coromandal


updates are revisions of dogma
October 25, 2015, 12:10 am
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , ,

Scientism / athiesm / homo economicus is the unassailable three person godhead of our time. Even if things in general are going very badly, and the scientists, atheist and MBA/ economists have all of the power and are making all of the decisions, we still can’t and won’t blame the godhead. Tyson, Nye, Dawkins, Maher, Greenspan are the robed flunkies who design and administer the sacraments in the temple of techno materialist positivism. We follow in lock step.

It is breathtaking that STEM – science, technology engineering and mathematics – our education policy du jour, leaves out the humanities, the very antecedent of freedom. The fundamentalisms of markets, analysis, reason and tech, have replaced and erased history and the arts.

In the seventeenth century we suffocated under the yoke of religion and yearned for reason; today our god is technology and we pine for mystery.

It is hard now to recreate a sense of the almost complete impossibility of not being a religious believer in seventeenth-century England. But as I enter the Apple Store, symmetrically laid out with its central entrance door and an attractively illuminated high table at the far end, a parallel comes to mind. Digital technology seems to fill a large part of the mental space we reserve for faith. (Art, which is often put up as a candidate, is the opium only of a minority.) We depend on technology for the smooth running of our daily lives, if not for our salvation. We make obeisance to it, we feel obliged to buy into the whole package, rather than selecting and rejecting individual technologies. There is the familiar choice between minutely differentiated sects (Apple or Microsoft), but all must share the same basic creed. Upgrades are like revisions of dogma in which we have no say, but which we are bound to go along with anyway. To reject the technological is to declare oneself a heretic, a position as inconceivable now as declaring oneself an atheist in the 1600s.

Richard Dawkins’ moralizing atheism: Science, self-righteousness and militant belief — and disbelief
I agree with Dawkins more often than I do with the church. So why do I find Dawkins the more annoying?
Hugh Aldersey-Williams

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to get by or to thrive
April 12, 2014, 2:38 pm
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: , , , , , ,

There are three kinds of people in a world set up for only two kinds: money people, service people and artistic people in a money and service world. No provisions are made nor needs required for the artistic in this world so if you’re artistic you are in a real limbo. But mere work and mere survival shouldn’t be enough; meaning counts a lot and artists contribute meaning. The choice is ours, to get by or to thrive.

From an article by Garry Gutting:

This talk of “a subject they love” brings us to the real crisis, which is both economic and cultural (or even moral). The point of work should not be just to provide the material goods we need to survive. Since work typically takes the largest part of our time, it should also be an important part of what gives our life meaning. Our economic system works well for those who find meaning in economic competition and the material rewards it brings. To a lesser but still significant extent, our system provides meaningful work in service professions (like health and social work) for those fulfilled by helping people in great need. But for those with humanistic and artistic life interests, our economic system has almost nothing to offer.

The Real Humanities Crisis, By GARY GUTTING

 

 

 



the artist is a wanderer

Damien Hurst diamond skullH. and I went to the MOMA several months ago.   It feels like a mall, he cautioned, a cynical assessment that turned out to be true.  I don’t like malls, and I didn’t like the experience of the MOMA that day.  I found myself wanting to maximize the experience, judge the work, mark my progress as I walked through the galleries from the top floor down.   It was an exercise in analysis rather than an experience in the realm of the senses.

What is a gallery for, we could ask. A repository of things deemed great with hours during which people may go to admire and inspect them? Or a sanctuary in which people confront and are transformed by the minds and work of great artists?

In his essay Laissez faire Aesthetics Jed Perl makes a case that our museums and galleries – and the art in them – are repositories, not sanctuaries. He describes our art as undisciplined, unimaginative, lacking conviction, contextless, questioning, incomplete, a spectacle, uncertain, disappointing and confusing. All this comes, he says, from laissez faire: the belief that if you leave it alone it will turn out better.

So perhaps we could turn our repository galleries into sanctuaries by putting a nail in the laissez-faire coffin.

Here is Perl:

Drop into the galleries for an afternoon and you will probably find yourself amused. I do. But when I go back to the galleries week after week and month after month, I find that my impressions become increasingly unstable. I feel uneasy. And I know that I am not alone. Although gallery goers are stirred by contemporary art and museumgoers are having extraordinary experiences, there is a widespread feeling that nothing really adds up—either for the artists or for the audience. No matter how eye-filling the encounters that people are having with works of art, these experiences can end up somehow unsatisfactory, stripped of context and implication. For inveterate gallerygoers the art world has come to resemble a puzzle to which nobody really has any solution. And why is there no solution? There is no solution because too many of the pieces are missing. The shared assumptions about the nature of art that ought to bind together our variegated experiences are nowhere to be found. Look behind the art world’s glittering collage of a façade and you find a pervasive uncertainty, a culture adrift in sour disenchantment. There is so much disappointment and confusion around the very idea of art that even when the art does not disappoint, people find themselves backing away from the experiences they have.

[…]

What laissez-faire aesthetics has left us with—in the museums, the galleries, the art schools, and the art magazines—is a weakening of conviction, an unwillingness to ever take a stand, a refusal to champion, or even surrender to, any first principle. More than anything else, what laissez-faire aesthetics threatens, with its insistence that anything goes, is the disciplined imagination without which an artist is rudderless, a wanderer in the wilderness.

Laissez-Faire Aesthetics, Jed Perl, Magicians and Charlatans



Alice the March Hare the Queen and Dali

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into the arms of the priests
September 3, 2009, 12:33 am
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , , , ,

Here is a bit of dialogue from Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal in which Jons, the Knight’s squire asks a fresco painter in a church about his painting of death and the plague.

The Seventh Seal is about a Knight who is returning to his castle after spending time fighting in the Crusades.  He is devout, preoccupied, a believer.  His squire Jons is a much better source if you like your information straight up, as we see in this scene.

The Painter knows who butters his bread and is the conduit for a culture of fear used by a priesthood to control their people.  Of course, he won’t admit it, but the insightful Squire has no problem labeling the art as propaganda.

JONS:  What is this supposed to represent?

PAINTER:  The Dance of Death.

JONS:  And that one is Death?

PAINTER:  Yes, he dances off with all of them.

JONS:  Why do you paint such nonsense?

PAINTER:  I thought it would serve to remind people that they must die.

JONS:  Well, it’s not going to make them feel any happier.

PAINTER:  Why should one always make people happy?  It might not be a bad idea to scare them a little once in a while.

JONS:  Then they’ll close their eyes and refuse to look at your painting.

PAINTER:  Oh, they’ll look.  A skull is almost more interesting than a naked woman.

JONS:  If you do scare them …

PAINTER:  They’ll think.

JONS:  And if they think …

PAINTER:  They’ll become still more scared.

JONS:  And then they’ll run right into the arms of the priests.

PAINTER:  That’s not my business.



fort wall street
December 23, 2008, 1:23 am
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , , , ,

lordy-rodriguez

This is map made by the artist Lordy Rodriguez for the Get Lost show at the New Museum on the Bowery.  There is a description of the intent of the show below.  Have a look at the other maps here.

Rodriguez’s map shows Manhattan at some future date.  It is a clear and perhaps alarming view of a very different time.  The island, Central Park, the Hudson and East Rivers, Broadway, the world trade center and Brooklyn are all recognizable elements that tell us we are in Manhattan.  However there are changes which mark drift from the ideas and forms that make up the New York we know today. Continue reading



laziness practiced and perfected

(Balthus, Vee Speers, James Lavadour, Roger Ballen)

Stilinovic is an artist from Croatia.  For him, thought, amnesia, indifference, non-activity, pain, stupidity and futility are virtues.  We must practice these things and perfect them.  Or we will end up as mere producers, promoters and competitors.

As an artist, I learned from both East (socialism) and West (capitalism). Of course, now when the borders and political systems have changed, such an experience will be no longer possible. But what I have learned from that dialogue, stays with me. My observation and knowledge of Western art has lately led me to a conclusion that art cannot exist … any more in the West. This is not to say that there isn’t any. Why cannot art exist any more in the West? The answer is simple. Artists in the West are not lazy. Artists from the East are lazy; whether they will stay lazy now when they are no longer Eastern artists, remains to be seen.

Laziness is the absence of movement and thought, dumb time – total amnesia. It is also indifference, staring at nothing, non-activity, impotence. It is sheer stupidity, a time of pain, futile concentration. Those virtues of laziness are important factors in art. Knowing about laziness is not enough, it must be practiced and perfected. Artists in the West are not lazy and therefore not artists but rather producers of something… Their involvement with matters of no importance, such as production, promotion, gallery system, museum system, competition system (who is first), their preoccupation with objects, all that drives them away from laziness, from art. Just as money is paper, so a gallery is a room.

Artists from the East were lazy and poor because the entire system of insignificant factors did not exist. Therefore they had time enough to concentrate on art and laziness. Even when they did produce art, they knew it was in vain, it was nothing.

Artists from the West could learn about laziness, but they didn’t. Two major 20th century artists treated the question of laziness, in both practical and theoretical terms: Duchamp and Malevich.  Duchamp never really discussed laziness, but rather indifference and non-work. When asked by Pierre Cabanne what had brought him most pleasure in life, Duchamp said: “First, having been lucky. Because basically I’ve never worked for a living. I consider working for a living slightly imbecilic from an economic point of view. I hope that some day we’ll be able to live without being obliged to work. Thanks to my luck, I was able to manage without getting wet”.

Malevich wrote a text entitled “Laziness – the real truth of mankind” (1921). In it he criticized capitalism because it enabled only a small number of capitalists to be lazy, but also socialism because the entire movement was based on work instead of laziness. To quote: “People are scared of laziness and persecute those who accept it, and it always happens because no one realizes laziness is the truth; it has been branded as the mother of all vices, but it is in fact the mother of life. Socialism brings liberation in the unconscious, it scorns laziness without realizing it was laziness that gave birth to it; in his folly, the son scorns his mother as a mother of all vices and would not remove the brand; in this brief note I want to remove the brand of shame from laziness and to pronounce it not the mother of all vices, but the mother of perfection”. Finally, to be lazy and conclude: there is no art without laziness.

Work is a desease – Karl Marx.

Work is a shame – Vlado Martek.

–The Praise of Laziness, Mladen Stilinovic