What’s on my mind as this week unfolds (first week in June 2012)?

There has been a media story about the deaths of two adults, one male and one female, where opening accounts included information about the man’s profile as including a sexual attraction to minors. How marked this was is certainly unclear but in my thinking I am joining this episode with another that took place in the New Zealand media in late December of 2011. Again, in this media item there was violence. The young man had sexual contact with a girl who was injured very seriously.

My thinking is about how these cases are being offered up to us in the media and does this tell us anything about ourselves both as a culture and as a society. The issue of minor attraction is certainly not a uniquely New Zealand social issue. Because I live here my interest is in the local forms this item takes, how is it managed, talked about, how it sits with us 2012.

So it is my plan to check some facts, do some thinking, and write. Come back later and what’s on offer may be of interest.

Eastwood and burning bag

Does setting one’s handbag on fire make art happen?

Eastwood and burning bag

Francesca Eastwood burns $100,000 handbag. Photo: Tyler Shields [NZ Herald, 30 May, 2012]

Having read the media item where Clint Eastwood’s daughter and friend set alight to a very expensive handbag a response text emerges. After writing it a couple of times up it goes on Facebook and later a text emerges here. My text has shifted a bit.

Initially I thought the stunt was a major flop and sided with those who saw the action as rather selfish and pretentious. I couched my opinion in a speak that was freed from too much emotional vocabulary and my Facebook comment ends on the position Рthis is not art. Now I sit and wonder, what is art? Yes, the link to a profile of where the art event occurs, links to pre-existing profiles for those who perform the action, social context and discourse. OK, fine, and yet have I allowed myself, in the name of critical theory, to basically say art is in the service of some kind of notion of privilege. After all the links to who  says what, profiles of who acts and venues where the item sits or the art event happens, all have to do with positioning. Does my belief that art can serve a critical role save me? That is up for more thought.

So have I changed my mind from my Facebook post or is this a question of just being somewhere else with my thinking but nowhere in particular – the later ….

If you do want to set alight to a $100,000 handbag, let me know, I’ll get a really good copy made, you or I can sell the thing and you can give me the cash. I could use the money to live on for a while. Mind you I might have to tell WINZ.