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Comment on The Aesthetic Ground (part 3)

Xaos Sat, Jan 21, 2012
Wildcat thank you for your warm words, the question is indeed of critical nature. But first to your comment.

“I am very much with you in the issue of softening, though if truth must be told, I think that what we can see in the world is a simultaneous and quite conflicting direction, in which some of us are moving into the softening you describe whilst others are moving away (or back) into a hardening of contours trying to cling to past ideas.”


“The Artist” a 2011 French movie directed by Michel Hazanavicius is a black and white silent movie; the story takes place in Hollywood between 1927 and 1932, the times in which technology irreversibly altered cinema and the silent movie disappeared from the stage giving way to talking heroes. I find it in some aspect funny if not interesting that today this is the movie getting all the attention, just few moments after the production of Avatar.

Cinema I think provides us with a brilliant window into dynamics of ‘fast’ evolution’. At a moment in which the future of cinema is not clear, here comes the trend in which the present is noisy (Avatar) but the past holds our greater days. It seems that at times of fast evolution there is a tendency to look back for wisdom and cling to past ideas, so that a conflict of directionality is inevitably apparent.

But then again, I believe that as a species we are young in the art and science of periods of fast evolution. We register a threat in it and for more than one reason; leaving aside for a moment the more territorial fears (bound to rigid contours of identity at different scales) we understand the threat and consequent fear of not being able to produce a step ahead in the same level of quality of the legacy of steps that preceded our station in evolution (whether cultural or natural). It is a threat to the very criteria of what we hold precious or better yet of what we are, which is not yet balanced by concrete alternatives.

In short, emergence of conflicting direction in periods of fast evolution is inherent and maybe important. This said, I do believe that we have to develop ‘Outposts’ which escape the global patterns and conflicts and are busy in decoding and extracting the intelligence of the particular moment. Neither the past nor the future are full of treasures, yet the present junction of mind and trends, when projected across metaphors of past and future is that which is pregnant with opportunities, whose becoming is to be curated.

The magic of the silent movie was that it reflected all of us to the same plane, with Chaplin WE are, while with Godard it is individuation that takes the lead, but then came Tarkovsky and made of cinema a spiritual technology. Those three masters of cinema are not in competition, it is not that cinema should be that or this, it is the artist that makes cinema relevant or not to its audience.

When entering a metamorphosis we enter a singularity of sorts, one cannot know a priori what will emerge on the other side yet we do have a responsibility of intelligence extraction and of path finding.

So, yes, I do see the function of the artist in the coming future as a protagonist of a cultural softening, whether the motion of softening is inevitable or not. (Here the artist stands as a trait and style of mind not necessarily a specific manifest).

I believe that addressing the soft is a different challenge all together, it is not the loyalty to the medium or to a particular style that count, but rather the ability to articulate anew the interrelation medium-being, so that the emerging alternative will soften the fear from the river of instability that all futures hold.