Redesign of Ian Irvine (Hobson) Site Will Emphasise Cultural Context to Innovative Writing
In recent years it has become increasingly obvious to me that many artists, writers, musicians, poets, multimedia artists etc. are these days operating in a kind of cultural vacuum - in part caused by the information fragmentation, overload and trivialisation occasioned by both the recent media/communications revolution but also by the application of Neo-Liberal capitalist aesthetics to almost all aspects of the cultural world. The pace of the fragmentation/disintegration is evident enough in University literature/film, creative arts and cultural studies departments in the developed world (where Neo-Liberal commodification of learning is fast undermining both remnant socialist/progressivist pedagogies as well as remnant organicist conservative traditions conscious of the role of culture in maintaining socio-cultural balance). However, for creative people operating outside such an environment the situation is potentially even more dire.
The redesign my site is undergoing begins with the notion that sites like 'Authors Den' represent new 'online bardic colleges' for our age - hence it is important that within such creative communities there exist places, maintained by resident teachers, for the systematic dissemination of (i.e. 'noise/fragmentation/trivialisation/commodification' free) learning/advice concerning the role of our shared global cultural heritage in the creation of new texts/art/music etc.. Creativity, originality etc. surely begins with the writer/artist's grasp of cultural context - that is the place of our work against the backdrop of the cultural tradition that birthed it.
Traditionally the disciplines that provided such a context were: History, Literary History, Philosophy, Spirituality and Religious Studies (Mythology/Theology etc.), Cultural Studies, Art History, psychology, sociology, politics, etc. The study of these disciplines should surely inform our creative output.
I was lucky enough in the 1990s to recieve a fairly integrated, foundational classical AND progressivist humanities and social science education at La Trobe University Bendigo (also, earlier at Auckland University NZ). My teachers, and later, peers - Harry Oldmeadow, Roger Sworder, Gwen Adcock, Sue Gillett, Rod Blackhirst, Clive Faust, Gerry Gill, John Penwill, Charles Fahey, Ian Tullock, Morrie Nestor and others - managed to provide, overall, both a foundational understanding of the key innovative ideas of the past AND, crucially, a means to critique such understandings in sophisticated ways. Creative conflict is a necessary aspect of such a tigh- rope act - it is also the source of innovative thinking in a contemporary setting. Sadly, such an education seems to me to be less and less available to creative people who really need it today.
In coming months, apart from putting up more of my own writings, I hope to put up more and more 'content' (Podcasts, writings, videos etc.) designed to contribute to the creative growth of any Authors Den contributors (and other readers) interested in developing greater depth of understanding of the cultural context to their creativity. Perhaps other Authors Den writers with skills in such areas might also contribute - I'm happy to link to any articles/content working in this direction. With sufficient numbers it may be possible to turn Authors Den into an ever more innovative Avant Gardist site - one capable of birthing a new 'poetics' relevant to the ever changing conditions of the postmodern world - its challenges and potentials. More on this as the uploads proceed ...
Image above: copyright Ian Irvine 2010, all rights reserved. Taken on the Isle of Anglesey North Wales (Ruins of circular hut in a Romano-Celtic druid age settlement).