Re: Scooping Up & Blending Knowledge

E. Shaun Russell (
Tue, 29 Sep 1998 21:20:41 -0700

Natasha eloquently wrote:

>We are on the precipice of a new 3rd culture -- one that scoops up
>knowledge while being conscious of domain specialization and isolation
>thereby. As we approach discussions and debates, are we making efforts to
>open up and blend the skills and specializations to broaden knowledge?

Though I am not one to speak against technology in any capacity, it is my observation that the advent of the computer age seemingly smudged the lines of what is and isn't "art." True, art itself is totally open to interpretation, but the amount of people in the last hundred years who have called themselves "artists" has drastically increased. In the centuries preceeding this one, one who could create within the confines of his medium would be dubbed an artist; common mediums being oil and canvas etc. for painters, piano and violin (i.e.: scores) etc. for musicians, disciplined sonnets and verse etc. for poets, and so on. However, in this century (and particularly the past two decades) the mediums have diversified drastically. Where Da Vinci was once extolled for his Mona Lisa, thousands of people could easily do a pixel by pixel recreation on 3D Studios or other "art" programs.
In addition, to create anything in that style (with today's technology) is not all that difficult. And yet, the social\cultural hurdle of "art" stays at the same level.

The standard for what is and isn't art is nowhere near as high as it has been in the past. In modern poetry, any individual can write *anything* arranged in an interesting form and claim that it is open to interpretation, and therefore art...regardless of the "poet's" intention. Another example is with the retail gimmick "Magnetic Poetry Kit" which contains a certain number of magnetic words. Feeling inspired? Why not "create" a poem with the allotted words? Commercially acceptable music is a similar story. Techno and "alternative" music forms are generally formulaic: the same beats and the same musical progressions are churned out over and over again. How often is a hit song written in a time signature other than 4\4 or 6\8? Innovation is not what the majority of people really want. People want an unobtrusive medium that the term "art" can be applied to. The reluctance to appreciate what is real and true in art illustrates the tendency towards society's (as a whole) greatest fear: the fear of individual tastes.

What the reality of art is is that not everybody can be an artist, just as not everybody can be a scientist. There is more to it than just the outpouring of words, the strokes of a brush or the playing of notes. Beneath the surface of a true artist there is a fierce conflict between tragedy and passion, and this war is always being fought. No matter how much output a true artist has, he will never be satisfied --never be content with his accomplishments; instead he will be tormented by the things he could never quite express. However, this conflict creates a drive to *try* to attain the perfect expression of one's essence. A true artist will never be able to stop creating for fear of losing the impetus of expression forever. Without this drive, the artist will stagnate, and his desire for his own understanding will be lost. This, to a true artist, is death. However, for a true artist to be successful, the social and cultural standard towards art --innovative art-- must first be raised.

E. Shaun Russell		   Musician, Poet, ExI Member
==============================>    Transhumanities editor for Homo Excelsior
Kineticize your potential.