Mark making is often discussed in art classes. There is often distinctions between expressive and controlled marks, intentional marks and unintentional marks – and sometimes even hidden marks. Mark making is also a major part of existential philosophy, and American individualism. While it might even seem overstated, cliche to talk about, “making your mark on history” I’m finding that many people are really disinterested. Maybe this is the final failure of the romantics and existential philosophers – that people just don’t care.
It might be a little unfair and generalized to say people don’t care but recently I’ve see escapist mentalities cropping up. Sometimes it is just little phrases like, “whatever” but other times I see it in modes of behavior like video game addiction, internet addiction, and excessive TV. I see many young people who don’t know what to do with their lives. One of my friends even calls it the “book of excuses” or “book of responses”. Sometimes we even include our own business in our excuse. I’m not sure if this is your experience don’t many people seem unmotivated, apathetic, like there is a disease of Apathy Syndrome floating around? This is probably where the idea of “zombies” came from.
Have you ever ridden the DC metro at 7:30 am? One thing strikes me right away. It feels like you are attending a funeral, everyone is just standing there waiting, most people are dressed in black, they keep reasonable distance from one another, and utter silence is kept. Is this what we have become? Are we people waiting to die, disinterested with life? Are we only interested with our movies, parties and alcohol? In a world where so many people are trying to impress us entertain us and keep our attention (through mass-media for example) that the result is that we become a sort of victim, robed of time and interest in life.
So maybe it is time to take it back, to give ourselves some quiet time, pick up the pen and make a mark. (The images above are pen & ink drawings on distressed paper. The title of the first piece is “Barrowed Time”, the second is “Death and Significance” and the third is a close up. Both of these images have been digitally inverted)
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