Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Luddite Frame of Mind

  It’s so easy to hate the Information Revolution, computers, iPads, iPhones, MP3 players, digital cameras, software and television. And yes, I’ve been guilty of the Luddite frame of mind.

What are Luddites? They were nineteenth century textile workers who rebelled against the Industrial Revolution, often by smashing the mechanized loom which they believed were cheapening their craft, ruining their industry and putting them out of jobs.

And frankly the temptation to join the Luddites is overwhelming, one look at the popular media and sign me up. I’ve had it to the gills with texting, iPhones, Kim Kardashian, Fashion Police, American Idol, Desperate Housewives, Survivor and Nutrisystem.

But that just won’t work and it won’t get me off the hook. You see, progress, even if I don’t think much of it can’t be stopped. Get with the program or get plowed under.

Now it doesn’t mean you get to cut corners and put out shoddy art, that’s what all of the fuss and feathers is about.

Nothing stands still. It either changes or dies and having had a bit more of the later than I am willing to revisit, I am here to tell you I am firmly in the change camp.

Just because something is new and strangely different does not make it a bad thing. Like most change it is the people who drag their feet who allow the hucksters and the flim-flam artists to take over. If you aren’t out there fighting the good fight who is left? That’s right those guys and we all know what a complete lack of moral fiber and aesthetic sensibility they have!

See it isn’t an Elvis on velvet that makes art look cheap. It is the folks who don’t make sure there are other voices present. How do you know that an Elvis on velvet isn’t fine art if no one shows up to argue for the fine side?

Okay, anything on velvet except maybe a white cat or a bottle of vintage wine is tacky, but you have to make your voice heard if you expect anyone to listen.

Along the coast we have hundreds of car enthusiasts, they work like the devil restoring the wonderful and not so wonderful cars of years gone by, you know way back before the EPA made anything which could change your blood pressure just by driving by, extinct.

I love those old beauties, Auburn, Cord, the twelve cylinder Cadillac and the most iconic of all the Rolls Royce. Don’t think so; just take a look around, any time the ad-guys want to make you think ultra rich, out comes the Roller. Not just any Roller mind you but those fantastic land yachts with the big, square, silver grill like a tombstone on wheels. In fact the most iconic Roller of all Rollers is the 1963 long-wheel base saloon, Silver Cloud III with the single headlight mounts. Just screams ya-na-na-na-nah!

And you’d better be loaded with those nas cause that four thousand pound rolling mansion gets about ten miles to the gallon. At five bucks a gallon those nas come dear.

You all know how I feel about phones, I hat’em but I don’t have any special hatred for the mobile kind. I don’t text, surf, photo or stream on my phone and I am brilliant unsuccessful and antisocial enough I know no one is looking or me.

But those mobile phones are sure great when you have a flat at night or you run late and the Long Suffering is holding diner or you need to place a carry out order. Try ordering from your favorite eatery while sitting in front of your television set and then making it there and back while the food is still hot.

I did mention I had a chance to play with film cameras and in truth I lov’em; I started shooting with a film camera and learned a lot of stuff which is now obsolete but even with all of that knowledge weighing heavy on my heart having a digital camera makes shooting so much easier.

No processing get it? Just pop the USB data chord into the port and download to the computer where the magic of software can diddle it to death and make something out of nothing.

Beats hours of darkroom time trying by test stripping to get the enlarger exposure right.

Does any of this make change any easier? Not a bit. It’s hard to cram new knowledge into sixty-four years of solid ivory. And it pisses me off that I have to do it. I don’t like having to learn new stuff. But I like the results, and that’s why I’m asking you to keep your eyes peeled for that Luddite thingy.
Take your eye off the ball for just a second and there you are, extolling the virtues of grinding your own pigments and plastering your own scratchboard.

Sure if you want to, if you have the time, if it is part of what you consider your artistic process then please don’t mind me, go ahead and do it. But maybe you have a job or taxes to file or a houseful of kids, pets, spouses and you have no idea how you can get diner made, clothes washed, food on the table, the house picked up and find any time for art. Then having some technology at your beck and call can be a life saver.

I’m sure you’ve grown tired of my whiney-crybaby-sissy opinion of travel on Oregon roads. And to tell the truth so have I. So it was a big help for me to be able to use the Internet to enter two juried shows in other parts of the state, well lower Oregon, you know California? Took about two minutes and no persons or cars were injured or killed while it was being done which might not have been the case had I had to drive down to Redding.

So, while I reserve the right to complain about Kim Kardashian I also work very hard to overcome my Luddite tendencies. How ‘bout you? Fire up the Betamax, slip in a tape and hunker down with some chicory coffee and a sugar pie, fried in lard and rolled in powdered sugar cause it’s gonna be cold out tonight!

No comments:

Post a Comment