Arthemist Manifesto 2.4

Book coming 2020

I do not write a Manifesto for it to be used as a manual, neither do I wish to dictate, convince or manipulate you towards sharing my ideas, beliefs, and values. Instead, I hope that the Manifesto can inspire one to be active, reflective and thoughtful, for each individual to choose their own path. Living to me is not about following in other's footsteps, or trying to be normal, that to me is killing who one is. However the idea of normality is extremely pervasive in our culture, we are constantly made to feel that we need to have something because we are told that everyone else has it. The phrase "I just want to be normal" and versions of it is a common trope in TV and film. In Norway, there is an unwritten law called “Janteloven” which dictates that you shall not think that you are better than anyone else and you shall not stand out in any way. I will argue that normality is a form of control and not something that is beneficial to the individual or to our growth as a society.

Another reason I write a Manifesto is to unpack why I create. To me, that is the fundamental question. Though my answer starts with a different question: ‘Why do we exist?’ To which I reply, to explore, then to create must be to explore, to create work that can be explored and inspire others to explore. This is not to say that is the only valid answer or the best answer, it is just my answer, nor do the variety of answers sit on a scale where mine is the best. There is no best there is only honesty, to which I must get into greater detail.

I have both the curse and the blessing of feeling like an outsider no matter where I go. It is a curse as the feeling of loneliness is part of my being, it is a blessing in two ways.

1. It enables me to see oppression and the facade that is placed in front of it.
2. It enables me to be in a constant state of struggle.

I am highly critical of how we live as a society, and I believe that if it ever changes for the better our descendants will look back at us with disgust. Therein lies another motivation for making art, a desire for a better society. But what is better? For now, I shall say a society that wishes to bring the best out of its citizens, in contrast to polarising the population, conforming them to static ideas and dealing in binary thinking.

I do not believe in the quantifiable in a traditional sense, rather I believe in a variety of attributes, where the idea of positive or negative is in flux, to the degree that one can no longer describe it within a binary structure, which I see as two dimensional. I believe concepts reside within a multidimensional space, where there are no straight lines, and the nature of a concept is relative to one's position within said space. Imagine a feeling being both pleasurable and painful at the same time, where that fact is not a contradiction. This is a belief that makes describing ideas difficult because we understand concepts in relation to what it is not, for example, light is the absence of darkness. Unfortunately, I must continue to use words or concepts, such as ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’ until I find a form of language that can correctly convey the ideas I am dealing with. I am stressing this point because I believe language creates a limit to what we can perceive, but more importantly, I do not want you to feel I am dealing with absolutes or that the ideas presented are static.

I have chosen the path of the artist because I believe it is best suited to communicate to the people, as the definition of art is fluid. It has a direct link to our humanity across ideas and cultures and it has the potential to hit a nerve in our collective consciousness and brake through established structures of thinking. Unfortunately, people generally support popularised art, which I will argue is a form of self-imposed subjugation. It is in the peoples benefit to support and explore art that challenges one. Many argue that they do not like such art because they do not understand it or that they do not have the preconceived knowledge to appreciate it. I will argue that is precisely why one should like such art because it means that you need to make an effort to understand, and it is that effort which will help one grow.

My methodology for creating art and living are integral to each other. I have a personal path that I am striving to walk. To successfully and fully describe why I create art I will need to define a few ideas such as honesty, happiness, success, struggle, energy, passive and active living, the fool, the teacher and preacher, the purpose of life and more.

I have started to wonder if my definition of art has become to narrow, or that the ideas are so specific that I am in actual fact describing a form of art and not art itself. If I was to give it a name it would be Arthemy, a combination of the words Art and Alchemy. This lays in my belief that an Arthemist transmutes an object, space, time, sound and/or smell through their interaction. Their motivation is not based on quantifiable ideas such as profit, fame or success, rather the Arthemist wishes to stimulate exploration and activate awareness of the moment.

This will not be an objective text, instead, I will write with an opinion, though I will endeavour to present a reflective and thoughtful paper. Much like how Plato wrote his text, not by using empirical studies, but by using personal observations whilst attempting to create a good argument. I do not dismiss objectivity, rather I see it as an unachievable ideal that one should strive for, but never maintain that one has achieved. I believe in subjectivity that acknowledges that right and wrong is dependent on point of view, and the current system of thought. Any person or group who claims that they know the absolute truth is to my mind fundamentally dangerous because I believe such a position of belief restricts exploration and development.

I do not believe in writing a final concluding piece, my opinion is not static it is constantly evolving, from observations, intuition, encounters, dialogue and works by writers, artists, and creators. This is my second Manifesto and I believe there will always be adjustments to the Manifesto as I grow and receive new input, hopefully also from you the reader.

My intention with creating art and for writing a Manifesto is to inspire people to be the best versions of themselves. I believe this to have incomprehensible value. It is also my intention to use this Manifesto as a foundation for my family, for why we have come together as a unit, define what we are struggling for and the values we wish to present to our children. It is with the support of my wife that I am able to create and together we explore.

Kindle Unite Nurture and Stimulate Thought.