2004/11/14

Solid knowledge about reality

Artists are within the best placed to experience this interaction between philosophy and science for the good reason that they are somewhat protected from the dramatic effects of the tornado. I mean that the physical marginality, the isolation that is necessary for the creative act is like shielding them from the trepidation, the non-ending demands on the individuals who are plunged in salarization. In modern and post modern times, it is as if artists were forgotten by society and as a result they can indulge in their inner self and are let free to think and act if they so desire, out of the conventional lines generally admitted by our societies. But we should not jump into premature conclusions, this particular position of the artist does not, by itself, supply the artist with his daily dose of thinking, it only helps create a favourable environment for ideas to sprout. We should indeed remember that sprouting is the act of seeds and those emerge out of maturation with the blooming of an individual specie, plant or human. So someone's possibility to think and to act is ultimately and decisively dependent on the maturation of his knowledge and of his general culture.

I think that in late modern and early post-modern societies, knowledge and culture are acting as the necessary breeding ground for creativity to blossom. I think also that knowledge and culture are somewhat akin to the parapets on the bridge to the promised land of consciousness that is given to our attention by the reflection of the image of the global village in the cosmic mirror. And I bet that recognized artists in the 21st century will be the ones who accumulate a valid base of knowledge, knowledge of their own culture and history, of the cultures and histories of the other people of this earth, knowledge of the scientific understandings of our times as focusing on the micro levels of reality and knowledge of the different philosophic approaches of the people of this earth as focusing on the macro levels of reality.

Knowledge acts as a springboard for creativity, it projects a little further into reality and could redefine the artists and other free thinkers of the 21st century as the potential wise men who first could experience a global consciousness as a result of their integration of philosophical inquiries with scientific methodologies and data.

But will artists size upon this opportunity? This is absolutely not a given fact, it requires indeed much humility, time and perseverance to reflect upon oneself and to study the mysteries of the sky, the earth and the self. Notwithstanding those uncertainties, let's remember that art is something as the production of an expression or if you prefer an impression of the inner feelings and ideas of the artist. So we understand that an artist's productions are intimately related to his knowledge. The better his knowledge base, the better we can expect his production to be. Not advertisement of an ideology but expression of an idea, of a feeling through the use of a technique. In other words, content, the artist's personalized content will find central stage in artistic creation and beauty or ugliness will more and more relate to the content of a work.

It makes indeed no sense anymore in the twenty-first century to continue to photo-paint landscapes, people or whatever when everyone is given to simply use a camera, shoot a perfectly realist image and manipulate its pixels through a photo imaging software. In other words, landscapes and portraits are artistic subjects of a past period in our human history and they somehow transmuted into artistic commodities offered to the masses on the market for interior design and decoration.
It makes also no sense anymore to continue to illustrate the ideological trappings of religious or political half baked truths as it makes no more sense to plunge ourselves into the different distortions of reality as described by the twentieth century observers of the technological alterings of our visions of reality. Cubism, futurism, formalism and other approaches were forms with one foot in the past and one foot in the future. They are the soul of the historic intersection between early-modernity and modernity: relegation to the dustbin of history of the early-modern and search for sense out of the forming of a new scientific and technological worldview in the making. Force is to observe that those approaches did not succeed to abandon the early-modern artistic subjects of the landscape and the portrait, they only adapted the form of their visual representation.
In modernity two antagonistic forces are at play: the art market and the sense of art. The art market trivialises the sense of art by mediatizing the artists and artists searching for sense in art lose themselves in the ideologies of their days. Both those two forces led to total confusion in the understanding of what art is all about. And in late modernity, it seemed as if art had become "whatever is new", original, in the sense of "never done before".

It seems to me that we are today inside the time-span representing the intersection between late-modernity and early post-modernity. "Whatever has not been done before" is in competition with "the search for a radically new sense of reality".

Artists and free thinkers of the 21st century have to place the bar somewhat higher than the futile "Whatever has not been done before". Let's remember that, as I wrote earlier, those of us who are watching the image of the global village in the cosmic mirror are plunged into a whole new world vision that gives us in some way the means to cross the divide between our present day land of folly and the promised land of consciousness that sits across the bridge from the present. We artists have to cross this bridge but we should permanently remember that the parapets on the bridge are what is protecting us from falling into the absurd and we should remember that those parapets are made of solid knowledge...

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