RE: [-empyre-] forward from Christiane Paul: Is Modernity ourAntiquity? - introductory comments

Hi Pall & all,

In picking up threads in this discussion i might as well start here, in its
pre-N-state, hoping to catch up with some modest harmonics before
Christina's fugue has reached its pedal point or even coda.  Who knows, if
time allows we might all get together in a stretto of sorts before the
month's through.  Your question is still somewhat hanging there in mid-air,
as you yourself pointed out, in spite of Lucio taking an interest in it and
rightfully expanding it in multiple directions, perhaps dissolving its
clarity somewhat.

Your question is  pretty straightforward in asking for the validity of the
analogy, because if modernity is supposed to be our antiquity, some of the
reference points in the abstract construct we're supposed to make, should go
click click and fall into place when we try to apply it to the object of the

So far not many of those obvious similarities allowing the analogy were put
forward. Modernity, whether incorporated by works or artists of the
Modernist era or simply(?) as an integral part of feelings of
contemporarity, didn't get a big score in applying for 'antiquity' in
anybody's frame of mind. 

So the utopian urge hasn't reached a conclusion, counterpointing in
post-modernism to resurface as a grounding tone in contemporary (self)praise
of artists working in the fore-front of using technical achievements. Here
it is immediately met by the taylorised speech of commerce, trying to
commodify the discoveries and inventions of Software Art, as a premium
example, straight into upgradable products. Artists doing splendid things in
highly technical environments, i think of 3d visualisations, emersive
interactive installations or performances, or sticking to the complexities
of code in generative work, or youngsters combining lots of skills, packing
it all in a laptop & taking it to a club downtown in a big punky sway of f*
art, let's have some fun instead. These young artists will be more inclined
to identify 'modernist' things and imagery as belonging to those commercial
forces that are continually trying to claim their coolness, their being
ahead not of their time but of the mega-budget requiring products of
industrialised art, matching the blockbuster output of the masterful
creative teams they adore with autonomously grown collaborations of their
own, or hacking into commercial machinery for outlandish activist
re-purposing, or merely for the fun of it. More often than not, when the fun
is over these youngsters find themselves working for the companies whose
products they used to hack.

So along this slippery line, a purely synchronical quick 'n dirty slicing of
the 'arts', there doesn't seem to be a big need for capitalised Art, let
alone art critically engaging the modern tradition and the few individuals
that do undertake the quest of hunting down the ghost of Art amidst its many
simulations find themselves talking to a few of the others that do the same.

Surely that's a bit of an overly doomish picture, loosing faith altogether
in Simon Taylor's terms, burning the Cathedral before its absence is
acknowledged as a condition sine qua non for its existence. And if i wasn't
a poet i'd be quick to correct it. Because of my arrogant-based-on-ignorance
claim to the title, however, i have no immediate need to correct it, the
point of view is quite familiar and i think, benificial for anyone aspiring
to Buildership: us poets have been used to a marginal position for quite a
while now, so we do have some advantage. We didn't have to go through the
trauma of having 'The Waste Land' sold at Sotheby's for billions. We don't
have to dream of being spotted by a known critic so that we can sell our
paintings/poems for 10 to 20 times their current price. We know that our
only reward can be in the work itself and in some others, mostly colleagues,
finding joy in it. The work itself, we think,  along with other artists who
are almost immediately stigmatised as belonging to the intellectual elite,
comes first, because only from its marginal point of view, sharing it in a
poetical version of Hakim Bey's TAZ, can it aspire to become influential. 

Whether or not the presumed influence will only be visible as a post-mortem
spasm in a frozen theater of historicity or in its double, a Baudrillian
an-aesthetic of simulation, we leave open here, as we're still reaching out
to resonate with the higher flow of the discussion. Just a quick hint to
Simon, a minor arpeggio precursing the very virtual stretto of out cart &
horse theme: 'energetic alliances'is quite correct, the formal identity i
deny, there being only a heraclitan sameness of up and down present in the

Thus, i think, your rephrasing the question into something that could be of
immediate use in drawing the analogy, does indeed reveal a lot of tricky
escapism inherent in the asking. Anyone throwing the rock of antiquity at
art as it is being practiced today, even if you meteorise it into a
modernist resemblance, is clearly avoiding the marginality of its
importance, taking the discourse of art where it can only be met with
indifference, brief moments of mediatised sensation or a medical
prescription of aspirin to redeem the nostalgia and several cold compresses
a day. 

You see, discussing art isn't something i was used to anymore, when 'merely'
being a poet. I was only in it for the joy of writing.  Now that this
Cathedral thing is happening, i find myself plowing this very sterile field
again, first within the Rhizome community where i was amazed by the
liveliness of discussion,its high level as well as by the diversity and
richness of individual talents, and now on high empyrial ground even. It's a
very overwhelming experience for me personally, it keeps throwing me in awe,
so i hope i will be forgiven in reverting to verse now and then as i plow
on, because within the verses is contained the Karbakovian intuition of
something that exceeds the mere energy levels of a vital flow rendered in
joules, a belligerently vague promise of a very distant cure instead of a
symptomatic treatment. Not so much a definable cure -dumping that metaphore
for what it is- rather some doggish premonitions of an event in the make.
Anyway, quickly before someone starts packing silver bullets:  unless some
miracle finds its way here from over the Schwarnbergersee, it looks like
we're in for another cruel April,roots,lilacs, N-states & all.



> -----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
> Van: 
> [] Namens Pall Thayer
> Verzonden: donderdag 2 maart 2006 6:29
> Aan: soft_skinned_space
> Onderwerp: Re: [-empyre-] forward from Christiane Paul: Is 
> Modernity ourAntiquity? - introductory comments
> Hi Empyre,
> I just want to throw something into the pot here. Something 
> that I think sort of turns things around and twists them up a 
> bit (which is always fun). The first thing that came to my 
> mind when I read the question, was the so-called "Quarrel of 
> the Ancients and the Moderns"  
> and whether we are perhaps going through a similar situation 
> but without the quarrel. The question then becomes, did 
> Modernity reach such cultural heights that we constantly 
> strive to equal their achievements (without ever doing so) or 
> do our contemporary achievements already surpass the 
> achievements of Modernity because we know things that they 
> didn't? In other words, are we nearing a potential "Quarrel 
> of the Moderns and the Post-post-moderns/ 
> Hypermoderns/Contemporary-moderns/whateveryoucallit"? In 
> other other words, are the achievements of contemporary 
> culture more significant than the achievements of Modernity?
> Pall Thayer
> --
> Pall Thayer
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum

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