Monday, February 22, 2016

Part III

Here is the second train of thought spun off from our ancient navigator. Inspired, a little, by the Help Portrait project, about which I may have more to say anon.

We're losing stuff. Parts of our story are being lost. This has been going on since stories were there to lose, of course. As soon as you have two human cultures it will occur to at least one of them that they other could be subsumed and destroyed.

Things like science, large scale economies, and conveniently distant Gods lend themselves to the tools and methods which make destroying other cultures easier. All the happy savages who see God in every stone and thank the tree spirit every time they chop down a tree, they get subsumed at best, and often simply murdered en masse.

I do not propose that these cultures ought to be preserved in amber, either in photographs or on reservations (although the former is harmless and often historically useful). Cultures do and ought to evolve, to merge and fragment.

In fact, I have no particular program.

What I do propose is that as artists these cultures have ideas and themes to offer. In turn, perhaps our borrowings keep a little of what would otherwise be lost.

Be respectful, of course, but be fearless. Don't let some jerkoff tell you that you can't do that because appropriation. Don't fall into the easy traps of mockery or of bland documentation.

The program is specifically of appropriation and integration. This is how cultures evolve, each borrows the best from the neighbor, the antecedent, the conquered.

Get to borrowin'!


  1. "Things like science, large scale economies, and conveniently distant Gods lend themselves to the tools and methods which make destroying other cultures easier. " So, I would point out, do the beliefs and practices of religious fanatics, notably ISIS/ISIL. No science, god always at hand, economics ???

    It's not science, etc., that cause the obliteration of other cultures. It's arrogance, narrow-mindedness, lack of broad historical and cultural perspectives.

    1. All cultures want to eat one another. The ones that embrace guns tend to win. ISIS may not do a lot of basic research but they certainly embrace the fruits of science, and their God is 'conveniently distant' in the sense I mean. He's not in the onion, in the pebble, in you, in me. He is far off, in a mythical paradise, issuing edicts that boil down to 'yes, do that horrifying thing that you so desperately want to do'

      Most likely, most of them don't really believe in their God anyways. Radicals rarely do, the God is a convenient excuse.

      But please not too much more about ISIS etc! I will not insist on the last word, but I'll refrain from further comment myself.

  2. "Ignorance is bliss"... (for the person that is) - but Karma has a way of biting one in the ass for complacency when shit is staring one right in the face

    All children are innocent and many are limbic-level mean at heart... (adults are simply older children without or with knowledge; book or experience - the latter and cumulative being perhaps the best)

    We as people are exceptional and unique relative to other living things... (I guess, from my limited perspective... and according to what I've been taught/experienced)

    For the most part, we try to fit in to the social mores of the larger whole . . . although the oftentimes myopic ramifications may have profound and dire consequences

    Life is waaaay too short . . .

    and . . . "this [evolution] too shall pass"

    I deeply appreciate photography and especially the inspiring artists that fractionally encapsulate that which we observe as [insert your own word(s) here]

  3. This post called up an old John Cage quote in my mind. "I don't understand why people are afraid of new ideas. I'm afraid of the old ones."