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New Renaissance

One aspect I particularly enjoy about our work on ‘Omni’ is that we are just as likely to spend hours debating scientific concepts as artistic ones.  In the past I’ve often had to work with, for example, script editors who don’t understand even basic scientific concepts let alone their implications; or scientists who neglect the immeasurable, subjective world to such an extent that they may, for example, think ‘Van Helsing’ a good movie.  And I won’t even mention other aesthetic sensibilities, such as personal hygiene.

But it is the lack of self-awareness I find most disturbing in scientists, or even self-knowledge.  I watched a documentary recently about a scientist seeking to create eternal life, experimenting by transplanting monkey heads onto different bodies.  The film showed how when a monkeyhead woke up on its new body, it reacted with sheer rage.  The scientist’s comment?  Something like:  “I don’t really know why it was so angry.”  This is horrific, not to say unbelievably stupid, and I find the scientist’s attitude – his lack of common sense and empathy – as horrific as a society that condones such approaches to discovering ‘truth’.  When I saw this though, the extreme violence of  Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewics’s superb graphic novel ‘Electra Assassin’ suddenly seemed fitting, particularly in the laboratory scenes.  In the past I’d always thought the bloodletting over the top, now I actually considered it understated.

And it has often been comics for me which have reflected today’s society the most accurately.  ‘Art is a spirit, and it has moved house…the poets have picked up electric guitars’ I wrote once in a little-seen play and I still think this, that the most salient art at any time is different from what went before, and what will come next.  16th Century?  Give me the theatre.  19th Century?  The novel.  1970s?  Rock music or cinema.  1990s for me was the comic:  nobody was watching it or took it seriously, so the real creative people could do what they wanted without censure.

Fortunately for me, although I find most current comics a bit tame, lacking spirit or pretending to have spirit by using shocktactics – particularly as they have become more culturally accepted (compare the movie ‘Constantine’ with Jamie Delano’s original ‘Hellblazer’ comic, for instance) – I still find it a tremendously exciting and vibrant medium.  Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen’s  ‘Secret Identity’ is a personal favourite amongst recent publications, and there are plenty of others to do what art is, in my view, supposed to do:  reflect upon the world we are in, and ask the deeper questions, so that we are forced – we want to – confront the truth about ourselves, so that perhaps one day even scientists may discover their souls.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 9, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    nice one brother, i like it!!! it’s entertaining, informative and it’s got heart.

    can’t think of anything witty or informative to say so i’ll leave it at that for now.

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