As roughly sketched elsewhere, I’m interested in trying to understand what it means to feel at home in ones own life. And I am especially interested in studying how the feeling of being at home, feeling home-sick, homeless etc. is voiced in art. Today it dawned on me that the concept of the vernacular might be of interest to my unsystematic research
The Vernacular – some Definitions:
- from Latin vernāculus, native, from verna, native slave, perhaps of Etruscan origin.
- the commonly spoken language or dialect of a particular people or place
- applied to a plant or animal in the common native speech as distinguished from the Latin nomenclature of scientific classification <the vernacular name>
- of, relating to, or characteristic of a period, place, or group; especially : of, relating to, or being the common building style of a period or place <vernacular architecture>
- dance, music, art, etc. that is in a style liked or performed by ordinary people
- architecture concerned with domestic and functional rather than public or monumental buildings
All this is very interesting, but what especially caught my eye was this definition from Wikipedia on vernacular photography:
Vernacular photography or amateur photography refers to the creation of photographs by amateur or unknown photographers who take everyday life and common things as subjects. Though the more commonly known definition of the word “vernacular” is a quality of being “indigenous” or “native,” the use of the word in relation to art and architecture refers more to the meaning of the following subdefinition (of vernacular architecture) from The Oxford English Dictionary: “concerned with ordinary domestic and functional buildings rather than the essentially monumental.” Examples of vernacular photographs include travel and vacation photos, family snapshots, photos of friends, class portraits, identification photographs, and photo-booth images. Vernacular photographs are types of accidental art, in that they often are unintentionally artistic.
accidental art, isn’t it just marvelous! The concept of accidental art brings the idea of art down from all kinds of theoretical abstractions and into the ordinary, everyday life – where it belongs; where it is made & perceived, and also, as I see it; into the sphere where art actually can make an interesting difference.
Even if most of us make art by hard work, it still has an accidental side to it, you never know when its gonna happen, when its really gonna work – great work is an accident or a miracle, if you will. It is not something we can control. As the French philosopher Deleuze once put it: Even the best artists rarely make very good art …