Belmont Club

The Unseen

CBC Canada‘s spoof article describes art at its most refined. “Just because you can’t see anything, doesn’t mean I didn’t put hours of work into creating a particular piece”.  It tells a fictional story.

27-year-old artist Lana Newstrom says she is the first artist in the world to create invisible “art.” In this documentary we traveled to her empty studio to learn more about Lana and her unusual artistic process. …

Paul Rooney, Lana’s agent, believes she might be the greatest artist alive working today: “When she describes what you can’t see, you begin to realize why one of her invisible works can fetch upwards of a million dollars.” said Rooney.

Which even supposing it were true might mean she’s the first artist to produce invisible work, but Lana Newstrom is by no means the most famous. Fox News reports that James Franco, the actor, also “makes invisible art he sells for real money.”

Franco, a man of all trades, has been a student, professor, actor, soap actor (there’s a difference), and a musician.

But his nifty trick in the art world is finding a way to be an artist without actually executing a physical work.

His work is completely invisible.

Along with Brainard and Delia Carey, the art duo known as Praxis, Franco has helped the Museum Of Non-Visible Art, MONA open its doors.

But its pretty empty inside.

Described as “an extravaganza of imagination,” the different pieces of invisible art are on sale from $20 to $10,000. Buyers receive a plaque in the mail describing the art, but no physical work itself.

If I were only in vicinity, I would buy up all his work with all the invisible cash in my pocket.  That makes it all the more real. Because if you can see, touch or feel something, it is surely not worth it.  But if you are told something is worth millions, then it must be. Told is the gold standard of truth. For as that famous aviator-author noted, “What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Invisible art is like climate change. It is what They say it is. Scientists are warning that Global Warming will cause colder winters.

You might think the opposite was true. But what do you know?  Global Warming, is after all, settled science. To illustrate this, the New York Times describes some of people marching in the giant rally against Global Warming in the Big Apple.

Late on Saturday night, in Long Island City, Queens, a giant papier-mâché sculpture of Coatlicue, an Aztec earth goddess, was sitting half-assembled on 44th Road. “We’ll be here all night,” said Gibran Raya, the director of an indigenous dance troupe, who was wielding a power drill. His troupe would be dancing around the goddess throughout the People’s Climate March, which would be held the following morning. Danny Valle, an artist from Mexico City with a long black beard, designed the sculpture as a replica of the original andesite Coatlicue, which sits in Mexico City’s Museum of Anthropology. “I wanted it as big as you can make it,” he said. “[Mother Earth] is really pissed at what we’re doing.” Ollín Cruz, who lives in Sunset Park, is one of the dancers in Raya’s troupe. Cruz, who is originally from Mexico City, worries about the effects of drought back home. “When there is no rain, there are problems for the cattle industry in Mexico,” he said. Raya struggled with the drill and a papier-mâché block at the base, and Cruz went to help. “They’re building the skirt,” Valle explained. …

“So often when we think of environmentalists, we think of young white men in dreads,” said Rodriguez, who is the director of an immigrant-rights organization called Culture Strike. She told me that her group, mostly made up of Latino men and women, had become concerned with climate change because “migration is an effect of ecological destruction,” which is caused, in large part, by fossil-fuel extraction and combustion, which drives climate change.

Welcome to the second decade of the 21st century. The millennium which began with radical Islamists flying airplanes into the Twin Towers  is quite naturally blossoming, not into the “rationalist atheism” so long predicted, but into a curious age where intellectuals who regard themselves too sophisticated to believe in Jesus or Moses have no problem with Gaia, Xenu, and Coatlicue.

No more young white scientists in dreads. The NYT article describes what we have instead, something far better. Uncle Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq.

On Sunday morning, a rather sedate group of marchers from all over was gathering in the quad of the Union Theological Seminary. They were attending a religious-leaders’ climate-change conference. Among them was Uncle Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, a shaman from Greenland. Sixty-seven years old, Uncle—as he prefers to be called—had gray hair combed straight back and wore black cowboy boots. A polar bear claw hung around his neck. “I’m from middle-west Greenland,” he said. “That’s next to the big ice.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was absolutely right when asserted the importance of the invisible. The forces that ultimately govern our world, whether at the subatomic level, the cosmic scale or expressed in the mathematics of physics, are truly unseen.  The invisible has always counted. It is how we know the invisible that has changed.

Back in the bad old days of superstition the content of the secret world was pronounced upon by shamans, elders and similar sources of traditional authority, like Uncle Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq. They told the masses — us — how the world began and why the seasons changed.

What changed everything was the scientific revolution, whose core  insight was that no authority could stand between the individual and God, or the Truth or Reality — whatever you wanted to call that entity. All the secrets of the invisible world, such as for example the boiling point of water, were available to anyone who asked the question directly from nature.

Human authority was replaceable in that scientific world. The individual derived his worth, as everything derived, directly from the Creator.  Straight from reality to you. The Nazis, were like the similarly atheistic Soviets, great believers in authority. The Nazi defense at Nuremberg was that authority was necessary for law and since the supreme authority of Germany ordered the defendants to exterminate the Jews then the defendants were guilty of no crime because they violated no law.

Their defense was a defense from authority.  The argument for their conviction derived essentially from a belief in the abstract Truth;  that laws existed before there were parliaments. In that world, Nature itself pronounced upon invisible things; and in since it gave the Jews — since the Creator gave everyone inalienable rights  — which the Nazis proceeded to violate — then the defendants were condemned to hang by the neck until dead.

But ironically the Nazi point of view ultimately prevailed, not at Nuremberg, but decades later. As the years passed the Soviets were able to persuade the Western victors of the supremacy of authority. The truth became relative. The truth became unscientific.  Because what really counted was authority. What mattered was Legitimacy and its first cousin, Celebrity. In today’s 21st politically correct world, the ultimate source of law is once again social proof.

An empty space is worth $10,000 if someone famous says so. Global warming produces cold weather because that is what An Authority has pronounced. And a piece of paper is worth a $100 because the Federal Reserve printing press imprints the value on it. Things are true once again, not because they are, but on the grounds that Coatlicue and Uncle Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, or whoever, declare them to be so.

In the liberal and PC world authority is truth. And that is probably why modern Western elites are more comfortable with the disciples of Mohammed, Coatlicue, Xenu or Gaia than they are with the teachings of Moses or Jesus. Jesus once said, “the truth will set you free.”  And that’s a terribly inconvenient thing.  The world work so much better if authority on every side were given a free hand.

Oh say, can you see.

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