Friday, June 17, 2011

Contemporary Art is Meaningless

I love the song by the Doves, "Black and White Town" from 2005.  As with many contemporary indie songs, the exact meaning gets lost, but its general meaning seems to reflect a general sense of malaise or frustration born from urban anonymity.  There is a reference to "Satellite Towns" in the lyrics.  I think this is a symbol of the type of machinic feeling of obscurity that pushes human ontology in a new direction, a direction where individuality is lost in the technological matrix.  There are so many types of "faux" identities being created these days as a result.  For a human being it is natural to need to derive some kind of meaning from life, but today this is not as possible as it was before.  We seem to float like satellites lost in space, communicating our desires to those below us or somewhere perhaps out in Space.  This was exactly where I was as an individual in those years moving around Manhattan living and working and trying to "make it" as an artist post 9-11.

The reality is in this sense, Contemporary Art is meaningless.  As we increasingly become more and more technologically advanced, the inherent meaning of art becomes challenged, especially as a "corporate product", whether from individuals or collective entities.  Furthermore, technology has the simultaneous quality of speeding things up to the point of oblivion.  Things become passe too quickly these days, as well as the fact that as technology brings us "closer" together, it is also marginalizing us into mechanical "ghosts in the machine".  Also, as I stated, Contemporary Art is the product of individuals getting lost in a technological matrix and therefore, becomes nothing more than a meaningless flow of absurd representations of anonymity and a sort of machinic existence.  It is a voice of rational need and desire, but that becomes subterfuged by the chaotic reality of globalization and urbanization.  To quote an old graffiti artist friend's statement for downtown New York's modern styles company aNYthing, "aNYthing goes when it's Chaos to create Order!".

Essentially, art's meaning was also contingent to its cultural speaking, it appears that as a result of deconstructing language to the point of nothingness we have simultaneously done the same to art.  Now we have so many styles and approaches and today everyone it seems is an "artist" of some kind.  It is true that it is always possible to reinvent paradigms etc and it is an amazingly diverse time to be in conceptually speaking.  However, it is going to be more than interesting to see if art can counter its quantum personality as urban born, cosmopolitan, global anonymous commodity or absurd flow factor from technological cybernetic feedback loops.  One thing for sure, it will have to derive some new understanding of why it needs "Being There".