Bikes Alive Logo by Everything Popular is Wrong
We are in a cultural rut. A monotonous repetition penetrates every facet of our lives. While this may seem very cynical, it is a concept that I continually end up returning to in my work. Earlier this week I came across a brilliant article by Kurt Andersen in Vanity Fair entitled “You Say You Want a Devolution?” which explores the depth of this rut. Although he offered no solutions, he raised a number of interesting points summing up the problem stating:
“I feel as if the whole culture is stoned, listening to an LP that’s been skipping for decades, playing the same groove over and over. Nobody has the wit or gumption to stand up and lift the stylus.
Why is this happening? In some large measure, I think, it’s an unconscious collective reaction to all the profound nonstop newness we’re experiencing on the tech and geopolitical and economic fronts. People have a limited capacity to embrace flux and strangeness and dissatisfaction, and right now we’re maxed out. So as the Web and artificially intelligent smartphones and the rise of China and 9/11 and the winners-take-all American economy and the Great Recession disrupt and transform our lives and hopes and dreams, we are clinging as never before to the familiar in matters of style and culture.
We seem to have trapped ourselves in a vicious cycle—economic progress and innovation stagnated, except in information technology; which leads us to embrace the past and turn the present into a pleasantly eclectic for-profit museum; which deprives the cultures of innovation of the fuel they need to conjure genuinely new ideas and forms; which deters radical change, reinforcing the economic (and political) stagnation. I’ve been a big believer in historical pendulum swings—American sociopolitical cycles that tend to last, according to historians, about 30 years. So maybe we are coming to the end of this cultural era of the Same Old Same Old. As the baby-boomers who brought about this ice age finally shuffle off, maybe America and the rich world are on the verge of a cascade of the wildly new and insanely great. Or maybe, I worry some days, this is the way that Western civilization declines, not with a bang but with a long, nostalgic whimper.”
Personally I can’t help but feel the more monotonous the present the more the imagination must seize upon the future. The percivity of the precent should be replaced by the activity of an imaginary future. However, in this interminable present we find ourself doing the exact opposite. We are looking to the past to seek comfort, and becoming trapped.
This weekend I discovered the work of London based artist, Mark Powell.
I particularly liked Powell’s use of old envelopes as the canvas for his portraits of the elderly. Rendering the portraits with nothing but a standard bic pen, the envelopes really add another dimension to his work. You can check out more of his work here.
One of my favourite photo blogs has to be The Atlantic’s In Focus. The editor, Alan Taylor, uses images to tell various stories from breaking news and historical topics to culture high and low. Sometimes, it’s just showcase amazing photography.
The other week, In Focus posted a series of the best volcano related photos from the past year, and there are some seriously beautiful images. The first image was taken from Puyehue volcano near Osorno in southern Chile, the middle photo from Nahuel Huapi Lake in Villa La Angostura in southern Argentina, and the last image is also from southern Chile. Pretty crazy stuff. Check out the full series here.
Clothing company, complexgeometries, has teamed up with Jason Last to create a film entitled THE KING’S SON to showcase styles from their spring | summer 2012 collection. The full length film is expected to be released in the coming months, and will feature original music by one of my favourites – Grimes.
Artist Yayoi Kusama constructed a large domestic environment, painting every wall, chair, table, piano, and household decoration a brilliant white, for her latest installation at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. Over the course of two weeks, children visiting the gallery were given thousands upon thousands of coloured dot stickers and were invited to collaborate in the transformation of the space into this brilliant explosion of colour.
The installation, entitled The Obliteration Room, is part of Kusama’s Look Now, See Forever exhibition that runs through March 12.