Appendix 3

The Abbreviated Notes on How Important Art and Culture Functions.

Very early in my travels, I came to the conclusion that important fine arts were essentially part of cultural language and a fundamental aspect of communications between humans. Not a quasi- formalistic or rhetorical relationships to a reified thing (not text, nor form or taste, nor a one-eyed view of history, nor was it a currency like money, a prop to power or prestige, etc) that is somehow apart and separate with all its peripheral aspects. It is meaningful language mediation between real people living in real time and therein lies its vital function. Meaningful art, over time, changes something essential within the imagination of receptive people. Time also reveals arts important dialogue with cultural universality the most important achievement of any cultural movement.

As Kazantzakis writes[1] in his own modern chronicle about ideal time.

Learn…that time has cycles and that fate has wheels and the mind of man sits high and twirls them round…’.

 

In authentic art both subject and object clash together like musical cymbals, or gyrate together like gifted dancers and they resound and swirl as they create internal imaginative models, that can change  the affective colour of human desires, wishes, identities and fantasies at the level of microcosm or macrocosm. Culture is as close to people as the clothes that they wear but is of a more imaginative nature.

 

But this cultural process can also regress or progress and this can be measured broadly by the types and qualities of desires, wishes, etc, of the people that it influences over a long period of history via the enculturalisation processes.

If we could reverse this vast and epic enculturalisation process, then we might observe in fast or slow motion, how a culture influences the language of  people’s interior life; how affects and concepts are formed over a lifetime, and which ones are reinforced and others left to wither and disappear as whole new sensibilities are created across social relations.

 

This humongous process itself swings on gigantic and gargantuan hinges across generations, classes ,genders, races, nations and civilisations and selects and rejects many variable outlooks, feeling zones, as it helps create types of people with both different and similar sensibilities at various periods in history.

 It was always so with Homo Sapiens.New research is showing that in an anthropological sense the first humans separated themselves from Neanderthals with the aid of language and the arts.With music, etc which other species did not possess.With language and the arts the newly evolving Homo Sapiens could share conceptual recognition of the external and internal worlds with emotions,affects, intutions and perceptions.As a collective tool this gave them the advantage over Neanderthals and others.It aided their adaption.Their evolution could be more holistic and not just a pragmatic hand to mouth existence.

 Much later in human civilisation things could become more complex.

When any cultural academy; old or new begins to contemplate its own aesthetic navel for whatever reason, then its language can fragment and become increasingly on the one hand to be formally sterile, or on the other, it can appear problematic and self- regarding. It  can nudge towards the condition of psychological and aesthetic narcissism, solipsism and estrangement. In a way it starts talking or mumbling to itself as it looses focus, purpose and its raison d’etre; Like an aging courtier down on his luck.

The aesthetic then fractures into pieces with either subject or object hurled in different directions and as a consequence living culture shifts house to somewhere else.

This later trend towards solipsism becomes a culture that is increasingly subjective and becomes one of emphatic self –emptying. As its empty idiolects become an evasive, esoteric attempt to move from a certain angle to simulate or deaden language, but fundamentally, in the visual arts it reflects a pseudo culture essentially reflecting reduced human and ontological dimensions without possessing a valid location, nor an authentic or lasting name .It short, it looses essential address.

Art is essentially a special magical gift that humanity gives to itself and cannot really be a commodity.As far as possible, it attempts to address the timeless as instinctively felt and conceptually percieved within the evolving human comedy.

The tricky part is how the aesthetic desires and wishes relate to ideas, as well as to the systematic orchestration of ideas in ideology (as defined by Eagleton).This could be seen in Christianity,Taotism,  Buddhism, Confucianism, Manicheanism, Epicureanism,Stoicism and Atheism, Marxism, Nazism,WASP Capitalism, Individualism, Collectivism,and even today within Green Enviromentalism. etc. Each have had their artist spokepersons in history for these ideologies.

 At a certain moment these ideologies can stimulate the desires,identities and wishes, etc of real people for a new world  (the oldest desire within human reflection ,which often extends its desparate hope for a new world beyond the grave) in art and culture.  Hegel said something about art being 'the idea made sensual' and we might take this further by adding that art is the idea made 'desirable',ect'). But organised ideas as ideology tend to die and ossify once the ideology losses its address-that is when it is no longer historically progressive,ie, it then fuses  and ossifies into rigid dogma.One cannot go back to Stalinist ideology and make important art from its source.Also WASP Capitalist culture (the quasi bourgeoise / individualism of 'I did it my way' modes of  thinking and feeling ) is now undergoing a similar transgressive fate, because of the financial meltdown,etc. There are now no new Americas full of resources and private greedy individuals to revive a dying ideology.

 Culture and the Arts functions to create 'desirable identities' through the medium of various languages and this involves  the joint interaction of both affect and concept . It also includes undesirable identities as its counter point in the dialectic  (this is the obsession of all cultures with villians,the grotesque, fools and constructs of evil, etc)

As children grow they experiment with both kinds of  desirable and undesirable identities and watch the effects on themselves and others.

 All this is modulated by ideology in the enlightenment sense of systems of ideas as to what might be these desireable identities- and these are linked to the enculturalised  needs of the time.

 For example, look at the rise in the Italian Renaissance of the 'gentleman/courtier' after Castiglioni's ideas that appear in his writings.

 These desireable identities are also selected  within the rainbow weave and stratafication  of sociological function as maniest by social class, race, gender and nationality, etc.

 The great new quest is what kinds of 'desireable identities' can be enculturalised within  the late modern period in a time of transition from an Age of the Problematic to the Time of Solutions.

A Green/Socialist ideology and Multiculturalism  is now moving forward -towards a new mythology, hence is capable of stimulating artists and cultural workers in the kind  and quality of  the counter -world  paradigms that  they create.

But the present cultural gestures of artistic experimentation from Post Modernism can be seen more critically as contemporary conceits, which are types of ‘mixed conceits’ (known in the 16thC as 'disadaitoto concetto') which have in the main become estranged, depersonalised and even orphaned and homeless.

 Bigger issues and themes are arising.

 



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