Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Escape from Potterland

Sorry for the silence. After holding out for years I finally caved and started reading the Harry Potter series. What can I say, the curiousity got the best of me. So I'm on book 6 now, and realized I've been neglecting my blog.

For your reading pleasure : Brits consider radical plan to measure personal emissions (erm, sounds much dirtier than it is. Trust me). Not art, but interesting.

A related article that is about art (in a general way): What the warming world needs now is art, sweet art
Here's the paradox: if the scientists are right, we're living through the biggest thing that's happened since human civilization emerged. One species, ours, has by itself in the course of a couple of generations managed to powerfully raise the temperature of an entire planet, to knock its most basic systems out of kilter. But oddly, though we know about it, we don't know about it. It hasn't registered in our gut; it isn't part of our culture. Where are the books? The poems? The plays? The goddamn operas? Compare it to, say, the horror of AIDS in the last two decades, which has produced a staggering outpouring of art that, in turn, has had real political effect. I mean, when people someday look back on our moment, the single most significant item will doubtless be the sudden spiking temperature. But they'll have a hell of a time figuring out what it meant to us.


At 11:01 PM, Anonymous Harry said...

It is an interesting question, and while it is true that global warming may turn out to be biggest disaster the world has ever known, it's probably asking too much to hope that any meaningful art will come out without some time for atists to digest what is going on.

Art about AIDS didn't come out until some years after the crises became known and understood in the culture. "Angels in America" probably one of the more significant works of art dealing with AIDS to break in to the broader culture was first produced in 1993. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial wasn't created until 10 years after the war the over. (Movies and songs don't seem to take as long and as the article points out the global warming idea already has two)

The only really well known work of visual political art in the 20th century is probably Picasso's "Guernica" and while it was created within a very short time from when the event ocurred (Picasso had accepted the commission and was looking for an idea), it probably takes artists some time to digest the significance of a crises before something meaningful can be created. And even more difficult to create something that will be recognized across a broad segment of the society.


At 1:50 PM, Blogger Amy said...

Good point, Harry.

Still, for those who have been following the subject (not the mainstream perhaps) global warming (or at least Major Environmental Problem X) has been around for a good ten years in some form or another. So maybe we're due.

The art community really started dealing with AIDS around the late 1980's (there are exhibition catalogs dating back as far as 1987 that I've seen) so that's less than ten years after the disease was recognized.

But I think you're probably correct - it may take time.

Also, people in the US aren't dying at a great rate from Global Warming, so there's not as much pressure.

At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Harry said...

The other question that could be asked in this context is whether artists in general are more sensitive or concerned with AIDS than with other issues.

If you add heart ailments and cancer together, more than a million people die of these things every year in the US (400,000 of these due to smoking) and I don't think we would credit artists with helping to generate the political or social activity that takes place with respect to these ailments.


At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Josse said...

thanks for pointing out this article, amy


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