We were living in Texas when James Burke’s The Day The Universe Changed was first broadcast. The Cold War was still a thing and truth was one of the biggest casualties. Some would say that the Cold War was a modern form of the Dark Ages. That’s useful to consider since the Dark Ages in western, Christian cultures were not quite so dark elsewhere else on the planet.
Some scholars say that the Black Death sparked the Renaissance. The idea has found renewed traction among people who want to believe that the Covid pandemic has an upside. In some minds, the Covid experience may spark an artistic rebirth that in turn will lead to a modern renaissance, or so it is hoped. Artists do tend to lead the way by challenging convention with alternative possibilities. Unremarkably, artists ideas’ often become distorted by the ruling elites to suit new agendas. Art gives rise to activism and thence political art. Perhaps political art has an effect on the future. Perhaps it represents the life of human spirit. And in becoming, it turns into memory. Art and spirit may be in lockstep, then, now and forever.
The Renaissance was a disaster for more than half of the population of the planet. Arrogant militarist evangelists suppressed myriad cultures in the name of conversion and education while securing personal and national enrichment. Perhaps we gained perspective in paintings but who counts what was lost?
The majority of global media outlets are being collapsed into ever fewer corporations. You are becoming easier to manipulate by the lack of editorial diversity. And this is exactly what Edward Bernays expected when he said that ‘Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.’