Train our intuition to extract permanence

01Jul13

Sketches on the Connectivity of Art

Marc Hohmann

 was discussing minimalism with a well known New York architect when he asked me, “What do you think is more minimal: a hypermodern, completely concealed light source in a ceiling or an old-school standard light bulb sticking out of a socket?” Is the core of minimalism to be found in the act of disappearance or in the purity of function?

It’s no secret to anyone who observes our designed environment that we have moved away from embracing a revived minimalism and its efficient attributes to what I call a “return to heritage,” and an appreciation for honest artisan craft. Today we hastily fuse, remix, and reassemble new elements to go with the old in hopes of finding individuality.

I think the attempt to mix the old with the new is predictable and unsatisfying at best, and lacks the audacity and excitement of a radical new vision. All this raises another question: Are we returning or arriving? Today it’s hard to say that we’ve returned to anywhere or moved away from something and arrived somewhere.

Yet in all the opposing currents of high-tech futurism and rugged primitivism, we can find works that chart an exciting, new territory. One crucial ingredient is what Hans Ulrich Obrist calls “Post Hastism,” the idea of slowing down and no longer embracing speed and efficiency of technology but reclaiming the act of delay as value in art and design. Rather than polarizing the past and the future, this suggests stopping and considering the present. Contemplation, room for discovery, and self-finding are in order, before we express ourselves, rather than posting 20 images on Tumbler each day without giving a thought to values of self definition. Once again, we need to learn what it means to become a “master” at a skill and to develop patience.

 

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