Staying Relevant

I have very simple criteria for art, music, anything creative – EITHER IT QUESTIONS THE STATUS QUO, OR IT RE-AFFIRMS ETERNAL IDEALS. EVERYTHING ELSE IS DOG SHIT- in other words, if it doesn’t question the status quo, or it doesn’t affirm eternal ideals, then it isn’t equipped to deal with progress we as a species need to make… it’s good in it’s own context, but that’s where it’s relevance ends…

Maybe I should define that a bit… So by “Question the status quo”… it’s quite a general term. But I mean it very specifically. To me “Questioning the status quo” means anything that offers transcendence from the reflexes that restrain humanity. REPEAT… So reflexes like, victimhood, protest, external saviour- none of this offers transcendence. These are all engrained reflexes that hold us back as a species. So that rules out religion, that rules out anything based on ideology – even a little bit… If I get even a whiff of ideology – it’s dog shit. Doesn’t matter if you had good intentions, if its ideological, it’s dog shit.

With one exception… if an artwork isn’t transcendental in nature, but is so well executed, and the artist is clearly invested all their faculties into the work, and it’s not lazy, and it’s a display of the limits of their human brain and 10 fingers (or however many fingers they have)… then it acquires a transcendentalism, because it’s technically well executed. Because through that, even though it may not question the status quo, it still retains a humanism, a celebration of art, of humanity… so it expressed something eternal… So you can always side-step questioning the status quo, just through really, really, really good execution…

Which leads me on to “re-affirming eternal ideals”… so this is fairly simple. This would be anything that seeks to express something eternal, sacred, essential, natural… it could be a celebration of nature, it could be a creation of an experience that induces a feeling of eternity, or focuses us on somewhere else… For art or music that does this, the execution is not so important actually, so long as it delivers. If it delivers an eternal ideal, then it’s all good.

Now… have I raised the bar high. Yes. Yes I have. This is high standards… but it’s all about context….

I’m not as inflexible as I might seem. You can find me in the club, with a bottle full of bub… and if the new Rihanna single comes on… as IRRELVENT as it is… you might find me dancing, with every one else… because it’s in its own context. But ultimately, in the cool of day, in know,… that Rihanna has got nothing to do with the direction we need to head in, as a race, as a species,… to progress.

And it’s the same with the gallery. I like going to galleries – go the gallery, go for some sushi… it’s very nice. But the vast majority of contemporary artwork is irrelevant to me, because it neither questions the status quo, nor does it express an eternal ideal. Old works of art – that’s different – because through the execution, there is humanism. That was from a time that really valued human faculties… But now our world is highly populated, and we no longer take pride in our work, because we have let machines do the work for us, our complacency has relegated human potential, somewhat… which brings me on to the other thing I said at the opening… I said “if it doesn’t question the status quo, or it doesn’t affirm eternal ideals, then it isn’t equipped to deal with progress we as a species need to make”…

So who’s to say what progress we need to make…? Who am I to say what humanity needs???

…well. Now it’s important to understand the place we live in history.

I think it’s pretty obvious, to all but the least aware, that the world is changing very quickly – old systems and structures are falling away, cycles are concluding, and new cycles are beginning – cycles in the economy, society, nature, weather cycles, galactic cycles, astronomic cycles, and also there’s a shift taking place – and it’s happening so fast, it’s dizzying, and yet it’s slow enough for it to remain imperceptible unless you’re paying attention to it.

There have been times like this before – we can call it creative destruction. Pandemics, escalating earthquake activity, bee colony collapse, mass extictions, food crises, terrorism, escalating conflicts, irratic sunspot activity – this all has a conclusion.

My question for you – is – what artworks will survive this shift? What artworks will be relevant AFTER the storm has passed. As we’re living in a world of exponential change, what artwork, what music, what dance, what literature, is actually relevant? And in a world of exponential change, there is an exponential quickening on the expiry date of relevance – REPEAT.

So this is what informs my personal artistic manifesto – what it comes down to is either art questions the status quo, in lieu of a more robust system or structure,… or is re-affirms what has always been and always will be – these two things are the things that survive beyond the decrepit systems and structure that we have today.

…

Every once in a while, an artist will produce something that extends far beyond their own intentions, and far beyond the context of their own work. One of these artworks is by an artist called Jeff Koons. One of my favorites. The art work I’m talking about is a basketball suspended in a tank. First, a bit about Jeff Koons: American artist blah blah. This artwork is one of his most famous.

One the one hand, you can see it in the context of consumerism. You can say well, the significance of this work is that it exemplifies our consumer culture, taken to the nth degree. Here’s a basketball, just a banal, everyday object – a typical 20th, 21st century object, presented as a work of art – so it calls into question the nature of art, the nature of consumerism. And, like a lot of art work of this nature, it underscores the ‘trick’ that is modern art – “here’s a ordinary basketball, I’m gonna sell you a basketball for millions of dollars, because its art now” – in its presentation it acquires a much higher status, and you could say “well the artist is playing a trick, or calling attention to the trick that he is getting away with” – so I find this a bit insincere… It doesn’t interest me.

What does interest me, is while this art work is a snapshot of our banal, consumer culture, it has a zen quality to it, that extends far beyond the present and into the eternal. Yes it is just a basketball in a tank – big deal. But in its presentation, it calls to mind equilibrium, perfection, divinity, the power of focused intent… the athletic aspirations of perfectionism.

I imagine this artwork existing 1000 years from now, and you could apply the same meaning to it, even though by that time it would seem primitive, there is meaning that is eternal. So by why of this example, if you’re an artist, ask yourself: what of my artworks are good for 1000 years? What is it that is ultimately relevant? And whoever you are, ask yourself: what of my ideals are good for 1000 years?

LIFE

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