Thursday, December 1, 2011


So...I'm trying to make an effort to keep the blog going. In my archives I have about 20 or so drafts of posts that never came to fruition. Some are pretty well outlined, some are just some random thoughts intended to be fleshed out someday. I rarely have the luxury of sitting and working on these because these days if I have time to sit and think it usually needs to be focused on a paper(damn you art history...) Here's one that came out of a conversation I had with my tenant a few months back. I wish I had the time to clean it up and expand on some ideas, but...

I try to have my students look at their work from an anthropological point of view.

How do we know what we know about past cultures? Literature and from the objects they have made and left behind. What does "fine art" tell us about culture? Warning:generalization. Until the late 1800's fine art really tells us only 2 things. It tells us about the upper class and it tells us about religion/faith. If you want to know how the masses lived you have to look at the objects they have made, ceramics, metal works, weaponry, wood works, stone carvings, etc. (A thousand years from now someone may view Voulkos' work with bemused detachment and maybe a head scratch.)

I for one don't want to be defined by walmart or Martha Stewart. Conceptual art...installation art...all gone. What's left are the objects that will define our culture. Ultimately that will probably be plastic bottles, cell phones and hard drives.

Even buying music these're not really buying anything tangible. I wanted to buy a cd a few days ago and I really had to hunt to find it. Sure I could download it, if my computer crashes itunes will let me download it again. But I want something tangible, I want to look at the cover art, read the liner notes and have something to show for my $15.

What about all these hard drives that in a 1000 years will have our entire culture stored on them? Hard drives, jump drives, ipods, cell phones, etc. It will all be gone. We backup our data and then backup the backup and then carbonite it as well. But what happens if/when the ability to read a hard drive is gone?

As long as humans have eyes we can see a photo, read a book, watch a sunset and remember. With hands we can touch pots, use them, hold them to our mouths., enjoy them. We can smell, taste, hear. Put that on facebook. So start living with those things you enjoy, grill a steak(or tofu burger if that's your choice), look at a real sunset, stop staring at your computer and buy those objects in your etsy treasury so that you can live with them.

Make your lives tangible.


Kathryn Mitchell said...

Thank you Brandon. I needed that.

Tracey Broome said...

This CD thing has been on my mind a lot lately. I love my music. I was probably the last one on earth to accept the fact that there were not going to be albums at my favorite record store, and I refused to buy a CD player until I had no choice. I give a lot of CD's for gifts, I don't want to give a download, how do I wrap that up?! I think we should bombard the record labels with complaints about this. I got a turntable for Christmas last year that works with my computer, it is soooo sweet. Maybe I'll just buy vinyl.
My daughter asked for books and music for Christmas, real books and real music. Good girl!
I'm concerned for the generation coming up. They have got to get their heads out of their technology a bit and, like you said, enjoy a sunset, or at least a nice walk :)

Tracey Broome said...

ps: glad you are trying to keep your blog going, I know it's hard for folks that work longer hours than I do to blog, but I really like reading them!

gz said...

sometimes just leave us an image to make us think, or appreciate. Words aren't everything, although they can help sometimes.

Sam Clark said...

I like this line of's little things like a handmade bowl and soup that leave memories forged by touch and taste..... A great way to make a memory

-Rob, Simple Circle Studios said...

Good thoughts, even if they are not as fleshed out as you would like them. These same ideas are rolling around my head pretty much all the time. A lot of people are going to have no idea what to do when all the technology they have relied on comes crashing down.

cynthia said...

Nicely put! I've been thinking about "stuff" a lot lately.

On another note, I'm trying to resurrect my blog that has sat idly by the past couple of years collecting virtual dust - I haven't had the heart to kill it since I put so much into it.