An Interlude of
Conscience, Morals and Ethics
A work of art organizes and articulates understanding of experience. Do
ethics attach themselves to the work of art or to the experience from which
the articulation comes?
If sex with another is used as the research for art in order to illuminate
the questions of life, where does morality belong - to the sexual experience
or the artwork?
The writer or artist who feeds life experience into the creation of the
artwork uses this experience as a “standing reserve.” When the standing
reserve consists of the intimate conjoining of the artist with a sexual
partner, then moral and ethical questions arise.
When the tents of the day have been folded and I am stealing away home,
ordering creeps in. The events of the day are placed in my hands to be
turned, as the divine creator whose position I assume, into art. My raw
material is my engagement in society and, being engaged, I am a part of the
raw material. Just as my ordering of this standing reserve is destined by
me, I, as a part of it, am destined and thus lost to it. From the freedom of
non-existence, as I bring the work of art into existence, it enters the
realm where it is now free for the taking - a “free for all.” I can be
judged through this work of art.
My calling is to create art. I live to experience, with this end in mind. I
anticipate the experience I am living as part of the standing reserve and am
myself a part of that future picture. The creation of the work also becomes
part of a standing reserve for the next wave in the future. Where is the
ethical responsibility in this cycle?
The art object, in this instance, is this book, which is also placed in a
visual context as cursive writing on drawings. The truth of the artwork
could justify the sacrifice of the intimacy, of the other, of me and of my
reputation. At this point the public looks at the work and reads it. It can
be digested and contribute to their standing reserve.
Does this reveal anything or just add to confusion?
Sex and morality can also be submitted to this ordering. The development of
a moral code is founded on precedents. Sexual intimacy, when totally private
and enacted with no record taken, doesn't enter the standing reserve. Sexual
intimacy used as a resource for knowledge, as it is ordered, documented and
processed - destines. To communicate outwards, to make public the two way
communication of sex, changes the status of the sex act from object to
standing reserve. Conversely, to remain moral to the act itself within our
present guidelines, our destiny is to remain silent, private, and intimate.
Julie Oakes, Author, Quercia Stories
Excerpts from “An Interlude of Conscience, Morals and Ethics”