“Humans have the attention span of eight seconds. Goldfish have the attention span of nine. I use the digital canvas with a specific practical application. To help individuals increase their attention span and learn the habits of freedom and liberty.” – Richard Grove
By EJ Wickes
Image (above) from “A Comprehensive Ontology of Cognitive Liberty”.
Interesting, as art is becoming all things media and vice versa how does artistic thought and digital media convey as an art form? Political art has always been in existence since political movements. Propaganda and independent media have always been difficult to differentiate depending on one’s perspective and access to information. Signage, a painting or even a blue print becomes an expression of some emotional reaction or process.
On the website Art=Text=Art, Maddie Phinney in her piece entitled “The Personal is Political”, references the activism of feminist Carol Hanisch, the originator of the phrase. Ula Einstein, Ed Ruscha and Robert Indiana are visual artists who have used text as a communication vehicle in visual art. As metamodernism fuses a variety of thought and expression through the digital looking glass, art becomes more difficult to compartmentalize.
Jenny Holzer, a prominent conceptual artist is well known for her literal works. The written word was her epiphany or departure from the traditional aesthetic as a vehicle of expressions not commonly accepted by the art world. From written on paper to engraved in alabaster to electrical analogue displays of running text, the word or statement is the essence of the work. Interesting to note is the fact that she had an interest in studying law and becoming an attorney. A very linguistic art. Coincidentally, when I had my own career choices narrowed down to just two, it became a choice between, you guessed it: Art and Law. Perhaps the one that I should have chosen was Law.
As a minimalist I can appreciate the streamlining of the message through the ideogram or hieroglyph. What once started as hieroglyphs became written word. Through time we streamlined the message by reverting a thousand words back to the pictograph through universal symbols on the restroom door and as hazard warnings.
As a visual artist I have spent several years away from producing any physical or visual works for a number of reasons. I have become absorbed and preoccupied with the nature of the human condition on my planet. A sense of urgency to find out why things have gone so horribly awry with geopolitics. Increasing examples of social entropy have inspired a more instantaneous form of expression. A sense of urgency is needed in addressing world issues. I can write much faster than I can paint, so it becomes a more tactile and gratifying form of emotional expression for me personally.
The History Blueprint is the brainchild of Richard Grove. He calls it A Comprehensive Ontology of Cognitive Liberty. It’s an interlocking digital schematic of informational links and videos arranged in a very user friendly and intuitive way. As in all art and theory, blogs and information sources, the validity and beauty of the content is always up to the beholder. Grove takes you on a journey that connects about 37,000 dots through a multi layered digital timeline of historical events. Each event linking back to other relative points in time that correspond or corroborate the information leading up to the changes in policies and the individuals and institutions responsible for those policy changes.
What makes a conspiracy? It’s pretty simple. Whether you believe in an Illuminati or Lizard People shape-shifting their way into the White House, one thing’s for certain, it’s all left up to interpretation. Interpretation only comes from educating and exposing one’s self to new ideas. Incompetence can look like a conspiracy and a conspiracy can be hidden by scapegoating incompetence. It is said that artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use lies to cover the truth up.
“You can’t have freedom without a little bit of danger and you can’t make art without lots of freedom. I’ll take the freedom.”
As an artist I admire the work Richard Grove has dedicated to his own process. His presentations are intelligent, well crafted and articulate. Whether you agree or disagree with his aesthetics, the resource he has created is quite intuitive, informative and beautifully minimal, and embodies the digital aesthetics of metamodernism.
Carroll Quigley is best known for his thesis entitled Tragedy and Hope, a book that took approximately 20 years to write. It is considered one of the most comprehensive historical studies that focuses specifically on the power elite and the institutional structures that have defined Western Civilization. Many prominent authors or conspiracy theorists have resourced his text, sometimes accurately and sometimes out of context to emphasize particular points of their own conspiracy theories.
Tragedy and Hope is a history book and nothing more. It documents events; when and where individuals met and what the cause and effects of their associations produced. Some of the most rich and powerful among us spare no expense in protecting their wealth and influence. If this is what we choose to write off as conspiracy “theory”, then in my opinion this does humanity, history and critical thought a great disservice.
Click on book cover for full text.