Civil society requires civil thought and action. While there are those in the world who protect freedom of speech, and freedom of the press, there are others who seek to limit access to these freedoms. How humans live in the 21st century, and how they act, is a by-product of education, social bias, political and religious beliefs.
Having the freedom to act, and speak freely is an essential component for any civil society, and without the protection of these freedoms, chaos, anarchy, and suffering prevail.
Studying the recent murders in Paris gives us a clue to the complex nature of words, images, and human communication. How we, as human beings respond to these murders will ultimately guide our own thoughts. Anyone with even a glimmer of altruism, empathy, and concern for the lives of others will be saddened by this wanton act of violence.
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There is much discussion about whether machines offer a valid contribution to the production of Art, especially Fine Art. With the advent of computers, artists now have a vast vocabulary of software and hardware that can be used for visual processing. How do these new technologies differ from traditional methods for artistic production. In the case of drawing, a traditional form used graphite pencils and paper. Today, artists can use a computer stylus, and software that mimics the pressure sensitivity of traditional drawing, and that also adds powerful computing capability to the process.
In the world of music, machines are taken for granted as important components of the creative process. With the advent of recording, and amplified live performance, musicians, and the music industry embraced machine technology.
In its infancy photography was thought of as craft, and it was only through the enlightened efforts of Stieglitz and Steichen when early in the twentieth century these attitudes were displaced. Today, many artists use photographic technology as an important method for expression.
Often people think of ceramic as craft, and yet in Japan, ceramic, and ceramic artists are respected in the same light as artists working in any other medium.
Technology changes, and at any point in human history artists exploit technologies for use as mediums for artistic expression. Social media has introduced a new pathway for artistic communication, and perhaps there are other new technologies alive today that will leave an imprint on the history of human artistic expression.
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Information, education, knowledge, wisdom: Access
We are all caught between free access to information, and the restriction to that access. Whether we are born to freely access media, or whether we are born in a highly repressive environment where media is restricted, access ultimately impacts who we are, and how we think.
Commercial enterprise drives much of the system delivering media to the world. Iggy Pop talks about these complex relationships in his Peel lecture. Anyone who wants to think about these things should take the time to listen, contemplate, and act.
We live in a complex world where ideas are shared, communicated, and sometimes censored. Every person needs to ask why they have access to certain ideas, and why some ideas are intentionally suppressed.
Knowledge, and education are important human attributes, and access to these tools that inform the mind are important to everyone. Only through a vital process of keeping ideas flowing can we, as human beings progress, ultimately becoming more complete, and civil in our actions.