What is this site?
A short explanation of this URL
First and foremost it's a cool word to label my collected thoughts under. So if nothing else, this website is a collection of ideas that I have written, found or stolen. I decided to make it an "-ism" versus simply a blog (which you could argue it really is), because I've found that all the stuff I feel might be of any value to someone else is pretty broad in nature; the stuff that is more related to my life, opinions, and happenings (which I would argue is a blog), I write in notes to friends.
The name itself came from a research project I did years back. I had the thought that there were some works of art (in all mediums) that were made with a certain self-awareness or something-- I wasn't sure what, that became the point of the project. These works had a certain idea, philosophy, feeling behind them, and for lack of a word I referred to it as "Vivicism".
Why was a punk concert different from a symphony? Why was a show like the Blue Man Group different from a traditional dance performance? Why was Alexander Calder different from other sculptors? When you stripped away subject and tone differences there was something else and that difference was that these pieces were all built with the medium mattering to the message. The art of a punk concert is built into the fact that there are people there; the singer talks to the audience, they grab the mic and sing, you jump off the stage and people catch you. With a symphony, all of the people are in the seats and the brilliance of the work is isolated to the music. In fact so much of the performance is built around refining the piece and isolating it from the pollution of distractions and other muddling sounds. Neither is necessarily better but each is trying to create a different experience with the work.
All of these works had and needed life to be what they were trying to be. So in the tradition of all the modern art movements that gave labels to thrusts of ideas, I took the root for life: "Viv" and started calling this integration of life into an art piece "Vivicism".
So when it came time to put my ideas up, I went back to this word that really was unused as it existed only in the folders of my personal seeking and rambling, dusted it off and used it. It seemed appropriate as so much of what I've come to love and believe is based on the idea of participating in life
As an aside: you may notice a fair number of essays relating to or mentioning the StraightEdge Movement. StraightEdge was a belief system born out of the 80's Hardcore punk scene that I signed on to and still hold to. I had up a website, lasxe.org (short for "Los Angeles Straight Edge"), where a lot of these essays were previously published. But as with so many ideologies that are generally anti-establishment, it is unorganized and badly dogmatized. You can have people waving the same flag that wouldn't otherwise even tolerate each other at the same dinner table. Hence I moved away from the flag without moving away from the belief and decided to paste up these writings over here.
--Mark McBride, 2012