Last night I attended an exhibit called “World Sampler” at Artworks in Trenton, NJ. It was a group exhibit with a variety of works of art that spoke to an emerging “globalized aesthetic”. It also touched on the idea that “we live in a world that is constantly changing and becoming conceptually smaller and more connected.” I see that as a result of access to information and advancing global technology.
We can connect in ways never before possible and are more aware of perceived similarities and differences. I think perception is an important aspect in this. So I ask, do we ignore the similarities and create the differences? I tend to think we do. It’s part of being human and our search for identity and purpose.
As far as the world becoming conceptually smaller, I’m not so sure. I think we are becoming conceptually aware and expanding our understanding of underlying similarities. This was beautifully represented in one of the works last night where there were a series of male and female portraits rendered multiple times of one man and one woman with changes to the hair, eyes, ethnicity and clothing. It took a few minutes to see that it was the same person in each portrait. This spoke so clearly to me about externals shielding underlying commonalities. Yet these are the very things we use to give ourselves identities and meaning in human form.
While I believe there is an emerging awareness I think there is resistance to accepting and seeing the commonalities that lie beyond our humanness. Perhaps we don’t want to give up the concept or belief that we are unique, different and individuals. Perhaps its scary to look in the eyes of another and see pieces of ourselves. Perhaps this is where we feel most conflicted and defensive. Are we stuck in seeing only that which fits into our comfort zone of belief, as was brought up last night? Are these the “shelters” that help us feel safe? (There was a unique piece in the exhibit that spoke to shelters.)
How do these constructs impact our perceptions of progress vs. destruction? Are progress and destruction really different or just two sides of the same coin working together to carry us forward to greater understanding and compassion? I’m leaning in that direction.
How much of all that we do and create evolves from a desperate need to understand why we are here in the first place and answer the question of do we matter? Perhaps that’s the real common thread.
It was a great show! http://artworkstrenton.org/main-gallery/