2005/03/29

About blogging

SARAH BOXER had a good piece in the NYT CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK this March 29th "On the Internet, 2nd (and 3rd and . . . ) Opinions". Reading this piece I was thinking about my own blogging experience.

On one side I find myself fishing daily since a few years in a large list of art blogs for material of interest I mean that I scan the net for original thinking about this old question "What is art?". But I have to confess that most of the time I feel as if navigating a dry desert. Not much flowering thought but a confusion of dried grasses. As Sarah Boxer puts it "The traditional objects of culture - books, movies, art - are becoming ever more distant. In their place are reviews of reviews, museums of museums and many, many lists." The reason behind the existence of most internet sites and blogs, "Their main purpose, it seems, is to get noticed and linked to by more popular blogs". So then what's the reason behind all the hype? "..., many lists on the Web have distance built into them. Respondents comment less on objects of culture than on themselves, their taste and their memory. The narcissistic lure can be irresistible." I guess that's it, it's all about that big ego. But then what's the point to persevere? Well not everyone is so obsessed with his ego and if patient, among the profusion of dried grasses that is so confusing, one can occasionally discover a sprouting green leave.
I "reblog" daily what I find of interest and Bloglines' reblog function works just fine to share my selection of material with others but with time I came to discover that it does not serve me well personally.
I have presently some 1110 reblogs on my blog In the air of our times. The only problem is that BloglinesReblog has no search function and I can't thus find an article that I reblogged when I need it nor can the visitors of the site. To circumvent this problem I subscribed to CiteULike where I post the reblogged articles that I would like to be able to find at a later date. Ideally a reblog site should be able to combine the functionality of reblogging + the search functionality within the library of reblogged articles. All this to show that Sarah Boxer's conclusions are somewhat exagerated. One does not throw the water in the bath and the baby that sits in it... The web is not a perfect instrument for sure. Its ease of use, cheap cost and endless possibilities, is a powerfull magnet for egos but then what? This is not the only story of the web it only is a dominant trait that one can learn to circumvent.

On the other side I use Crucial Talk as an outlay for my personal thinking about art and whatever Sarah Boxer may peruse about I'm just not sure that there is still an interest out there for original thinking.
As I understand it art nowadays is the prey of merchants and their bureaucratic art-word machine that controls the level of noise about art in our societies. That noise is all a gimnick to catch the attention of buyers and other art lovers. It imposes the content emerging out of the public debate and it keeps the lid over the pot of creativity of our societies in order to keep a firm grip over all substantial financial transactions. But this comes at a high cost. The price of this power to direct and determine the marketability of works of art is paid in superficiality and formalism that are as the marks of the trade in the contemporary public debate about art. In this game substance comes to be seen as a threat against the control of market-freaks. They encourage form which eventually becomes pervasive and what finance can pay takes then an air of normality.
That is our artistic reality in the present but those who control the production of our present have nevertheless no control over what will be the perception of our societies in the future. Van Gogh's experience in the 19th century is by no means exceptional. Painters living today and who will be remembered a century from now are not necessarily known today in the art market...
I know that the air of greed that we breathe presently is conducive to following the road of marketing instead of the road of art. Marketing leads to money and art leads to knowledge about what is reality. Money can buy stuff is it not and appease somewhat the urge of greed so it is generally privileged. Knowledge can only satisfy those who wish to understand reality but how could this be comprehended by those who run after money?

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  1. Anonymous2/10/05 00:37

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