Monday, February 6, 2012

Art recharges for work

I decided to go a different direction from most of the class and I couldn't get past this passage from Horkheimer's, Art and Mass Culture.

"The same process that freed each man from slavery and serfdom, and returned him to himself, also broke him into two parts, the private and the social, and burdened the private with a mortgage. Life outside the office and shop was appointed to refresh a man's strength for office and shop; it was thus a mere appendage, a kind of tail to the comet of labor, measured, like labor, by time, and termed 'free time.'" Later, "The children of the early 19th century who were taken from workshop to dormitory and from dormitory to workshop, and fed while at work, lived exclusively for their calling."

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is a union which represents 12.2 million workers. In 1912, striking mill workers in Massachusetts, carried placards that read, "We want bread and roses too." This meant, it isn't enough to feed our bodies, you should feed our hearts and spirits with art.

This morning I heard a story on NPR about how Union membership has declined in America, and young people don't see the reason to join unions. The AFL-CIO has started a marketing campaign to educate America's youth with a campaign entitled "Work Connects Us All." I've attached the link to the story and ad here:
Their hope is to leverage the occupy movement into seeking a solution by turning to unions.

Another passage from Horkheimer, "The gradual dissolution of the family, the transformation of personal life into leisure and of leisure into routines supervised to the last detail, into the pleasures of the ball park and the movie, the best seller and the radio, has brought about the disappearance of the inner life."

There is clearly a disconnect between what Horkheimer defines as art and what we define as art. There are times in my life where I feel I do nothing but work, sleep, eat, work and the newest movie, best seller or baseball game is just what I need to unplug and recharge.

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