carry a TV while also bearing one on your head.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I thought about that too. Even with all the inner workings removed the frame and screen and…wait a minute, how did the mysterious TV deliverer even see through the screen?
      If he’d been wearing a flat screen TV the mystery would be even deeper.

  2. Arionis

    That happened just up the road from me. My stepdaughter sent me a link about it and I replied to her that it would have been even better if the TV on his head was playing Max Headroom.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Wow, I can’t believe I’d forgotten Max Headroom. That guy cracked me up even if I never really could get into the show. But I’m just impressed he could carry that thing around on his head and see through the screen.

  3. Martina Roy

    This is very really unique helpful information. keep it up. Thank you so much!

  4. Ann Koplow

    Another post I loved looking at, Chris, and I’m very happy to be hare today.
    Ann Koplow recently posted…Day 2463: IncredibleMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m glad you crept up on the porch and left this comment while I wasn’t looking.

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