2005/05/07

Answers for contemporary visual arts (Part 1)

I'm sick and tired to read and listen to all the non-sense that is ascribed nowadays to painting and more generally to visual arts. I have enough of all this stupidity and I feel the urge to say out loud and clear that we have to make sense a-new of the act of painting and image making. The art of image making has nothing in common with advertisement nor with fashion nor with design nor with "whatever visual" nor anything related to money making.
The free-market ideology would like us to believe that the most representative artists nowadays are the ones whose works are sold to the highest bidders at art auctions but those artists are not necessarily the ones that history will remember for the very simple reason that they are not representative of the worldview of tomorrow that is starting to shape under our eyes today...
The real innovative artists today are the ones who grasp what is going on in terms of the changes occuring in humanity's worldview and are thus led to see the new worldview that is emerging. Those are the real visionaries whose images will help humanity crossing the bridge towards the future and their works will be remembered on that very particular merit.

Visual arts have to be brought back to their original functionality and if we can't do this lucidly and in all consciousness then, I'm afraid, we'll eventually have to accept societal necessity and its forcing this upon us in one or another reactionary fashion... Is it not Mr. Kimball ?

In summary my position is that "... art is an instrument of unification of human soieties behind the worldviews at the hands of the men of knowledge and the men of power of the time through its imaging of those worldviews at the attention of all the citizenry."

What remains largely unanswered in my writings is how art came to forget about its function at illustrating the worldview of the men of knowledge and the men of power at the attention of all the citizenry in late modern times.

In "SOCIETIES STABILIZE AROUND WORLDVIEWS" I wrote:
"a society is unified and stable when a large majority of its citizens make theirs a given worldview.
Humans are social animals who, historically, assembled into larger and more complex groupings. In other words our collective organization underwent successive changes leading to vaster assemblings of local groupings. The unification into larger groupings and their preservation necessitated the sharing of a similar understanding of reality by all the members of the group = view of the world = vision of reality = worldview.
The assembling of those groups was always very fragile so, to assure its survival, the collectivity was in need of a binding glue that took the form of belief systems accepted by all individuals.
This gradual and evolutionary process follows the road of humanity: the conflictual interaction between the two societal polarities constituted by the individualities and the collectivity. The interaction between those polarities is indeed what generated the energy that drove and continues to drive societal change. On one side the collectivity imposes conformity to a worldview and on the other side some individuals want to follow their own ideas and do not tire until reaching acceptance by the collectivity by which time their so called deviance transforms into innovation and they are applauded by all.
Over time the belief systems or worldviews of dispersed groups were translated into coherent sets of axioms gaining their societies, that had been unified through force, a unified interpretation of the principle of reality. Such unquestioned axioms formed the roots, the foundations, of all civilizations. "

Human societies developed along lines of always deeper interdependence between the concepts of "the road of humanity", "power", "knowledge" and "worldviews".

If we agree with Duchamp's quote that "In fact until the last hundred years all painting had been literary or religious: it had all been at the service of the mind. This characteristic was lost little by little during the last century" then we have to answer the question "how art came to forget about its function at illustrating the worldview of the men of knowledge and the men of power at the attention of all the citizenry". Answering that question imposes us to resolve the problem of the mysterious disjunction between power and knowledge that happened sometime during the emergence of modernity:
- when the worldviews of the men of knowledge stopped to be imposed on everyone by the men of power
- when freed from an imposed worldview everyone started to consider that their own views were reflecting the "truth" about "reality".
This is indeed the fertile ground out of which societal confusion would grow and develop unhindered into the aberration of late societal modernity that is characterized by a complete imbalance with extreme individualism tilting towards the atomization of our modern societies. Such an imbalance is deadly.
We are acting as if we were the atoms of a "material entity" that decided to going it their own way. But this is only an ideological illusion, for, the atoms are nothing on their own. The nature of their being is to being a particle of the "material entity". That is exactly what gives sense to their own existence. Going it their own way the atoms would only succeed to destroy the "material entity" which would be synonymous with their collective suicide.
That's exactly where we are: societal atomization and on the verge of a collective suicide.

The very long haul history, I mean the passages from one societal form to another, is founded in the changes occurring in the realities covered by the 4 concepts of "the road of humanity", "power", "knowledge" and "worldviews" and also their interactions.
In the present state of knowledge that is accessible to us, we distinguish 4 evolutionary stages of societal development:
- animism (small groups)
- religious times (starting with tribal unification under a centralized political power)
- modern times (following the crusades, looting and trade brought riches to some and that accumulated capital imposed on its holders a logic of pragmatism that gradually developed into an ideology of individualism and an ideology of rationality that displaced religious beliefs)
- postmodern times (a postmodern worldview that shapes out of the interaction between a globalizing world, an ideology of all-rationality culminating in science and technology and a rebalancing of the axioms of civilizations)


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