I find it depressing to think of ourselves as subjects that are always lacking as Lacan says, but it feels like as an artist I am trying to connect to and understand the world in a way that I haven’t been able to before. The world is constantly changing and moving, and we are constantly changing with it, so it makes sense to think that we are never quite sure of ourselves, and always searching for a more whole or resolved version. Art is one way to engage in this search.
Although I do not feel like I make work that is overtly about all of my identity, I am constantly trying to make work to understand my relationship to what I am interested in and why I am interested in those things, and how that fits in the wider world. My art is definitely my attempt to connect to certain parts of myself and the world. This is the way that I see art as an Ideological State Apparatus. Art is influenced heavily by the beliefs and values of society, but since it is a mediation between the self and the greater world, there is the ability to make ideological changes over time. At the end of our discussion, I was left with the question of who/what is the Subject when we are talking about art as an ISA. Althusser gives the example of the church as a Ideological State Apparatus, and it is obvious that God becomes the Subject. He says that the Subject “interpellates all individuals as subjects”, but I cannot think of a single central idea that brings into being all artists as subjects. The church was a concrete example of a ISA, and it was helpful to understand some of Althusser’s ideas, but I am interested in how an institution with less built in structure functions as and Ideological State Apparatus.