25 November 2007

Modern Art as an Indicator of Disorder

Suffice it to say that most of all, the rejection of Storytelling, has been one of the most destructive elements of Modern art, as it has always been through stories that we find and express our shared humanity, and it is through stories about life that the greatest art has been created, whether in paintings, sculpture, literature, theater, dance or poetry. Without stories none of the greatest masterpieces throughout history would ever have been able to exist.

Mr. Ross makes a valid point: Modern art, with its focus on individualism, favors personal psycho-political expression over myth. Culture is the combination of ethno-cultural ethos (practical group method) and mythos (archetypal values system of a people), and art is its highest expression.

In the modern West, we are concerned with personal liberties, individual freedoms, material abundance and democracy. This is a large part of our collectively imposed group Weltanschauung. But it’s ironic, actually: this modern liberal zeitgeist espouses with one hand the autonomy of the individual whilst with the other snuffs true decent. Any public opposition of the establishment, if it dose not already conflate with acceptable norms (peaceful assemblage, nasty letters to the editor, etc.), simply is not tolerated, and all under the guise of defending “freedom” and the individual.

This ambiguity causes confusion among the people. They’ve been told so many different definitions of everything that the idea of consensus in the pursuit of higher goals is impossible. Obviously, when this incongruity of thought is applied to liberal democratic government, the result is predictable: disorder, directionlessness, degeneracy, chaos. As diversity increases, consensus decreases, and things must be decided at the level to which the greatest degree of similarity can be found. The lowest common denominator becomes the goal, and it’s getting lower.

This is the ethos of modern art, and the subsequent mythos is actually an anti-mythos, the secularized rejection of myth itself, as when people have nothing in common they have no group values system. Modern art is about abuse, depression, sexuality, corruption, anger, confusion, dissolution – and it’s an accurate expression of our time.

It is my opinion that this is not a good direction. I would prefer a binding ethno-culture; a sense of similitude expressed by deeds and ideas through culture towards ever higher overcoming and transcendence. The struggle towards the Übermensch is indeed a worthy and empowering effort for the individual, but standing alone, little is accomplished. Were this will to power coupled to the memetic ethno-cultural effort… O what glory that would be! And O the stories that would be told!

Art would be transformed from a careless, lazy mish-mashing of disposable symbols and petty emotions into a high form of expressive metaphysical symbolism which not only draws from but builds upon the very essence of a people. If this ideal seems impossible within the current modern intellectual and cultural climate, that’s because it is. O my brothers, break, break the old tablets!



Nathan said...

This post is reminiscent of Guy Debord:

"Struggles between forces, all of which have been established for the purpose of running the same socioeconomic system, are thus officially passed off as real antagonisms. In actuality these struggles partake of a real unity..."

Of course this "unity" is not the kind you propose. What Debord means (in my opinion) is that instances of rebellion within our societal construct are in fact not true rebellions, but fabrications of disorder that actually sustain the modern socioeconomic system.

This implies that within a capitalistic system there is no true disorder. Disorder is expressed in capitalistic terms (Michael Moore movies, pop albums, etc.) and therefore only serves the spectacle.

Perhaps that is why, dare I say, terrorism—which is an “outside” approach—causes such a stir?

Shayne said...

Most rebellions or “revolutions” are, as you say, simply another part of the spectacle, and do little but change the dressings while the methods remain the same. Such decent is the kind you see advertised on TV or “debated” in the entertainment-news media. It’s as effective as democracy (see: it’s not effective!)

However it’s dangerous to lump all rebellious action into this social complacency because there dose exist genuine descent. In the realm of contemporary art I would posit the fascinating personages of Hermann Nitsch and Kim Jones. These men are largely exempt from the capitalist schema because the bulk of their work disregards recompense. From such an outsider position on can legitimately criticize the system.

As far as terrorism, and at the risk of sounding like a nutty conspiracy theorist, I am not certain to what degree such acts against the modern West are undesirable to the eco-political oligarchy. That is to say: there seems to be evidence suggesting such things are constructed, nurtured and directed from within.