Perhaps aestheticizing a city isn’t necessarily good for long-term prospects, at least not at the cost of actual jobs. Maybe it’s at best a second- or third- order priority.
Perhaps aestheticization can bring good to a city if there are already enough people providing goods in the city. Curating and criticizing art can be valuable, of course, but both seem second- or third-order priorities to actually making art (citizens, be wary of leaving arts in the hands of many enbalment-oriented Arts Councils, public radio and college professors, docents, Mayor’s Offices…they [often] have other interests and incentives aside from the art).
There are some things (bullshittery) which don’t sit right with me about the below video, this packaging of chocolate with high middle-brow tastes and vague Self-oriented hipster collectivism.
It strikes me as the kind of thing people from smaller towns and suburbs might imagine an ideal city to be on a visit, which is to say, potentially imbued with a lot of high middle-brow tastes these days (creative, urban, vibrant etc).
Such is my read, anyways, which probably says quite a bit about me.
The Mast Brothers invite customers into their process. They’re giving you bits of their individual Selves to mix with your individual Self as you band together towards the future that awaits. Come to the glittering Brooklyn upon the horizon.
Few chocolate-makers take pains to mention Mark Twain & Ralph Waldo Emerson in their promo videos:
From The American Conversative: ‘The Gentrification Trade-Off In Buffalo:’
‘Hidden away in the far western corner of New York State and straddling the Canadian border, Buffalo sometimes feels like the city that time forgot. Many of its storefronts, bars, and bowling alleys look like they haven’t been updated since the 1970s.’
Vincent Gallo has Italian roots and comes from an industrial, hard-working city full of Catholic immigrants and is also interested in the Arts. He was a visual artist who went to NYC, then L.A., and turned to film as a means to self-expression and potential financial success. Did he want Celebrity? Money? Fame?
This, apparently, is one aspect of ‘culture’ that’s been created: The pursuit Self through celebrity, money and fame, as a thing that many, many people all share as an artifact of ‘culture.’
Probably all of the above in addition to self-expression and the pursuit of beauty and saying true things by creating images.
I can say it’s rare to find a tradition-defending aesthete and iconoclastic supporter of the Republican party. Maybe it’s the Buffalo roots.
It makes for great T.V. taking on the critics in a USA track-suit while defending the vision behind ‘Buffalo 66‘, even though he seems like, potentially, quite an asshole:
American cities relying on industries such as textiles, furniture, various light and heavy manufacturing, railroads, steel, coal, oil, automobiles etc. have seen good times come and go.
Sometimes the good times came and went one generation ago, sometimes three. Buffalo is certainly among those cities.
Will the good times come again?
It’s certainly making for ‘interesting’ politics.
The arts can be one lens with which to look at these problems and places…
I’d argue that it’s possible, especially with the constant cries of modernism to ‘make it new,‘ I think this is one way we’ve arrived at pop art, and the desire to blend conceptual art and popular music together. This is in evidence from The Talking Heads to Lady Gaga to Jay Z promoting his new album alongside Marina Abramovic at MOMA.
Another lens to understand the world as a citizen is the social sciences, and this blog favors the contrarians amongst what is increasingly monolithic and received opinion:
Here’s a fine example of how to exchange ideas. Two people gather in a forum to present and dispute the data used, the methodologies applied, the empirical evidence offered, and the conclusions and conjectures both might draw from their own thinking. There’s some light moderation and Q & A from the audience:
Maybe vocation, purpose and meaning have A LOT to do with our current issues. How to live and what to do?