Below is information for an exhibition of artwork at the Mary Newton Gallery
most were augmented, and in some cases
fabricated, with 3D and/or video digital media and digital fabrications
processes. Images are at: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=18350
"Don't Worry, Be Happy" is show of images, objects and video representing
apocalyptic paranoia combined with trancelike whimsy. A 3d model of Homer
Simpson's nuclear factory is transformed into a winter dreamscape. Emergency
vehicles cross over a bridge over a satellite image of the Verdun, a region
ripe with heroic but often tragic historical significance. It seems that in
every era, no matter how optimistic, the social mood is either mitigated by
or closely followed by a period of pessimism...in turn, followed by
The phrase "Don't Worry, Be Happy" was made popular this century by the
plastic singing fish, Big Mouth Billy Bass. When one pushed a button, the
toy fish "sang" the 1988 hit by Bobby McFerrin. The simple phrase,
originally written to supporters by Indian mystic Meher Baba, has a trite
but poignant message...trite to the point of parody, but poignant as a
harbinger of the social mood.
John Casti who is based at the International Institute for Applied Systems
Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria recently wrote an article in a recent New
Scientist magazine, The Wisdom of Herds: How Social Mood Moves the World.
Casti hopes to develop early-warning indicators for extreme events in human
society -a "Sociometer". "Put simply, the mood of a group - an
state, continent or even the world - is how that group, as a group, feels
about the future". Far more attention is given the negative paranoid moods
of impending disaster than utopian optimism. "Sociometer" is a term coined
by the American financial guru and social theorist Robert Prechter in his
studies of social mood. His interpretation of the mood is almost always bad.
Prechter is one of several famous economists of whom it is said jokingly to
"have correctly predicted nine of the last five recessions".
Sure, terrorism, impending nuclear war, Stalinist infiltration, fascist
dictatorship, the neoliberal war on democracy, global warming, the end of
oil, stock market crashes, destruction of the biosphere and rogue asteroids
are all realities. They have been for decades. These threats are also
ameliorated by the possibilities of innate human creativity, critical
thinking, the thirst for freedom, courage, the ability to adapt and change
and the catharsis within real tragic drama.
As the American baseball player Yogi Berra once quipped: "It's tough to make
predictions, especially about the future." We cannot predict the future, so
find beauty within the tragic. It's not over until it's over. Don't worry,
be happy. J