Searching for the Victorians

Obviously NOT ART

“Our life consists of materials that have not been assimilated. Where is the centered mid that can absorb all that we have collectively wrought and make poetry–or any art–from it? Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age

I am often puzzled by the abandonment of the modern idea of art making progress. Have we reached our maturity? For the most part, music being made now could have been made 20 years ago. When I graduated from high school in 1974, our music and art seemed light years away from the art, music and culture of 1954.

Is this a pause? A period of historical quiet?

Or perhaps the change is going on all around us and since we’re living it, we’re too close to notice how much the world has changed in ways that don’t involve how a guitar is played or how paint is put on a canvas. Maybe this transition to the abstracted world of digital media will be viewed as one of the most significant shifts in centuries. A time when the physical became substrate and data became the world in which we live.

Those who were born into the old ways fear that we now live in a world with no reading, no contemplation, no intelligence outside of the hive mind of Twitter. A loss of human interaction.

Instead of worrying about what we’ve lost (it’s not coming back), why not look around at the birth of the new art?

“Although often grouped together under the banner of “mathematics,” the techniques and attitudes of pure and applied forms diverged significantly in the nineteenth century. By the end of the century, pure mathematics and its associated realm of symbolic logic had become so abstract and removed from what the general public saw as math—that is, numbers and geometric shapes—that Bertrand Russell could famously conclude in 1901 (in a Seinfeldian moment) that mathematics was a science about nothing. It was a set of signs and operations completely divorced from the real world.” Searching for the Victorians Dan Cohen

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