An article in the NYTimes, once the paper of record, has an interesting article today about noise in bars and restaurants here in NYC, “Working or Playing Indoors, New Yorkers Face an Unabated Roar.” To summarize, the article shows how music is manipulated via volume and beats per minute to control clientele and access the money within their wallets, more importantly though are the responses about the dislocation that some people feel in those settings, the loss of focus due to the noise levels, etc.
What I find is that our television media works with the same kind of manipulation. As someone who has given up a TV subscription but ends up seeing TV on rare occasions I am highly aware of how most Americans are frogs in a cooking pot of ever increasing temperature, the volume levels of commercials with the fast flashing of imagery and massive hype creates a subtle sense of anxiety. Even commercials for shows that are reputedly dramas do this and beyond the commercials the flashing of quick cuts and scenes with fast graphics and special effects manifest a physiological and psychological drain. If you don’t believe me, turn off your set for a week or two and then watch it. Maybe it’s just my fifty years showing. Research in how television works though has shown such, you can google it for yourself or read this article, “Why We Worry- The Psychological Effects of TV News.” To me this part of the reason our culture has unraveled is that we live in the zombie apocalypse already, too many people are checked out and need the tv-meth to get by and I don’t believe in an over arching conspiracy as it seems to be a feed back loop that one has to make a conscious decision to kick the addiction.
What the result of this barrage is an uninformed and disinterested electorate that doesn’t have the physical or psychic energy to deal or face with ‘reality’ of the system or their manipulations. More they have been sucked into a concept of America as land of the “I’ve got mine, good luck getting yours” as this anxiety makes it nearly impossible for people to actually communicate about things since they are in the dark, as it were.
This manipulation feeds into the art world at large also. Is anyone really shocked that Jeffrey Deitch has made the moves he has made at MoCA with the firing of Paul Schimmel? Deitch has always been about art as entertainment in the most banal and cynical of means. All flash.
Locally one cannot but express extreme disappointment of the lack of critical support by our own Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn most likely has more artists living and working in it than any other locale in the world and the Brooklyn Museum has such weak concepts as “GO”. I know financing curatorial muscle is difficult but where there is a will there is a way and the Brooklyn Museum always manages to underwhelm. Art to these organizations is a second thought.