Willats Chapter 2

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S.W. At that time I was working in a philosophical think tank which was linked to Cambridge of young philosophers. Wittgenstein was around at the time, and Merleau-Ponty; there were a kind of young constructivists. And in a way Conceptualism in the 50s in England was very much part of a sort of constructivism, that's the only area in which you could exist within. I was working with them. We got this idea of making kind of relationships with mathematicians who were working on probability theory or random variable theory. And this is how it started out. I started to think about the role of the viewer in relationship to a work of art and realized in a way that there were all kinds of variables that this relationship was dependent on, the idea of relativism. That was a very important sort of idea. Lots of things grew out of that. This idea, the fundamental role of the audience then developed to thinking: what was the functionality of our practice in society? Did it really have a kind of... Could it originate visions, ways forward, transformations of the way we approach the fabric of society that we move through? This let me to, sort of, to start to realize that the historical kind of... a sort of precedences under which artists were operating in England at that time were totally inadequate to deal with the new social landscape that seemed to be emerging in the early 60s. Consequently, I saw that in other areas of information – communication theory, even advertising, cybernetics of the time - these were other territories of information which were of importance and relevance to the approach of this new kind of cultural landscape that seemed to be dawning at that time. I made connections with this thought of thing... and began to think about the functionality of our practice, and this lead me to thinking in a way that, as such, the role of the artist wasn't really important as an artist. I came to reverse this thinking later on in the 60s, but at that time I thought maybe the artist could operate within the interpersonal fabric of things and to transform, to reorganize it within a kind of network of society, between people, and in reorganizing this sort of network between people would originate new kinds of philosophical... or just people feeling how they were, how they approached the world around them. So what I'm saying here is that the network between people has a relationship to other people and sources of information. How it moulds – does really have an effect on moulding how we approach things... This was a sort of original kind of development; but so there is a sort of connection with ideosocial relationships but...


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