Thursday, May 11, 2006

What is private?

All our events were followed by questionnaires for the artists. After the beach hut session, one artist in response to the question
Q: Can a life drawing session be said to be private/public? Said,
A: Because of society “rules” it can never be public but what is private?

So what is private? Here’s what the American Heritage Dictionary says:

pri•vate (prī'vĭt)
a. Secluded from the sight, presence, or intrusion of others: a private hideaway.
b. Designed or intended for one's exclusive use: a private room.
a. Of or confined to the individual; personal: a private joke; private opinions.
b. Undertaken on an individual basis: private studies; private research.
c. Of, relating to, or receiving special hospital services and privileges: a private patient.
3. Not available for public use, control, or participation: a private club; a private party.
a. Belonging to a particular person or persons, as opposed to the public or the government: private property.
b. Of, relating to, or derived from nongovernment sources: private funding.
c. Conducted and supported primarily by individuals or groups not affiliated with governmental agencies or corporations: a private college; a private sanatorium.
d. Enrolled in or attending a private school: a private student.
5. Not holding an official or public position: a private citizen.
a. Not for public knowledge or disclosure; secret: private papers; a private communication.
b. Not appropriate for use or display in public; intimate: private behavior; a private tragedy.
c. Placing a high value on personal privacy: a private person.

So when does private become public. It might be helpful to add a definition of public:
pub•lic (pŭb'lĭk)
1. Of, concerning, or affecting the community or the people: the public good.
2. Maintained for or used by the people or community: a public park.
3. Capitalized in shares of stock that can be traded on the open market: a public company.
4. Participated in or attended by the people or community: “Opinions are formed in a process of open discussion and public debate” (Hannah Arendt).
5. Connected with or acting on behalf of the people, community, or government: public office.
6. Enrolled in or attending a public school: transit passes for public students.
7. Open to the knowledge or judgment of all: a public scandal.
1. The community or the people as a whole.
2. A group of people sharing a common interest: the reading public.
3. Admirers or followers, especially of a famous person. See Usage Note at collective noun.

From these definitions, it seems to me that the line between public and private is obscure. Private certainly pertains to the individual and public addresses the community at large but still were left with the question what is private? I would suggest that in relations to the ‘Naked Shed’ events, private regards invitation only by one or all of the people involved so really that could include word of mouth. And public suggests being open to the public at large. In that sense were any of our events public?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the partner of a painter, i have found myself as accidental life model. the first paintings of me were done without my knowledge or agreement. The first time i saw the paintings I wasn't happy with this representation of my self, body or actions. over the past year i have had to come to terms with the paintings and put up with the charcoal dust from drawings which gets everywhere at bath time. i'm just beginning to 'pose' for a few minutes before getting into the bath mainly because i want to see the development of the paintings with different poses. i've come to accept that the paintings are entities removed from me that have their own existence. i think that disassociation or abstraction, is the only way that i can deal with the paintings when they are being exhibited. i don't really understand why my partner wants to paint private scenes of his family life to sell and exhibit and i have stopped him from exhibiting some that would make me unhappy to go into public view. i don't know if i'd care if he stopped painting me.

4:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:12 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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2:43 pm  

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