I'm firmly convinced that the premise of a healthy thinking resides in the recognition that the societal and the individual are the two polarities of humanity. They are interdependent. They need each other. But at the same time their interactions are fraught with conflict and that conflict acts in a similar fashion as the collisions between the polarities of electricity. The result is a burst of energy that powers the movement forward of their constitutive unity. That means that change in human affairs is powered by the collisions between the societal and the individual.
Beauty is found in the patterns of the near infinite chain of successful biological mutations that led to us being here today and the memory of that near infinite chain of successful biological mutations is stored in the biological memory of humanity hidden from the consciousness of its individual particles.
Visual signs have been around since 100,000 years or more. From the down of time till sometime around 1900 visual signs were giving meaning for all to share and that meaning was contained in the worldview of the men of knowledge of the day. Going back in time we can trace 3 periods:
Environmentalism is an idealist vision at the end of the game of modernity: modernity for all, democracy, interchangeable individual specialised roles... and this idea of a clean-up of the grains of sand falling from the dirty clothes of unconscientious individuals in the gears of this perfect system. Shaming unconscientious individuals for their dirty clothes is now the politically correct talk in town. But it is nevertheless a short-sighted answer.
What is it that attracts people to art? Some say it is "the soul of the artist" in his art that moves them. But what's the soul?
Whatever one likes to call that mysteriously deep gut feeling of the artist for what is beautiful I firmly believe that it relates to something that we are not conscientious of but that nevertheless resides in ourselves.
Contemporary China is undergoing a maelstrom of changes in all fields of life and the intensity of those changes is difficult to grasp if you don't live daily amidst the Chinese. I mean not bathing in the privileges offered in the Western ghetto in exchange for New York like rents but among the Chinese where they live. I have been living in Beijing from 1986 till 2002 on a permanent base and at least half of my time from 2002 till today.
Long distance history finds its roots in chance archaeological discovery. Those roots, at least regarding art productions, go as far back as one hundred thousand years approximately. Perhaps this distance will be pushed back further in time after more chance uncovering in the future. But one hundred thousand years of artistic practice should suffice, for us here, to come to valid conclusions regarding what is art.