Word - Digital Comp - 12" x 36" - 2011 - Ed : 50
Language evolves. As time passes, it naturally, gradually becomes, flows, melds into other dimensions. Words never being static "things", it has always been thus. But in our era, everything constantly reshapes itself at a non-human speed of light. Though time neither moves any more quickly nor slowly today, events and the creation of anything and everything new and improved have become endless and ever increasing - both in quantity and speed. And we have come to accept this new and improved pace as our new "speed" - the digital equivalent of an addiction mayhem - constructed of both a lack of discipline in the defining of who's in charge : us or our toys and a rabid consumerism which rapidly is consuming us.
In such an environment, our ability to identify, to qualify and quantify becomes “drugged” - unable to objectively define either the elements or the parameters of what we are “trying” to say to each other. And this despite our ears being literally glued 12 to 18 hours a day to word sounds which do not communicate anything more than the incessantly repetitive : "ya know" and the no longer listening to you : "ya don't say" and the proverbial who gives a shit, reduced to a dimension of : “whatever”.
And so, how we see words and how we use them have become jumbled in our minds to the point that speed of throwing it out (rather than sharing) is now of the essence (lest we miss the other incoming calls on our “ear plugs”). 140 characters is the new format and “word foreshortening” the structure of what is said, written, transmitted and received. . . or not. . . Whatever.
With that comes a penchant for altering, mutating and bastardizing, at the same speed of light, that which verbally and visually must fit into every new lexicon of mind holes we dig for ourselves. Whether what is being inserted in those holes is a round or square peg seems not to matter. Just shove it in, force it in, no matter the consequences to the perimeters into which we place these now misshaped thoughts and feelings. In essence, we are reaching a point where it is no longer important to mean or understand anything or anyone - as long as we are euphemistically "connected" i.e. : tethered to the umbilical cords which reassure us we are actually being recognized in a world where there is such a desperate need to "be" seen to be something, somebody, "anything".
And so, disfigured and denied their crucial importance in our collective existence, words and their capacity to be shared and clearly understood have inadvertently become targets of revisionism processes which surreptitiously reshape our lives to meet emotional reaction demands rather than physical action imperatives. Re-mastered, the light speed mutation of words (which once gave collective credibility to existence) now plays a major role in how our "telephony" communications swiftly lead us astray - making connections, let alone communication, impossible. And because there is no respect for the meaning of words anymore, eventually nobody knows what anything or anyone “actually” is trying to say. And so. . . Today, words can mean anything we want them to, at any time and in any situation - be damned normal evolution. As long as they serve our individual perceptions, insecurities and ignorance, all is “creatively” well.
A good example of this societal anomaly can be found in discussions on whether art is the same as artwork is the same as art. Where once words accurately defined what one thing was in comparison to a “potentially similar” thing, we now don’t differentiate between the product created and the message or content given life - i.e. : the paint and canvas of artwork versus the enigma and mystery of art. Why? It disturbs our contemporary need to know without knowing, to know without study or exactness, accurateness or factualness. Our perception of words has been Googlized, Twittered and Facebooked. Not having to be accurate (honest or knowledgeable?) serves the contemporary purpose of muddying the waters. Why? Because muddy waters almost always assure us an unquestioned, unassailable “authority” in presentations, communications, discussions and any other form of sharing which might serve to aggrandize the measure of our "real" or virtual lives.
In our "whatever" world, not bothering to be accurate allows for lowest common denominator thinking to dominate and excellence to be deemed snooty and semantically obsessive. With that, the search for excellence can more easily be “democratically” erased - replaced with whatever it is I now say is art and/or artwork - and this based on the enlightened premise of “because I say so”. In essence, we have opened the door to anything being something or nothing and in consequence nothing being something - and with that, we collectively come to a crossroads where it is simpler to shrug our shoulders and accept “opinion” over logic and, when not comprehending what is being said, to simply respond : “whatever!”.
Being precise or speaking in “a tongue” that is understandable to all (rather than serving our own personal needs) becomes nothing of value as it is deemed (along with other knowledge-based information) elitist - too collectively intellectual in nature to respect the needs of the “moi” in me. It impinges upon my freedom (license?) to define life and its contents however I wish to define them - be damned reality. Thus, students, apprentices, learners and wanna-be's more easily become democracy's anointed “artists” and artwork, photo reproductions, machine-made constructs nonchalantly, and with impunity, nothing less than art.
In the end, excellence of action becomes nothing more than effortless kitsch in our quest to democratize everything; thus rendering blandness a quality. And as artwork becomes art the war cries of entitlement are clearly heard : Anoint me! Award me! I have participated! I was there! Don't hurt my feelings by denying me the status I seek. And mostly, do not reject my work as "ordinary" - especially when it is.
And so, the battle to eliminate the meanings of words marches on based on the least that democracy can be while dismissing the richness and uniqueness that democracy once celebrated as heroic and worthy.
And with that. . . it is easier to understand how today change is perceived as progress, charm = authenticity, compensation = satisfaction, demands = rights, homogenization = globalization, insult = honesty, infatuation = love, invasion = liberation, kitsch = creativity, obsession = passion, over-protection = love, license = freedom, perfection = excellence, nude = naked.
With revisionism tantamount to a new and improved “vision” (white-wash?) of history and verbal acumen, is it any surprise that narcissism more easily replaces ego, criticism = critiquing, tolerance = recognition and respect, opinion = fact, victim = hero and. . . last but not least, artwork = Art?
Bernard Poulin. . .