Monday, January 4, 2010

A Constellation of Thoughts

I maintain this blog primarily because I learn through doing, and writing in this format is a way to follow ideas and concepts forward. By focusing on the urgencies of the day over time we find bigger patterns and pictures. It is very much as if we are poking around in a massive unlit warehouse with a flashlight. Each post is focused on what is pressing and visible in that moment, and as they accumulate, a much larger picture starts to emerge.

You will have picked up on the warehouse/unconscious metaphor by now. Experience tells that production across the cultural spectrum is driven largely by unconscious pressures, and the great work of our time is in finding ways to relate to these unseen areas of our individual and collective psyches. For the past three years these posts have generally been circling around and exploring the entire process by which images are desired, conceived, created, marketed, distributed and consumed.

In that spirit, coming next is a recap of the highlights of three years of writing on this blog, each post or series of posts exploring a piece of a puzzle that contributes to an overall picture that is starting to emerge. It is a picture of a world passing through an incredible technological revolution that is creating tensions that have the capacity either to generate entirely new paradigms or to cement and reify the status quo. We are in flux, and as such the outcome is yet undetermined. But our success in imagining new economies, new political models, new communities and cultures, will in large part be determined by our ability to tolerate the dialectical tensions that permeate the process of leaving behind the old and moving towards the new.

The cultural production engines of late capitalism have created products and systems that need dismantling if we are to re-engineer them for the future. And this is not merely a technical dismantling but an aesthetic one as well. I'm working here in service to that last goal, pulling together a picture from my own diverse set of experiences across the culture making spectrum.

The kind of solutions we need arise out of the awful tensions created in cultural dialectics, where we must hold on to broken and competing realities while we synthesize new solutions. The tensions are manifest in the time that takes place between recognizing the unresolved dialectic and the emergence of a new reality that can bring some new thing from it. Most of what I am going to detail in this next series is a constellation of problems for which I have few answers. My hope is that we can live with the tensions until answers emerge, along with their associated paradoxes and contradictions.

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