Art and Individuality in modern Society

Contemporary Art comes more and more influential on individual perception

Daniel Rottenberg

Modern society has crossed over the line separating the individual personality from the collective. Now a particular person being aware of his/her individuality is doomed to loneliness and even isolation, as he/she becomes opposed to the system of mass consciousness in which everyone is part of a certain group, united by different external factors (work, politics, interests, etc.) though common by their inner content. Erich Fromm’s ideas presented in the early twentieth century in his “Escape from Freedom” have become cruel and everyday reality. Today, a man can’t imagine himself outside his circle of communication, the microcosm in which he exists. Having snatched him out of his familiar environment, where he is just insignificant element of the system, we doom him to a state of deep, often insurmountable stress.


In such a system of values and social benchmarks that has transferred from the product consumer society to the information consumer society (social networks, chat rooms, blogs, selfies, etc.) the role of art as a reflection of the aesthetic views of the modern cultural elite has changed. When the number of likes on Instagram or views on YouTube becomes the highest good, who you are and what you represent is not important anymore. What really matters is your ability to surprise, shock or seduce a mass audience thinking, like you, in adscititious cliches. Thus, we are coming to the concept of total anonymity when every individual himself is hidden (intentionally or not) behind the nicks, avatars, pseudonyms and so on. Not who you are and what had you achieved has been important nowadays, but whether you are able to attract, even for a moment, the mass audience’s attention. The role of the artist and creator today consists not only in revealing himself but in reflecting the elusive, close to everyone sense of unity with the time and the world. It’s like to see some reflection on the water surface in the windy weather and recognize something familiar in it.

Thus, contemporary art is increasingly becoming an anonymous, not personalized. Many, even, well-known artists choose pseudonyms and start experimenting. Street Art, Video Art, Performance Art, Software Art, Vision Art, Video game art and others became possible due to the idea of anonymity of the author and prescinding of the art object from the creator’s individuality. Mixing techniques, styles and shapes – today, all these areas can’t be interpreted as decadence in the arts or loss of the value orientations. On the contrary, in the modern digital era, the art is pushing beyond its own canons expanding the scope and means of influence to infinity. Art had to refuse its inherent by centuries attribute – elitism. Nowadays, the art being one of the active factors in the formation of public opinion affects all segments of society.

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