Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Offerings, Tallies, Records

Christopher Reiger
"cost benefit analysis"
Pen and sumi ink, gouache, watercolor and marker on Arches paper
12 x 12 inches
"What if, while you read the last few paragraphs, something in the world has changed? What if, during the past five minutes, someone, somewhere, sent you a text? Shouldn’t you go and check?

Being addicted to the wired universe might be perfectly healthy, of course, and it’s certainly defensible beneath the triumvirate of technology, curiosity, and progress. I’m the first to admit that there’s something enchanting and invigorating about my computer. There’s magic in reading a note from a friend in Rome and clicking through Halloween pictures from New Jersey and verifying John Steinbeck’s birth date in two clicks. The Internet is indeed its own strange, blessed fountain of light.

[...I'm] not the first to wonder about all this, [...] not the first to sense that maybe our shared life is rushing by too quickly, too feverishly. [I'm] not the first to feel as if [I'm] scrambling to make [my voice] heard against an infinite and obliterating silence.

During the five days [...] I spent in the mountains, [I] saw lots of Shoshone pictographs, paintings made in caves mostly, and under overhangs: finger-painted elk and owls and dogs and triangle-bodied hunters with bows. Many of the pictographs in that area include hash marks, like rows of fence posts scratched downhill, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what these marks originally meant. Maybe they were offerings to the spirit world, or tallies of successful hunts, or records of vision quests. Maybe they were the consequence of someone sitting beside a fire and thinking happily away.

Whatever they once meant, they mean something else now. They mean memories are fragile, beliefs are tenuous, contexts are temporary. They mean nothing is stable—not mountains, not species, not cultures, not e-mail."

- Anthony Doerr, "Am I Still Here?" (from the January/February issue of Orion Magazine)


Donald Frazell said...

This is why as artsits, our job is to learn our craft, how forms and lines and colors create a visual langauge, how do we create our own? Yes, we depend on the viewer being an intelligent and well ballanced human being, with passions, this will inevitably exclude much of the world. But it is our job to both create a viable visual language, and have something to say in it. Seldom are both done, only by study and constructive self criticism can we achieve this, to cross cultural boundaries, to find what makes us human in essence, so those from any culture can feel something from our works, even if it is a small percenatage who do.

It can, and has been done, but we forgot to pursue this, we got lazy, and sought only the marketplace, of ones own tribe, instead of all of humanity. WE regressed, from Modernisms inclusiveness. Perhaps art wasnt needed for a few generations, but now it is. And only by returning to the basics first, to fundamentals, can we rebuild in ways to reflect who WE are. And these are such places, what makes us human, what the first of our species felt, which is no different than us today.

We may have more knowledge of the natural world, of its makeup, but not necessarily how we live with it. That is what we must recapture. to take only what is needed, to find ballance, of mind, body and soul. Of Humanity, Nature, and God. It can, and must be done. This is where we start.

art collegia delenda est

Hungry Hyaena said...


Indeed, that's a tall order, Donald. As they say where I grew up, "So let's gets to doing."

bioephemera said...

"What if, while you read the last few paragraphs, something in the world has changed? What if, during the past five minutes, someone, somewhere, sent you a text? Shouldn’t you go and check?"

That actually made me involuntarily look at my Gmail tab to see if it was blinking to indicate a new chat. Damnit!!!

Donald Frazell said...

We have gotten lazy in our age of excess, it has been done before, and now our ambition onlyu emcompasses material success. Not creative exploration and relevance. One must begin with commitment and building on hwat came before, like all other who truly succeeded have.

We just wont, and is a condemnation of our society now. But, things are changing. Lets get to work, as art is no longer just a play thing, but part of culture once again, people crave it. But dont know where to look, for what they have been given is nutritionless tofu, entertainmnt, not creative art. So they have gone elsewhere. Sports is far more satisfying. Damn Lakers.

art collegia delneda est