Concord, United States

“You did not come here to fix the world. The world is not broken. You came here to live a wonderful life.” Abraham Hicks.

Covered Bridges of Tomorrow

Maybe where you live, there lives a covered bridge too. It’s old, maybe built in the 18th or 19th century. Perhaps it spans a country river, surrounded by woods and old stories. Maybe when you cross it or even see it, some quaint or darker melancholy feelings stir. Covered bridges are part of “the old country” but have taken on a unique place in americana as well. Recently in our gallery hung an interpretation of the covered bridge that really stoked me, in fact it was my favorite piece there. The artist had used home-made paper and some how offset the pages from the main canvas. Starting on the left side, all of the angles of the bridge’s structure elements lead your eye rightward where the lines, pages and canvas merge into the center of the bridge, where a lone woman stands with her back to the viewer, looking off toward….and then your eye falls of the edge of the painting.

One day while examining the details it suddenly hit me – this is about memory, about the pages of yourself bringing you to the edge of yourself. It’s about how experience bridges you forward. Soon after that, this painting showed up in the gallery’s facebook page, and I decided to leave a comment, describing why I loved that painting. The curator saw it and the next time I cam in asked me if I would write comments for all the artwork that gets posted there. I was really excited that he like my words.

The other day I was reading an article in a philosophy magazine that was trying to explain how arguing over whether post-modernism is dead or not, is a moot point as, modernism, in his view, had been replaced by pseudo-modernism. If you ask me his long article was nothing more than a rant about the loss of the “good-old-days,” (doesn’t every generation think that) relying solely on entertainment as his proof. He stated that in modernism the fetish, his word, was on the author. Once an author had released, had published, in whatever form the artist was using, their work, it was done and couldn’t be changed. It was open to interpretation and imitation by the viewer, but essentially authorship retained its glory. In pseudo-modernism, the fetish is the viewer. Essentially he is stating that all forms of reality now require interaction to be valid, using the current offering of television to say that most programming relies on the viewer to take action: to vote, to choose, to create really, the next story plot. If no one votes, then nothing happens. Is it me, or is he really missing the point? Of course reality is interactive. If we’re going on the assumption that art basis life decisions, (and to my mind art is everything) then our relationships within the context of subject/object/ world, depend on interaction.

To me the whole rant is off the mark because he is making a grave mistake by equating technology changes with advancement of society. Technology only effects the modes in which we interact, not the quality of the interaction. Books have the same opportunity to reach deeper as any game show. Any argument that popular culture lowers the intellectual level is false, because the quality is not within the other, quality remains within the self. What technology does do is shorten the distance between other and self. Technology is bringing us to the point of interaction without a physical identification. I can communicate, commentate, observe, without ever coming into physical contact with the actual authors of the content.
With so much information before us, we still, as we always have had to do, must determine what to accept as true self-knowledge, as what in this is me and my place in the world.

I did get to meet the artist. When he came to pick up his painting, the curator introduced us. A very quietly thoughtful man. I don’t know that that opportunity would have existed if the curator had not been impressed with what I wrote on the facebook page. Which of course leads me to the next edge, facing…..

Journal Comments

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