Artist Statement 2001
Regarding the title ‘AT PLAY IN THE UTOPIAN MATRIX’ Utopia of course is an imaginary place written about by SIR THOMAS MORE (Written in 1516.) and, in essence, represents a movement toward an ideal society and world. A world that is equitable toward all and in which ‘every man has plenty’. While it hasn’t fully dawned on us, the world we live in is almost 100 % imaginary. How we jointly imagine; so the world becomes.
Since the great futurist projects taken up by artists, architects engineers and designers, writers, composers, theorists, etc. beginning in the late ‘teens toward building a new, affordable world using uniform building practices and materials, taking advantage of machines, technology and production of low cost, widely available ‘modern’ products for everyday living, much of the modern world has been transmuted into a thoughtfully structured, carefully crafted, Utopian environment where ever there have been enough resources and vision to do so. We are so immersed in the world created by these early pioneers that it has become our everyday existence.
The main thing missing at this point is the recognition by Utopia’s citizenry that we are living in the envisioned world that has been invented, designed and fabricated in less that 80 years by some unknown thousands of people from all over the world who all worked off of each others ideas and principles toward a world in which Everyman can live a life of dignity and relative freedom. This is an astounding feat and, taken in its totality, is what I call the Massurreality generated by the Utopian Matrix and supported and put into practice by the world of commerce and corporations.
The Utopian Matrix is the modernist cultural envelope invented by the cultural community within which certain ideas, proposals, theories, practices, ideals and assumptions have governed and guided the creation of all that we now hold dear. It has been the single force that has inspired the entire human world which has been designed in the last 80 years to provide us with comfort, safely, accessibility of affordable goods, aesthetic pleasure, self esteem, and sense of purpose. It is a secular spirituality based not on religious dogma but rather on scientific sobriety that is logical and rational, build on principles of simplicity, order, calm, and elegance as well as compatibility standards and considerations in order to function in conjunction with the array of objects within the Modernist Utopian environment and is utterly dependent upon mass communication to allow for its global orchestration. This process has become the default modus operandi of modern culture world wide.
Of course, there are other forces at work which do not accord themselves with these altruistic ideals including an ignorance on the part of the general population in the fine details of its theory and goals, profiteers, and even those who fear and despise its growth as evidenced by the recent WTC Catastrophe. But in the end, The Utopian Ideal, as it evolves in its own self generating and self harmonizing way will quietly continue to overtake the world.
The thing is, however, that we need to continually reawaken ourselves to the Utopian Quest that we as a cultural community have been unfolding in recent generations and then to educate ourselves in the ideals that have been so clearly articulated through the objects and environments which now enfold us.
Art historians would like to suggest that all of the early art movements are now mere historical fact but this is not in the least true. The Utopian Matrix is a new world which is slowly, uninterruptedly and relentlessly filling in every nook and cranny, every space and object of the world all around us and shapes the dreams and aspirations of all of its citizens and records the gradual unfolding of the human consciousness.
In this imaginary ideal world precipitating into physical concretion, each of us has the privilege and the duty to shape its existence, each within the scope of his own domain. The more we understand and explore the forces that have informed its development and given it such powerful, ubiquitous presence, the more able we shall be to appreciate the beauty of its construction and understand the ideals each and every designed object and environment embodies and happily take up our place within it.
If we consider that up through the 70’s we have what could be called the gestation and birth of this new world, we can call the 80’s and 90’s a kind of postpartum depression. A period of cynicism and alienation for many as the promise of the sparkling new faded into a seemingly used up, battered dream, with the great futurist hope and enthusiasm giving way under the weight of the unanticipated problems generated by an unrestrained forward movement.
The very success that brought the modernist movement into unquestioned authority led it to, what for many, was its logical conclusion in Minimalism and conceptualism. These represent a kind of purging of the last vestages of the old aesthetic to make way for fresh possibilities. This in turn seemed to create a kind of cultural implosion leaving the individual artists to work out their own individual, unique destinies. While this seems the death nill of Modernist Utopianism, it is, in fact, the sign of its triumph – protectively surrounding the cultural workers and providing a stable platform from which to continue visionary experimentation and individualistic dreaming which serves as the reservoir from which the fleshing out of Utopia will continue to take place.