Newmedia on Thu, 10 May 2012 15:25:30 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Privacy, Moglen, @ioerror, #rp12 (Lascaux)

> By now, Lascaux has grown principally into a 
> massive conservation/preservation industry mobilizing 
> vast resources and hundreds of experts, many more 
> than those actually concerned with its artistic content.
Lascaux was NOT meant to be "art"!
These are paleolithic, proto-religious paintings made by pre-historic  
humans who were not YET "self-conscious." 
Human mentality has undergone *multiple* fundamental changes since then and 
 the mental life that produces *art* today would be completely unfathomable 
to  those who made these cave paintings.
In fact, ancient Egypt also had no "art."  Those objects and  hieroglyphics 
that amaze us are overwhelmingly religious and were not meant to  be 
publicly displayed or enjoyed by an "audience" at all -- which is why they  
largely come to us from sealed burial chambers.  They were meant for the  "gods" 
who were presumed to be walking among us.
Rarely are museums "honest" about these matters.  I once went to an  
exhibit in Israel where the curators went out of their way to make this point in  
the catalog and display tags but this seems to be very uncommon.
Merlin Donald's 1993 "Origins of the Modern Mind: Three Stages in the  
Evolution of Culture and Cognition" would be a good place to start to better  
understand these changes.
Our confusion about such things is a reflection of how deeply we have  
forgotten the origins of our own culture, under the "propaganda" effects of  
mass-media, and why the digital renaissance now underway will come as a 
surprise  to so many people.
Mark Stahlman
Brooklyn NY

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