The Waves of Art by Hedger Hogan

The first rain drop creates ripples of circles in the water. Others fall around it, their ripples affect those of the first and those that fall after it. The energy spreads out in all directions, affecting not only what is to come but all that has gone before. The first drop does not disappear but is distorted and incorporated, as are all the drops that followed. The first wave on goes on to interact with the second, the third, the fourth….

This is hard to understand if you think of time as linear, starting somewhere and continuing in a straight line to the end. Rather, try to think of it from the outside, like seeing a the cross section of growing tree that can be seen to start in the centre and spreads outwards in every direction. With every new branch that once grew leaving it’s mark as a knot, that affects the direction of the lines in the grain. Now, think of it not as a flat two dimensional thing, but three dimensional. The cosmos starting with the big bang, the universe spreading ever outward in every direction. With its gravitational fields affected by every object, from space dust, to large planets, to super nova and black holes. This is the canvas for this story.

So, the first wave starts at the time of the dawn of the magicians. The men and women who travelled to the other places, to the world of the shades and dead, to Fairyland along the middle path. Even to the worlds of the gods, to bring back the knowledge to teach and heal their communities. Those born with a deep connection to the natural world around them, who could talk to the spirits of nature. Who could talk with the creatures, the wind and fire. These are the special people with many names, the wizards, the wise people, the witch doctors and the shamans. The “Magical Arts” of song, dance, pictures, carvings and story telling were the mediums and methods they developed to transmit their knowledge and healing. All the arts originally resided with them. This was the first drop, the first wave.

The second wave occurred when the “Arts” were appropriated by the newly formed organised religions. They used them to decorate their temples, to create statues to represent their gods for people to worship, to create pageants and processions to impress their followers. To create ritual, traditions and stories to tell their faith. Eventually by the time of Christianity, Cathedrals and great works of art were created and dedicated to the one true God. Then there started a movement to purge all the vestiges of any beliefs connected with the first wave. This grew until it a split formed among the followers themselves. In England the monasteries were sacked and defaced and all itheir great art was removed or destroyed. Out of this rose the beliefs of puritans and the non-conformists. This was the second wave.

Before all this ensuing turmoil, there was the third wave, when the “Arts” were taken by the wealthy as their own. Then they were used for self aggrandisement and entertainment for their guests. Here was the start of personal portraits, instead of saints or religious stories. The paintings of rich men’s possessions like their houses, land, horses and other animals. And of course, their wives and children. This was the time of the Patron, when these artists that once had a foot in two worlds, became rich people’s pets. They created plays, masques and balls to entertain their master’s guests. This was the third wave.`

The fourth wave came about when the “arts” were used by the state. They opened museums, galleries and libraries to distract the masses and keep them out of the drinking houses, when they were not working. This also meant that the State controlled which and what arts were experienced, with censorship in theatres and publications and the use of special and reserved collections, that only approved people could see. The rest of Public Art bought with public money was stored in dark basements never to see the light of day. Art was officially used to protect the state. It was used as a medium to spy on its enemies with maps and drawings of defences. As propaganda to convince the public of their duty and with the work of war artists to shock them in to conformity and acquiescence.

The fifth wave came on the heels of those religious non-conformists that tried to continue the purge of all connected with the first wave, as they brought in the Industrial Revolution. This was the beginnings of modern capitalism and the consumer market. Eventually both the artist and the art they created became commodities to be bought and sold. Artists are forced to prostitute their skills to survive. Instead of using those arts to teach or heal, they are now used encourage consumers to buy. The rise of advertising agencies even supplanted the Fourth wave state propaganda machines, as politicians are marketed and “sold” to the public in campaigns. The works of dead artists, that can no longer benefit from them, now change hands at ever increasing sums. Instead of considering the good their art would do for the community, artists now considered the market value for their work. So called “shamanic” artists, pale shadows of their forbearers, paint pictures with plastic paints made from fossil fuels ripped from the body of our mother earth. Artists become denatured and disconnected. This is the fifth wave.

The sixth wave is where the arts are removed from this physical reality completely and transferred to digital worlds of the oligarchs. Holographic performances by dead artists, works of art created entirely on the computer. Music created without musicians. Films and plays with digitally created actors and creatures. Digitally created collectible art tokens created solely for their investment potential and monetary value. Where all the Arts are detached completely from nature and ultimately controlled by a handful of rich people. This is the sixth wave.

This is just an imperfect framework to hang your thoughts on, I am sure you can expand it with plenty of your own examples.

David J Rhys Hogan