Steve Kim - December 19th, 2010
The desensitizing effects of biorhythmic modulation caused by the direct interactions with machines, and the resulting increased periodicity of rhythm and form in popular culture, with its accompanying aperiodic reaction in art *.
*or; why John Henry blew it.
From the late 19th. century through to the present, society’s tempo has increased, due in large part to our sheer amount of activity. We are doing much more, more often, and for longer amounts of time with greater rapidity. In our not so distant past, for example, nightfall limited most human activity to the daylight hours. Here, in our present, this massive global event routinely passes unnoticed. It is our technology that has enabled us to radically increase the range and capability of human activity without regard to nature’s cycles.
At what price does this increase come? How have we been affected by our constant interaction with the machine? Have our internal rhythms, and sense of time and form remained essentially those of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, or have we changed? If we have changed, is this an evolution, or a disability? Do we now find ourselves fundamentally linked to our technology in some sort of hybrid biological/technological relationship? What for us constitutes a human response? How do we define communication?
We have certainly changed culturally, and our internal rhythms are being continually modulated with the new, highly periodic and symmetrical rhythms of our devices. Our expressions reflect the new rhythms of this increasingly mechanized, thus accelerated society (Louis Armstrong’s solos in the 1920’s and post-war Bop are early examples). I believe that the questions of human response to these realities will continue to characterize the humanities, and come to predominate the new art.
For my part of this week’s session, I have asked Kate Olson, Naomi Siegal, David Baletero, and Jacques Willis to join me in exploring these questions by using periodic forms as a point of departure. Our aim is a reply that is expanded, inclusive, and human.
I invite you to also focus on the influence that technology is having on your sense of time, form and communication.