Since at least the impressionists 150 years ago art has been about disrupting ‘normal’.
In this Season Of Covid I keep trying to reconcile the phrase “getting back to normal” with the facts which tell me there is no normal. Has never been an applicable, universal ‘normal’. There are routines, and there are social structures and constructs within which people function. In my social sciences degree these were called systems, and systems are fed by paradigms, or ‘value sets’ that define those functional parameters. Even those highly institutionalized labels defined a process of injecting new information prompting a paradigm shift which creates systemic change and ultimately influences to a restructuring of the whole. But now I’m just showing off. People want to get back to their routines which defined their sense of ‘normal’.
Here’s the deal: Once the routine, the ‘normal’, has been disrupted there is no fully going back. Life will always be just ever so slightly different. Maybe even a lot more than just slightly. This will drive certain individuals whose economics and control issues are derived from absolute unchanging structure right out their water. This is what I meant when I recently suggested that Covid is just a further extension of the technological, social, and economic changes that have already driven certain individuals towards advocating moving society backward by use of authoritarian measures. A century ago, we saw the adoption of such measures in full force.
Prior to the impressionists, art seemed to be all about finding normal, all the way back to da Vinci whose revolutionary uses of perspective redefined the way we see. As of the impressionists, then through all forms of modern art since, it is as though our collective sight has moved past normal into the subliminal; past the overt and towards the light we cannot see.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.