A CALL FOR MOSAIC ART
© 2005 Ken Knowlton
To everything there is a season,
Many of us experiment with computers to create and/or process images, and we are often bold enough to call the results computer art, or even 'Art.' In truth, mixtures of brash novelty and serious message are dicey, perhaps impossible. New tools, for new means of expression, lead to new results: provocative, crude, delicate, personal, grand, arrogant, humble, megalomaniacal, predictive, retrospective, sensitive, tasteless. In a way, disarray in the arts mirrors our troubled world and its new methods of building and destroying. What happens to the world, of course, is a much more serious matter than what happens to the arts. But the narrower and wider views exhibit this curious similarity: disproportionate attention to tangential issues.
On the world scene, the desperate and tragic fact of the matter is that we are destroying the biosphere. This monstrous problem fragments into a well-known litany: global warming, trashing of resources, toxic pollution, extinction of species and of human societies and their multifarious world views — all of these trends relentlessly compounded by more and more people. Future generations face an impoverishment, of habitat and culture, disheartening beyond description. And where does our attention go, as fresh water wanes and the deserts grow? Individually, to mind-numbing entertainment; collectively to savaging societies that are trying to undo us.
Art, of a hundred varieties, can be that many more ways of describing the things that delighted us, and people and things that we cared about. And of recording an overwhelming sense of loss. Images, and some of their meanings,may remain decipherable longer than words. Including mosaic images, of course — what better metaphor for civilizations frozen, fractured and abandoned? Let us make every possible sort of archive, for uncertain and remote archeologists, of what people were motivated by, and what they valued, and why the former destroyed the latter.
yes, for the sake of a record: living, breathing, thinking, feeling,
hopeful, aggrieved humans were here. Images in robust material, for
durability and low-tech reception, buried in vaults and landfills. Quixotic
in the bitter extreme, hope turned tragic and inward, a million personal
views, contrasting what might have been with what did happen, as could-have-been
citizens vegetated or starved, while corporations and armed forces sallied
forth to make the world, for a while, safe and bountiful for scavengers.