“Ignorance of your culture is not considered cool” – The Residents
“It means nothing to me about my life” – Steven Patrick Morrissey
It is not just the ignorance of one’s culture that should be a target for criticism, but also its disregard, which is probably a more heinous crime. The reference point era that Temples’ Sun Structures constantly refers back to was without doubt one of the most artistically fertile periods in modern history. Boundaries were challenged and pushed inexorably forward in music, art, literature, and rightly or wrongly, the chemical expansion of the mind. This tectonic shift caused a social and artistic climate that had not been seen since the renaissance in 14th century Italy. Alongside the war raging in Southeast Asia, the youth of the western world considered itself to be on a similar aggressive footing but wearing Kaftans’ instead of Khaki and involving itself in fighting on fronts concerning individual freedom and political ideals, whilst confronting the establishment and challenging its social order and values.
Whenever our morality and codes are challenged, the corporate world will always find a way of repackaging the fertile ideologies created and immediately selling it back to the second wave of revolutionaries as a symbol of cool. This usual releases the cultural pressure and only an undeterminable period of time will allow the melting pot to produce the next wave of revolt. The following era of seismic shift was at polar opposites to the reference point of this work but was just as important, more visceral and nihilistic with literal icons such as Burroughs and Selby Jr rather than Huxley, Ginsberg and Baudelaire. The desire for social change was born more out of an economic need and also a desire to rid the music world of its bloated dinosaurs that were relics from the previous Age of Aquarius, whilst its disaffected youth was determined to kick, spit and scream until someone took notice. The cycles sometimes turn the full 360 degrees and return with a variation in beats per minute and an alternate synthetic organic challenge to the cortex, possibly more hedonistic than cerebral. In recent times the changes have become less discernible and more chameleon-istic, as the artists have become wary of the pitfalls of being involved in a system based primarily on consumerism. Finally the death of cults was caused by one of its true icon’s that spoke to announce that he “didn’t have a weapon,” but we all know now that he was misleading his subjects.
To disregard history and position ones art at the centre of one of these gargantuan eras is nothing less than abhorrent, while allowing the mainstream to be a part of the quest rather than a target to corrupt and assault is almost certainly due to a lack of imagination, mystery and above all beauty. It certainly means nothing to me about my life and hopefully not yours as well.