New Media Art and the Zeitgeist
Résumé | Extrait
“Every work of art is the child of its age and, in many cases, the mother of our emotions. It follows that each period of culture produces an art of its own which can never be repeated.” Wassily Kandinsky1 In his book Concerning The Spiritual In Art, written in 1911, Wassily Kandinksy relates the spiritual, inner life of man to art and assigns to it a sense of slow but continuous progression: “The spiritual life, to which art belongs and of which she is one of the mightiest elements, is a complicated but definite and easily definable movement forwards and upwards. This movement is the movement of experience.”2 Graphically, the spiritual life is represented as an acute-angled triangle that is “moving slowly, almost invisibly forwards and upwards,” progressively acquiring knowledge and experience, from the most enlightened individuals to the rest of humanity: “Where the apex was today the second segment is tomorrow; what today can be understood only by the apex and to the rest of the triangle is an incomprehensible gibberish, forms tomorrow the true thought and feeling of the second segment.”3 This conception of art as a Promethean endeavour may seem anachronistic nowadays, but it does remind us of something that we still expect, to some degree, from a contemporary work of art: a reflection of the times we live in. The spiritual in Kandinsky’s text can therefore be related to a wider concept of the spirit in connection to the present time: the Zeitgeist, or “spirit of the age.” Art can be seen as a reflection of the Zeitgeist in the sense that it draws elements from its socio-political, cultural and intellectual climate and generates a response in a form that is not simply descriptive but metaphorical: it does not just provide information but promotes thought. According to historian Boris Groys, art even defines its contemporaneity in the extent to which it succeeds in portraying the spirit of its age: “art seems to be truly contemporary if it is authentic, if for...
|Auteur :||Pau Waelder|
|Titre :||New Media Art and the Zeitgeist|
|Revue :||ETC, Numéro 96, juin-octobre 2012, p. 50-53|
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