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||| The Incidentalist Manifesto |||

Idiosyntactix Strategic Arts & Sciences Alliance

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 environment.

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.

The Principals:

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 and media.

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.

This piece appears on the website of the Idiosyntactix Strategic Arts & Sciences Alliance.

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