These days there are no more secrets. Everyone announces everything that’s on their mind, whether on a Facebook status, a Tweet, or an IM. The very texture of our lives has become the basis for both communication and entertainment, and art is left waiting its turn in line. Any form of organized artifice is immediately suspect, like TV shows, media coverage of political and social events, and even the humble novel.
Yet even as we seek to expose ourselves, we do so in a fashion that is revelatory of only the most accessible and mainstream aspects of human character; like the bawdy shows of the Victorian Era that became Vaudeville—overacting and slapstick—the everyday can only show what wants to be shown. Every one of us contains secrets that can never be public, and it takes an artifice born in secret to express this.
The artist traffics in versions of truth, such as an image that is presented or an object dramatizing an action, or a gesture that creates a design or image that in turn suggests another image or design. The gesture or object are both culturally important, but their symbolic repercussions are idiosyncratically poignant in different ways to different people.
So the secret becomes more than a mystery, it becomes a clue to its own answer. What are the questions here, and how do we address them?