There are so few stories left to tell. Yes, authors can continue to update portrayals of characters, refurbishing them with new costumes and accents, but these cannot be called improvements in the qualitative sense. Adaptations and refashionings are all we have to speak of. Perhaps that is all we ever had. We may even come across a totally new type of character or story, but however fantastic their adventures or dilemmas, we all know their ending: death.
Combinations of words, musical notes, paint colors, subject matter, and aesthetics of any kind have been nearly exhausted. Though they were probably quite tired at the beginning of time, the cycles under their eyes now appear the darkest shoe polish black. I’d say they are screaming for us to stop. Even this depressing paragraph has probably been written already, its point expressed, and better so than here. Perhaps greater clarity and eloquence are the artist’s new mission, to improve upon the stories, songs, and still quiet paintings, making them easier to understand and interpret. But if this is so, would it not be preferable to answer this task with silence? To erase the drawing, rather than have its message, “no reason,” reach an audience’s eye?
Neither will new forms breathe new life into art, for it is not only our means of expression that tie us down, but our need to express. The artist’s brush is confined by his canvas, yes, this was a mixed curse and liberation for a time. We see now though, that his vision was unoriginal anyway, hardly worth a sheet of loose leaf paper. The idea of existence as art now rebukes the hope that the density of a work, like the Sistine chapel or some ridiculously long work of music, will give it any added merit. It is no wonder that people now refuse to pay for music these days. It has all been heard before.
It hits me now, the real uselessness of art. Not just in it’s inability to perform a task, but in it’s impotence to be original. In truth, the only reason any of us continue in this futile pursuit of creation is to feel important for creating it. To step back from our work and lie to ourselves and say, “it is mine.” And what will we be calling ours? A luxurious trap. The evolutionary legacy of art will be as a grave miscalculated narcissism. It may be the mirror we look at as we are attacked by ravenous wolves. With any luck, the musician might craft a song dissonant enough to scare them away.
No, I don’t argue that we should stop this self-destructive creativity. I still believe an artist tastes better than a drunk.