The Studio of Eric Valosin

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fuzzy Mitten Moving Life Tai Chi Marionette Shadows of Plateggerian Truth, Grasped or Not [And Everything Else]

I've been having a lot of trouble thinking of titles lately.  Unfortunately, try as I may, I can't really find a way to justify labeling all of my work Untitled No. 376, and so forth.  And even more unfortunately, I can't help but believe that justifying your titling rationale is pretty crucial.  On one hand, the title needs to serve as an entrance point into the worldview in which the work exists.  For instance, if I were to name my shadow projection piece Umbral Geometry (or something equally prosaic), though generally accurate, it would mislead the viewer into thinking I'm some sort of formalist preoccupied with the way shapes are enshrouded.  And who could call such a reading wrong?  Surely not I after that red herring of a title.  On the other hand, if I try to nail down my intended concept too exactly with a ridiculous title like Platonic Shadows and the Heideggerian Grasping of Truth, I find it serves less to define what it is (not to mention opens a clear shot for a skeptic to easily dispute that matter and write off the entire enterprise as inaccurate and misguided), but more to shut the door on what it is not, limiting some of the more potentially profound readings.  Furthermore, I don't want to feel like an idiot referring to this thing down the road;  "As you recall, my famous principle of radical deep theophenomenalism for which I have just received this third MacArthur Genius Award was first developed 27 years ago in my magnum opus, Fuzzy Mitten Moving Life Tai Chi Marionette Shadows of Plateggerian Truth, Grasped or Not [And Everything Else]..."  Embarrassing titles are no fun.

I admire artists who's titles fit somehow into their worldview, almost as works of art in themselves.  Like the dadaists and surrealists working with nonsensicality, picking names out of random encyclopedia pages for their titles (see the surrealist game Exquisite Corpse).  Part of the problem there is you have to really know the landscape of your world in order to find the titles that exist within that world.  I guess that's what this summer is supposed to be for.  I'm looking forward to when I've thoroughly investigated this world of mine to the point of knowing it inside and out (and receiving that third MacArthur) Until then, I guess I'll just stick with my current titling methodology.  Procrastination...

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