Idiosyntactix Strategic Arts & Sciences Alliance
The Incidentalist Manifesto
D R A F T V I
Jan. 20. 2000.
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This document is an Open Expression and can be redistributed at will under the terms of the Idiosyntactix Open Expression License.
Incidentalism is not a discovery, an invention or a style of
art. Incidentalism is an attitude towards art, expression and
enlightenment. It is a practice based upon observations and it's aims are
to maximize the enlightenment of it's practitioners and to maximize the
resonance of human expressions. It is our hope that in doing these things
that our greater understanding of our lives will alow us to live more
satisfied and authentic lives in a more satisfactory, just, and authentic
Incidentalism is rooted in the idea that art is not an
object, but rather art happens in the incident. Art happens when the
actions of artists bring expressions into a state where they can be
perceived and thereby can enlighten, art is in the moment of expression.
It is not our purpose to use art as a tool to demonstrate our own skill
and/or knowledge, rather to use art as an apparatus to provoke the
incident to incite expressions that are beyond our own preconceptions. The
incidentalist's goal is to express that which is beyond their skill and or
knowledge, not to educate through their work but be enlightened by it and
allow these enlightening expressions to resonate unhindered.
"We" are The Incidentalists. We do not include or exclude anyone
from being such. It is up to you whether or not to include yourself in our
open ended "We" as is convenient for your experience, change your mind
whenever you like.
1. The Principal of Open Expression
All Expressions are at the same time Original and Derivative.
Therefor we hold all attempts to claim ownership or exclusive authorship
of an Expression to be the essential FRAUD. Any and all attempts to
control intellectual property are THEFT. Words, Colours, Shapes,
Movements, Sounds and all other forms of expressions can not be owned and
can not be inherently good or bad. We accept that enlightenment and the
resonance of expressions to be the only legitimate reward expected from
the act of art. Stealing ideas by way of the enforced ownership of
expressions and direct material gain from the problematic concept of
"exclusive authorship" is opposed along with all other societal constructs
that thwart the authentic resonance of expressions such as censorship and
unnaturally small circles of editorial prerogative in our public spaces
2. The Principal of the Recipe
Incidentalist art results from a 'recipe.' The recipe is carefully
prepared by the Incidentalist, in the preparation of the recipe the
Incidentalist draws upon the sum of their knowledge and experience to
construct an incident where all factors the incidentalist wants to control
are skillfully planned in order to maximize the potential for enlightenment
and the resonance of the associated expressions.
3. The Principal of Enlightenment
You can not be enlightened by that which you have already
conceived, therefore the Incidentalist always seeks to introduce
uncontrollable or unpredictable factors into the incident of art, even as
simply as leaving certain things unplanned and out of the recipe. If the
outcome of an incident can be imagined by the Incidentalist, then whatever
potential for enlightenment that exists from that action has already been
perceived in the imagining.
In preparing a recipe, the Incidentalist must take great care in
not restricting the potential outcome with over planning, because it is
the unplanned, un-preconceived component of the recipe that allows for the
greatest potential enlightenment. When the incidentalist has enough
experience and confidence, a recipe can be as minimal as a hunch and a
wild idea. While the incidentalist must not avoid planning, especially when
their experience tells them that such neglect will have predictable
results, the incidentalist must always keep in mind that the unplanned has
much more capacity for potent expression than the planned, because it can
reveal the un-preconceived and thereby enlighten.