Abyssal reflections of an art troll: redrawing the art life in an age of distraction, dissent and acceleration
There was a time when art represented an attempt to think the unthinkable while staring into something abyssal and succumbing to the pain and dubious pleasure of inevitable failure — or maybe I dreamed that up.
Always the romantic…
“To be an artist is to fail, as no other dare fail.”
But what was romanticism if not the compulsive search for a fact that wouldn’t be found, a truth that never arrived..?
Truth has been in decline since God was hacked, but world-wide connectivity has accelerated the process. And rather than the envisaged mass love-in, perversely, increased connection has intensified division, birthed a new fragmentation.
Babel in bits, Truth in pieces: mundanity comes wrapped in revelation
The fragment is compelling, not for what it says, but for what it fails to say, the time and flesh of precognition. In the Mass Age, ‘the medium is the massage’.
Fallenness comes tech-enabled. In real time, the internet, like some gigantic curved mirror, is showing us to ourselves; our ugly, and our beautiful, our cheerful, and our fearful… and our lustful.
Sexy beast, it’s spawned a collective narcissism become ensnared in its own gaze, its own luminosity — is this a new wakefulness or a different somnambulism..?
Or maybe that simplistic dichotomy is flawed and indicative of prevailing naiveties regarding the nature of consciousness, cognition, and the role of the imagination in writing the stories we live by, stories increasingly injured, holed…
Forgotten dreams we’re still to dream — true fakery, desire’s percipience
However we define the real — and as we sink deeper into our ‘Anthropocene’, our ‘Post-Truth Age of Anxiety’ — the serpentine mystery at the heart of the human, some may call it wound, ever coils…
Love the art world or hate it, the 21st Century version of the ‘elite distraction industry’ is less the closed shop, lost to posturing acadaemia and ridiculous commerciality, than it’s ever been.
Boundaries are shifting, disciplines are morphing and merging. The role of creativity and how we apply it to our work and our understanding is changing. The question of what art might actually be has never been more open.
Good enough reason to pick up tools and learn new skills, not to divine answers, but to find new ways of asking impossible questions… new ways of becoming enobled in the face of absurdity, of navigating abysses.
I’m Tony Eddicott, an artist and designer based in London.
This blog, which is not a blog, which thrusts a pencil into the wound of cultural history in search of its themes, its failures, and its ghosts, is part-sketchbook, part-ideas repository and part-art troll.
“Because I dived into the abyss I started to love the abyss of which I am made.”
I think, therein, I fall.