Monday, December 29, 2008

Some end of year thoughts...

The last week a few things have been bouncing around in my head that I have 'issues' with articulating.

The key one being this obsession that I - as others I imagine - have with 'discovery'. Both my own in a new manifestation of '15 minutes' (15 seconds is much more apt), and in the collection of tokens ahead of the pop-curve.

The later is exploited extensively by viral marketing... there is a desire to be the one who finds (or hunts) and a certain pride in the return of a trophy to the herd.

Personally, I know exactly from where it stems but I do wonder if it's a global thing. There is always a degree of chest pumping when it comes to the knowledge but I'm unsure whether I am hypersensitive to the concept.

It almost certainly has a lot to do with the overwhelming quantity of information and the desire to have some exclusive or distinctive 'thing' or micro-demographic that is 'yours'. This appears a lot in various companies who market to very small niches.

My personal experience originated - as most things tend to somehow do - when I was 13 or 14 and I was being prodded by the cool kids for their amusement. Essentially I was being vetted as to whether I know this or that band, know this or that album, etc.

I remember claiming at the time that I really liked Pink Floyd's 'Off the Wall' (which thankfully no-one picked up on at the time) and The Cure. The later proved greatly amusing as some of the kids thought they'd found a suicide case they could mess with... disturbing in hindsight.

There would seem to be a culture of admonishment if you don't know, or haven't experienced the latest x, a Peruvian artist's eating habits or the newest y. It also feeds into other symptoms of consumerism - possessiveness and short emotive bursts followed by bouts of melancholy.

I have at times been greatly frustrated by the 'chest pumping' but I have grown up (if that's the right word) enough to be painfully honest. When someone - as they often do with great, emotive gusto - claims 'how can't you know xyz?!?' I calmly (!) reply that 'how could I possibly know about a Norwegian-Mongolian throat singer with purple hair from the 1980's when I grew up in small town, pre-Internet, 2-3 TV channel New Zealand?'

The second 'major' idea was how more and more I'm finding people (on many levels but often curatorially) are more accepting of photography as 'art' if it is in some way theatrical or cinematic in nature. This manifests itself mainly in the presence of protagonists and/or manipulated environments... better still is when it's completely deadpan and a bit seedy.

Third (and last for this bout) was the awareness that I will celebrate (?) two anniversaries in 2009 both of which, as feeble as it might sound - are weighing me down. What they are is irrelevant as they are mere numbers but, as in 2007, 2009-10 will HAVE to be the years to throw it against the wall. There is admittedly a bit of desperation in it all which is VERY unhealthy.

I'm just slowly getting to the point where as happy I might be personally with the work, it feels wasted sitting in the draws.

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