to art
being artist
becoming an artist
create alternative ways

….. but, really, it is all about society

h.lemke - todmorden

a – on TA
b – on BA
c – on BAA
d – on art and money, spongers and cadgers

art has problems….
it seems as if art can not exist on its own,
here and today.

a whole army of professions is out there.
an army that pretends to be the prerequisite
for art to exist, to make art happen, to keep the artist going:
the curator, the funder, the reviewer, the theoretician,
the teacher, the researcher, the consultant,
the project manager….

but we know, that’s nonsense.
art exists, art happens – without them.
so,what’s wrong?

then, there is art “education”:
breaths and lives,
moves, and dances,
acts and reacts, …
in ”education” it is forced into
modules, research questions, health n safety regulations,
assessments, accountability, income for the institution.
how can someone learn to be an artist in such a corset?

is a response.
it is written to put things straight and
to remind us of what art is.
It is also written to reflect
different ways of thinking about
how to become an artist.

most of the thoughts in this manifesto are not new.
this manifesto is grounded in and grateful to
thinkers and artists and visionaries and radicals
who thought and acted before.
it is neither the intention of this manifesto
nor it is the ambition of its author to be the first.
this manifesto is an attempt to bring thoughts together,
to adjust ideas to a very specific situation in time.

the TA BA BAA MANIFESTO is written by an artist
who, for the past 20 years, has been
involved in ‘teaching’ art.
he, in a variety of jobs has supported emerging artists
in Germany, England, France, Finland and in South-East Asia.
because of his experiences in various art teaching establishments
and his passion for the process of becoming an artist
this process plays an important role here.

a different approach to how to become an artist will start
in soon in the North West of England.
the TA BA BAA MANIFESTO is the foundation for this experiment.


a manifesto might stand for the obvious;
it might mean that something is clear or conspicuous.
that does not mean, however, that it is not open for debate.
this manifesto, in line with its subject, is process based.

on TA
to art

creative action is Art

Action is Art as long as it is genuinely creative.
Whether or not a specific creative action should be considered to be Art
follows the autonomous decision of the creative activist (ref to paragraph 7)
The relevance of this decision lies in the interaction between the activist
and the witness of activists' action.
The understanding that potentially all creative activity is Art
follows Beuys' concept that 'every human is an artist'.

creative action might not be visible or
materialize in any preconceived form

ref to paragraph 10

to declare creative action
'art' is the process of sharing

The activist and any number of witnesses of the activity
(or of evidence of the activity) enter interactive communication
that is essential for the understanding of the role of the activist.
(ref to paragraphs 7-9)
Sharing itself is a creative action

(therefore) if creative action has a result
then this result
is nothing more than proof of that
creative activity
a result is not Art

If paragraph1 is obvious then this paragraph is the logic conclusion.
It might be necessary to point out that the recognition of non-art-ness
of the product does not decrease the aesthetic values of the product

creative action

it might even have a 'break'

Just as there are no rules for the form of the creative action
are there no rules for any time element of that action.

the verb is the condition for the noun

Creative action in its nature is the verb.
Creative action has the potential to be the noun.
There is no noun without the verb -
There is no THE ART without TO ART
however, there is TO ART without THE ART

on BA
being artist

the artist is autonomous

The artist is free from any artistic rules, conventions,
traditions and reference(s) to any previous Art related matter.

being an artist is a political statement

The artist is free.
An artist is not accountable to any hierarchy or government but to themselves and their witnesses.
The artist and his/her witness form a community
the artist is the original anarchist.

the artist is responsible

Action resonates.
It is in the artist’s responsibility to be aware of consequences of and reactions to creative activism.
Being autonomous allows ignorance of consequences.
To be ignorant of consequences of creative action must be a conscious decision.
Being autonomous does NOT mean that the artists lives without reference to their community.

(therefore) the artists decides on (the level of, direction of, choice of .....) subject, media, discipline, material, methods, responsibility, interest.....

Being autonomous includes these decisions.
The list is longer.

artists don't research

What is obvious needs to be stated considering the status quo of art education:
The established (un)culture of research-driven art practice and art education
results in an elitist breed of brain-heavy dilettantes and parasites.
Art practices and audiences are excluded – art approaches are discriminated.
Talking about Art replaces Art.
those who know only art – understand nothing about it
( variation of “Someone who knows only music, understands nothing about it” Hanns Eisler)

artists follow
autonomous creative curiosity - ACC -
12.5 - if new definitions are needed, then be it so
The mutual benefit, the cross fertilization and the interdependency
of practice and knowledge gathering and knowledge processing is obvious.
Creative action (paragraph 1) is a combination of those elements of artistic practice.

on BAA
BECOMING an artist

BAA takes place
in ever changing situations

There are no established situations in which the process of becoming an artist takes place.
Since it is in the nature of creativity that it follows no rules and set parameters.
(otherwise it would not be creative) there cannot be any rules or set parameters in becoming an artist.
Therefore, for example, trying to create artists in a modular system is
at is best utterly nonsense and at is worst it is deadly.

BAA takes place
on ever changing levels

There are no established levels on which the process of becoming an artist takes place
- ref to paragraph 13.
Interaction between all parties involved in the process of 'becoming an artist'
follows anti authoritarian and non hierarchical principles.
Tutor – student or master – disciple structures are recognized as being counterproductive.
Instead primus inter pares relations will emerge where roles are constantly questioned and
where roles will shift according to knowledge, experience and expertise.

BAA can not take place in any institution

No hierarchy, no rules, no set of parameters, no assessments, no modules .....
means no institution

BAA is in itself a creative process

This obviously follows from paragraphs 13 & 14

17 (therefore) BAA is Art
If paragraph 15 is true and if paragraphs 1-6 are also accepted
then it is in the discretion of the parties involved in
a BAA -process ('becoming an artists') to declare this creative activity to be art.

if BAA needs facilitating
then it can only be facilitated by artists

Only artists bring the understanding of and are able to respond to the reality of the BAA process.

(therefore) in the process of BAA
two or more artists meet

artists turned lecturers are exactly that,
artists turned lecturers - ATLs -

20.5th if new definitions are needed, then be it so
Being involved in
institutionalized production of artists and
research (un)culture (ref to paragraph 11)
contradicts creativity and undermines and finally corrupts artistic integrity.
The creative activism is no longer driven and/or supported
by autonomous creative curiosity - ACC - (ref to paragraph 12)
but by the desire to measure impact, to prove esteem and to raise income for the institution.
ATLs are therefore no longer in a situation to be involved in the process of BAA

BAA is an alternative way to art academies

BAA is creative activism and as such
not an answer but a further challenge


- 23 on art and money,
- draft for a different funding structure to fund ‘to art’
- 24 on spongers and cadgers

23 - 1
in a situation when
a creative activist and a community
are no longer able to form organic entities
then the creation of such a relationship
needs facilitation and enabling.
in such a situation an ideational / imaginary BODY will step in.

The role of an ideational/imaginary body is
usually taken up by a state/
a government/ a council.
This role has one single purpose - it serves.

23 - 2
the BODY has no other role but to
provide / facilitate / enable.

such tasks go with power.
this power needs to be
understood, defined, rejected and avoided.
Recognition of structure is the first step towards change

23 - 3
it is in the sole responsibility of
the creative activist and a community
to decide on all aspects of their relationship
the provider, facilitator, enabler is just that – THEY do not CREATE

23 - 4
aspects of the serving function of the
ideational / imaginary BODY are
facilitating opportunities
and providing financial support

- draft for a different structure to fund ‘art’
new ways and structures to facilitate artistic processes and to enable the
development of artist-community relationships are needed to avoid hierarchy

this is an alternative model:
1. distinguish between art and culture
- culture is the preservation and presentation of ‘THE ART”(i.e. museums, opera houses, theatres)
- art is creative activism, it is ‘TO ART’
2. culture funding comes from other sources than funding for art.
3. all funding for art goes into one big pot.
4. everybody who applies for funding agrees on being potentially called to decide on funding for others.
5. a group of artists is drawn monthly from a pool in which are all names of successfully funded applicants.
6. this group of artists meets once a month.
all funding decisions are made by this group.
the group members receive fair payment for their work.
7. the group decides autonomously on who will receive funding.
8. there is a small team of paid permanent office workers who provide the infrastructure for the decision process and manage the budget.

24 – 1
wherever individuals or groups
are prevented from making decisions
on any aspects of their life’s,
spongers and cadgers
appear and step in.

this is a logic result of hierarchical structures.

24 – 2
in the context of this manifesto
a sponger and/or a cadger
is therefore somebody who lives from the existence of the creative activist and his doing.

24 – 3
without the artist there would be no
spongers and cadgers

- without the artist there would be no art critic
- without the artist there would be no art teacher
- without the artist there would be no art funder
- without the artist there would be no art curator
- without the artist there would be no art dealer
- without the artist there would be no art officer
- without the artist there would be no art theoreticians …
but there is art without any of them!

24 – 4
spongers and cadgers
are given a greater importance
than those they live from.

the relationship between
“host and parasite”
is turned upside down.
it seems as if the host needs the parasites…
as if the the artists needs spongers and cadgers

24 – 5
it is, however, beneficial and healthy
to understand this relationship
to avoid spongers and
cadgers wherever possible

to put the importance in the right order