Adam Joyce \ "Art In the Ruins"

Added on by Chris WHITE.

I make films. But usually feel very out of place among my fellow "indie" filmmakers. And I think it goes to where I think we're coming versus my colleagues.

How does one define art, especially good art? I’ve been told good art is, and is for, many things: self-expression; making the world strange; becoming a better person; transcendence; a conduit for the sublime; beauty; the infinite; justice; catharsis; instruction; entertainment; life; death; power; love; truth; gift; story; meaning; excess of meaning; exodus from reality; forming the slow speed of empathy; aristocratic self-aggrandizement; art is useful, art is useless; art is art, art gives us, us; art is a mirror; art is spectacles; art is a window; an axe to break up the frozen sea within us; art is dead.

If it’s dead, can I poke at it with a stick?

Adam Joyce's fantastic essay, "Art In the Ruins" (Curator Magazine), goes on to suggest that there is a relentless strain in most modern art, literature, music, and film that seeks to remove the humanity from the work.

These machines of oil and ink and papier-mâché determine that humanity is the excess, the virus requiring elimination. Each piece longed to turn perpetrators into victims, imitating the violence it sought to critique. This art made people engaged in dehumanizing activities, inhuman—attempting to take away any twiceness for flesh and blood. It elects to make evil free of ambiguity, one-dimensional, the work of individual and indisputable devils.

I define cynicism as something much more profound than simple world-weariness, wariness, or wry skepticism. It is the unopposed voice of the so-called creative class. It is the fashionable pessimism of the age...the didactic tone of all public discourse. And it is the knee-jerk tone of the sentimental; which is itself a kind of resigned, "oh well," posture. Nostalgia as balm to the nihilist's soul.

Cynicism is why there are more curators than creators. It's the root cause of why so many of us know what we hate, and why, while so few know what we like.