Wednesday, January 11, 2006
i have developed an amazing knack for wasting time on the internet. today, i decided to see what the big fuss of my space was about. it was, as i supposed, gross. it struck me as very trashy... i decided to see what the kids i graduated from high school with were up to. it didn't take long for me to realize that i really don't care. it was as though there was either a competition for the most obscure\ridiculous tag line and\or the shiniest, most magnificent cleavage. it felt a lot like high school.
it got me thinking about postmodernism, whatever that is. i was reading some artworld magazine a couple of weeks ago... and it was referring to a certain artist's work as reactionary. as if most art is not reactionary. it was clearly being used to imply a sense of negativity to the work. i suppose that we as a society, a group of generations living here, now, are still knee-deep in the postmodern era. i attempted an abbreviated web-search of the meaning of postmodernism... and it was very ironic. i don't like irony, and don't like postmodernism. so i probably approached the subject with a narrow, modernistic attitude.
if anyone is still reading this thing... please help me to understand, seriously, correct me, because i am sure that i am wrong... but if i'm not then i understand that everyone is at once right and wrong. that the nature of postmodernism is indefinable because there is no underlying truth. the world, social structure and norms are only as you perceive them.
this kid, jesse, from high school, i couldn't stand him. he had this theory that everything in the world was only a figment of his imagination. when he ceased to think about them, they ceased to exist. i am pretty sure that this perception of reality is inherent to children, aged birth-7, and brat teenagers who do too many drugs. but, according to what i understand as the basic tenets of postmodernism, that is exactly what reality is made of.
the term postmodern is itself pure reaction. if you function in society at all- you will react. if you function physically, you react. you react to your bodies dependence on oxygen and water by breathing and drinking.
but there are those who spend most of their existence in a constant state of reaction, of competition, tearing down. i consider reaction a negative and consuming process. a near-opposite of creation.
i took a break, because i was going to try to tackle my own defense and consolation of art. the concept haunts me. i'm not even an artist in any conventional sense, but i obsess over the concept to no end. i started by reading The Shape of Content by Ben Shahn (I would start with a Modernist). The book has been helpful, but the thing that has provided the greatest mental jerky is a quote he borrowed from Francis Bacon:
Some there have been, who have made a passage for themselves and their own opinions by pulling down and demolishing former ones; and yet all their stir has but yet little advanced the matter, since their aim has been not to extend philosophy and the arts in substance and value, but only to... transfer the kingdom of opinion to themselves.
"transfer the kingdom of opinion to themselves..." it's like music. sad, terrible music, as it sums up so clearly, so succinctly, my own perception of the state of the shared mentality of an entire era in the history of the western world.
Reaction, for the sake of creativity, for the sake of living philosophy, reaction as a foundation is pure destruction. living and perceiving in a state of anti-truth is a soul and community destroying mechanism. it can do nothing but deepen rifts, further alienate individuals and tear apart the remnants of functioning society.