Tuesday, September 4

witnesses, multiple

this blog has changed a whole bunch over its decade or so of existence. some of the changes are probably more obvious to some of you than to me.

if you have paid very close attention, you may know that I've referenced (twice!) the seed of an idea that once upon a time and eventually (today) would become this blogpost. back then, it was in draft form. and it stayed trapped like that in draft form for at least five years.

of course, now I've fiddled with the draft over and over again, for at least five years, and I cannot tell you what the original seed of the idea actually was.

five years ago I put the idea in a list of things I wanted to blog about: "something about Marc Chagall + 2 Corinthians 13:1" 

two years ago I listed it again, as something "about Chagall and repetition and shared-ness," alongside several other ideas, this time hinting that these might be ideas to give up on already.

whether or not I've given up on the idea remains to be seen. I'm writing this, but will any of what gets published in this blogpost match up with what I was thinking about in 2012?

my memory tells me that I may have been thinking about the remarkable sense of one day knowing nothing about an artist named Marc Chagall and the next day hearing seven different people mention the artist Marc Chagall. or it could be any artist. any name. any concept that's new and interesting. the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, it's called. while I didn't remember the term, I know I've learned it before. what I didn't know, and just now learned, is that the phenomenon got its name in 1994 from a West German terrorist group. interesting.

somewhere in between 2012 and 2016, I actually experienced some of Chagall's art. the images from that trip to the Chicago Art Institute are probably 40% of the reason this old draft of a blogpost has survived so long. 

the textual evidence that has accumulated here over the years tells me that past-amelia, at some point between then and now, was also thinking about ownership.

creative and intellectual property have long been scholarly and philosophical interests of mine. who owns things? when and how does the ownership of things make a difference? why?

Chagall has nothing in particular to do with these thoughts, I don't think. but he is an artist. this stained glass design is his work. nobody else's. his art exists in the world, and it belongs to him in some sense.

but also... it doesn't. Marc Chagall died a year and a half after I was born. his art belongs to his estate, perhaps. to art collectors. it is owned by other people. museums, galleries.

and even if Marc Chagall were still alive, the galleries and museums and collectors and other audiences would could still own--in some sense--this art.

there are many kinds of ownership, just as there are many kinds of authorship, performance, and other art-making-ship.

if not to share some of one's own art with someone else, why does anyone make art?
here are a few other pieces of art and history we saw in Chicago five years ago:

the Art Institute's ownership of the Chagall stained glass piece, and of every other piece of art in their grand space, has made a difference to my experience of Chagall and of life. which is nice. I like to think that art (and non-art too, probably) gathers more and more meaning when more people experience it. more witnesses, more part-owners, more connectedness. maybe.

and now, if the sudden evening downpour has paused, it is time to walk the pug, make dinner, and bake a cake.

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