ON THE ARTS

 

1. If literature can be divided into three main branches, viz. philosophical, fictional, and poetical, then the same must hold true of art and music, so that we distinguish between sculptural, painterly, and holographic branches of art on the one hand, but between choreographic, symphonic, and improvisational branches or, roughly, rhythmic, melodic/harmonic, and aleatoric branches of music on the other hand, the latter equivalent to a bias for pitch over rhythm rather than, like the symphony (particularly in its classical manifestation), a compromise, in varying degrees, between the two extremes. Instead of branches, I would prefer to speak of spectra in the arts, equating each spectrum with a specific class integrity or orientation, subject to modification in the course of time. Thus, with regard to literature, I shall speak of an aristocratic philosophical spectrum, a bourgeois fictional spectrum, and a proletarian poetical spectrum, the same applying to each of the other arts when evaluated from an evolutionary point-of-view. If philosophy and poetry are antithetical and, when true to themselves, absolute in character (fictional literature being a compromise or hybrid genre in between the two class-evolutionary extremes), then so are sculpture and holography in art, or ballet and jazz in music, (painterly art no less than symphonic music being a compromise, and, in some degree, cross between the two extremes).

 

2. Let us take one art form at a time and analyse the component parts of each of the three spectra (or branches) it entails, beginning with literature. Here we find philosophical, fictional, and poetical spectra horizontally existing one above the other, as it were, in relation to class-evolutionary stages, the philosophical being the oldest mode of literary writing, a mode centred on appearance as an investigation and comprehension of external phenomena, and stretching from its aristocratic roots in pagan civilization, with particular reference to the ancient Greeks, towards its petty-bourgeois culmination at the tail-end, so to speak, of the Christian civilization, where it takes the form of a critique of language, i.e. an investigation of and attempt at comprehending the logic inherent in an artificial form of appearance, the final subject for philosophy in the strictly academic sense of that discipline. For after an early-stage petty-bourgeois era, philosophy ceases to be possible or, if still pursued, acquires an anachronistic status. A late-stage petty-bourgeois era, on the other hand, will be increasingly given to pseudo-philosophy, in which occult and/or metaphysical issues and investigations predominate, the former during its lower phase, the latter as the chief concern of its higher, or absolute, phase when, in effect, philosophical writings are acquiring a quasi-poetic status.

 

3. By contrast, fiction begins on relative grand-bourgeois terms in the form of the play - a kind of transitional genre in between philosophy and literature-proper - and comes into its own with the development of the novel, initially a late-stage grand-bourgeois art form of philosophical bias, though one destined, having passed through a bourgeois compromise status, to culminate on early-stage petty-bourgeois terms as it evolves towards poetry, its final form that of the poetic novel and/or novella. After this, novelistic literature ceases to be possible (though anachronisms do of course continue to appear) and fiction can only be upgraded or made appropriate, if in a rather 'pseudo' fashion, to a late-stage petty-bourgeois age in the guise of short-story writing, a kind of continuation of the fictional tradition in other (usually magazine) terms. In short, not a new genre but an extension and modification of a traditional genre which will necessarily co-exist with the specifically higher-phase petty-bourgeois/early-stage proletarian art form of film, cinema being the antithetical equivalent of theatre; films, or at any rate those of a narrative import, the primary mode of pseudo-literature, germane to an extreme relativistic age, and divisible, as with rock music, into film classical (adaptations of famous novels), and film originals, the latter properly commensurate with proletarian culture in its early, or filmic, stage. Pseudo-literature, no less than pseudo-philosophy in relation to philosophy-proper, signifies an evolutionary progression beyond the bounds of genuine literature, entailing a more contemplative mode of literary appreciation, its integrity (certainly in regard to film classical) more poetic in character.

 

4. Coming to poetry, we may note that its origins were more or less grand bourgeois in character and thus given to a relativity biased towards appearances, e.g. beauty, expressed in highly rhythmic terms, such as suggest an indebtedness to dance music besides, formally considered, an obvious affinity with sculpture. Unlike the other branches of the literary spectrum, however, poetry began on 'pseudo' terms and continued along 'pseudo' lines until the advent of a late-stage petty-bourgeois age, when it became genuine, i.e. concerned with essence and hence truth, albeit on terms, necessarily relative to the phase in question, such as led to a distinction between metaphysically expressive poetry and grammatically impressive poetry, the one indirectly intimating of truth through description, the other directly intimating of truth through abstraction; the former materialistic, the latter spiritualistic. From there the evolution of poetry towards a proletarian climax presupposes the development of anthologies, beginning on fairly descriptive terms and proceeding, with the growth of civilized absolutism, towards the abstraction of pure poetry on computer disc, the ultimate form of literature. Thus from a materialistic relativity to a spiritualistic absolutism, the overall relativity of an absolutist civilization being successive in time rather than, as with bourgeois/proletarian civilization, simultaneous.

 

5. If literature began with philosophy, then art began with sculpture, an art form concerned with form and, hence, the emulation of natural beauty, specifically animal and human, whether combined, as in ancient Egypt, or separate, as in ancient Rome. Like philosophy, which is chained to aristocratic pagan roots, sculpture cannot evolve beyond an early-stage petty-bourgeois age; for the eclipse of form through abstract or non-representational techniques, as in so much modern sculpture, is no less anti-sculptural than occult philosophy is anti-philosophical and, so I maintain, a stepping-stone to a quasi-poetic metaphysical bias - the higher phase, as it were, of a late-stage petty-bourgeois epoch. Beyond sculpture there is only pseudo-sculpture, the contemporary mode of abstract work which, in its higher or non-tactile manifestations, intimates of light art, and thus assumes a quasi-luminous status. By contrast, that which can be touched acquires a status analogous to the short story in literature, signifying a kind of upgrading and transformation of sculpture rather than its complete negation, and this no matter how abstract or synthetic the work(s) in question. The use of contemporary plastics and/or metals certainly distinguishes this sculpture from its more naturalistic forerunner, but tactility remains, and that is the essence of sculpture. Again I would say it is a kind of pseudo-sculpture by dint of its abstract and synthetic construction, though not a mainstream mode of pseudo-sculpture, such as could only apply to works employing electric-light bulbs and/or neon tubes in a sculptural way, with regard to volume and the affirmation of a mundane context - usually the ground or floor of an exhibition space. Such 'light sculptures' hover between sculpture and holography, intimating of the latter while stemming from the former.

 

6. Art, properly so-considered, begins on approximately grand-bourgeois terms, as mural and/or cameo, and proceeds to a painterly status on canvas with the development of late-stage grand-bourgeois civilization, its culmination being on early-stage petty-bourgeois terms, as implying frameless or frame-free abstract works of either an expressionistic (materialist) or an impressionistic (spiritualist) constitution. After this culmination, there can be no more art in the painterly sense, though anachronisms will of course continue to appear, not least of all in the more aesthetically traditional countries, where respect for bourgeois criteria inevitably runs deeper. As elsewhere, a kind of pseudo-art will prevail in the form of posters, an upgrading and modification of painterly art on terms suitable to a more spiritual age, the poster being equivalent to the magazine short-story in literature and taking second place beside the truly contemporary pseudo-art of photography, that antithetical equivalent of the early-stage grand-bourgeois cameo, with its materially realistic integrity. Photography, then, is to art what film is to literature - in effect the art of the age, mechanical as opposed to manual, objective as opposed to subjective, impersonal rather than personal, and more proletarian than (higher-phase) petty-bourgeois when concerned not with classical reproductions but with original productions. After this pseudo-art there can be no further evolution along the middle spectrum, as it were, of art. For it signifies the culmination of a tradition, as film does in relation to literature.

 

7. The third and highest spectrum of art, namely the holographic, begins, like poetry, on approximately grand-bourgeois terms, as stained-glass windows, and proceeds from this pseudo-holographic status, relative to a predominantly sculptural age, to a no-less 'pseudo' but nevertheless comparatively superior manifestation in drawing, as pertaining to a painterly age, which necessarily conditions the form of the extreme arts, the sculptural no less than the holographic. Thus drawing, as pseudo-holography, remains the idealistic norm throughout the duration of late-stage grand-bourgeois/bourgeois/early-stage petty-bourgeois civilization, until such time as, with the emergence of a late-stage petty-bourgeois/early-stage proletarian age, it is eclipsed and superseded by light art, properly so-considered, as a closer approximation to the truly holographic - indeed, as a kind of quasi-holographic art antithetical, in construction, to early-stage grand-bourgeois 'holographic' art, viz. stained glass in relation to the Christian West and, to a degree, amphora painting in relation to ancient Greece in its more relative, even arguably grand-bourgeois, stage. However, if light art signifies, with its translucent tubing, an antithetical equivalent to such art, then the culmination of this third and highest spectrum of the visual arts can only be in terms of holography, which will establish an antithesis (not an antithetical equivalent) with formal sculpture, and proceed from a relatively representational status to an absolutely abstract status in the course of evolutionary time, doing for the visual arts what abstract poetry will do for literature - namely, creating an impression of the spiritual absolute towards which evolution would seem to be tending.

 

8. If art begins with sculpture, then music begins with dance, the earliest dance music being the most rhythmic, in accordance with absolute pagan criteria, dance only gradually proceeding, with the development of Western civilization, towards less rigid rhythmical patterns, appropriate to ballet and the waltz. Modern dance music, particularly in the guise of funk, is more conducive to absolute improvisational dancing than to relative formal dancing, and this is what really distinguishes it from traditional dance music, endowing it with a 'pseudo' status germane to a late-stage petty-bourgeois/early-stage proletarian age. As with sculpture and philosophy, there is also an aspiration towards its opposite, which takes the form of a fusion between funk and jazz, making for a quasi-jazz status in which pitch, and hence improvisation, assumes an importance hitherto unrelated to dance music. Thus 'fusion music' is the late-stage petty-bourgeois/early-stage proletarian equivalent of pseudo-sculpture and pseudo-philosophy, the one in the guise of light (bulb and/or tube) sculpture, the other as a commitment to occult and/or metaphysical issues, though especially the latter. Such funk-jazz, germane to an extreme relativistic civilization, is the final and ultimate kind of dance music, the tail-end of a spectrum originating in pagan antiquity.

 

9. The second spectrum in the evolution of music, which lies in between the extremes of rhythm and pitch, is concerned with melody, and we may hold that, as with literature and painting, its origins were approximately grand bourgeois, taking the form of such vocal music - oratorios, cantatas, madrigals, early operas - as would have appealed to people in the European sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and only gradually coming into its own with the development of the symphony, parallel to that of painting and novelistic fiction, which signifies a compromise between rhythm and pitch in terms of harmony (necessarily biased towards rhythm) and melody (necessarily biased towards pitch), the ratio of the one to the other changing quite dramatically in the course of evolutionary time ... as symphonic music progressed from a late-stage grand-bourgeois to an early-stage petty-bourgeois status, becoming, with its culmination, increasingly biased towards pitch, and to a point where even melody is left behind, or very nearly so. Beyond an early-stage petty-bourgeois epoch symphonic music cannot go without seeming anachronistic, though it can be modified and upgraded, as with fictional literature, to a pseudo-classical status in the guise of programmatic or incidental music in one movement, usually as symphonic poems. The truly contemporary pseudo-classical music, however, takes the form of rock (beginning with rock classical) which as a late-stage petty-bourgeois/early-stage proletarian art form signifies, in its largely vocal constitution, an antithetical equivalent of pre-symphonic vocal music, including opera, and has a status analogous to that of film vis--vis novelistic fiction and of photography vis--vis painting, the ultimate development of the middle spectrum in each case.

 

10. Finally we come to the third and highest spectrum of music, in which pitch, or the development of pure music, takes precedence, much as impression took precedence in the poetic spectrum and abstraction in the holographic one. We can term this spectrum the jazz spectrum, though its beginnings, in approximately grand-bourgeois terms, would not have suggested much of a connection with modern jazz, that quintessentially late-stage petty-bourgeois/early-stage proletarian music. Beginning with chamber ensembles, as a kind of pseudo-jazz, the instrumental music of an essentially operatic age, its gradual evolution embraced the concerto during the era of symphonic music, becoming more biased towards pitch in single-note scales, though never to the point of improvisational freedom. Like rhyming poetry and representational drawing, it had to toe-the-bourgeois-line of orchestrated melodic/harmonic dualistic integrity, even if the soloist was tied to stipulated notation in essence rather than, like the orchestra, in appearance, the notation memorized instead of actually being read at the time of performance. A step towards that freedom which every modern jazzman knows when he launches into an improvisational solo to the accompaniment of a deferential rhythm! So the emergence, following trad jazz, of jazz classical in the higher phase of a late-stage petty-bourgeois era brings modern jazz in its proletarian train, and the jazz soloist is freer to pursue pitch than ever the concerto soloist was - indeed, so free that, at times, his playing may intimate of the pure music of an absolute civilization, in which not a hint of rhythm, whether diluted through melody or harmony or otherwise independent of such a dilution, will apply, music by then becoming a matter for synthesizer programming on a pure pitch basis. But our jazzman is more a quasi-purist than a pseudo-classicist, and the status of modern jazz, analogous to that of modern poetry and light art, is decidedly quasi-purist. We must await the pure jazz of the future with no less longing than ... the pure poetry and pure holography it will also surely entail!