I sit at my desk trying to finish a different blog post and I am struck with the objects on my desk. An orange and grey rectangle (a book) with a blue and grey circle on top of it (a pack of breath mints). A couple translucent containers with shiny metal tops. A leather rectangle with soft edges and a little bit of paint on it (my wallet). My cell phone. A lamp. Some Redbox DVD’s. A pencil and a tiny red tea cup. My desk turns into a colorful and interesting still life before my eyes. Such a wide range of objects and materials. Unassumingly sitting on my desk there is glass, metal, ceramics, paper, plastic, and leather. All designed with a purpose in mind. A menagerie of different shapes and colors. Now I would not imply that this random arrangement of objects on my desk is a more interesting than a composed still life painting, but they do have potential. The pure visual stimulation we have around us all the time due to the availability of products and materials in a modern global world is immense.
Now I am sure this has helped inspire many artist (Tara Donovan) and is probably the reason art is more diverse than ever. I wonder though if it also has an overwhelming effect on the brain. An over stimulation. I can’t help but think that in a simpler, duller, less designed world; less visual stimulation lead to more interest in art.
Sure there has always been nature; the most wondrous and diverse thing of all. But now we have nature and mass production and objects from modern design as well as every culture and every time period. Combine that with a larger than ever population of people/artists/creators. Wrap it in the internet and sprinkle some Instagram on top and you’ve got an overstimulation burrito. I guess I am getting hungry. Fuck it. Let’s stick with the analogy. My question is; will this burrito make us grow up to be big and strong or is it making us fat?
Furthermore, does everyone have the same capacity for this type of stimulation? Is it possible that some thrive off the abundance of resources while others are over saturated?
For many people this highly stimulating world of products, advertising, and youtube is already too much. I think we have all experienced some brain-melting days spent on the computer. Perhaps this keeps people from seeking out art. Art is systemic in our everyday. Maybe not new art or gallery art but this more common, more functional type of art that is marketing, design, and television. It floods our every waking moment. It is like a visual radio station that you can’t turn off.
Does this inspire us to push further than ever before and to seek out the new and the more stimulating or does it satisfy us enough that we lose interest in any more visual media.
I have heard some studies about the possible over stimulation of porn and its effect on the brain. If our brains are susceptible to this type of over stimulation could it be happening with art? And if so what is the erectile dysfunction of the art world? Standing in front of a Rembrandt for ten seconds? Moving to a new city and not even visiting the museum of contemporary art?
I am sure many people have probably written about this. One of the perks of not being well read is the illusion of more original thoughts. If you know of any studies or papers please let me know. If not, then this is a call to action. Get on it scientist. Do your thing and figure out what’s happening with our brains.
Now back to the post I was supposed to be working on. Thanks for reading.