We were born into a world of technological and capitalistic malaise–a place that still echoed with shouts of work, work, even as the work which older generations accomplished built the intelligent machine that needed no more workers. We were taught to go to college and learn to prepare for a career, but the sandcastle notion of career melted in technology’s high tide while we dug holes in the backyard. We learned more in the dirt than in the classroom, notable exceptions noted, and we still struggle to understand the balance between vision and rigor.

We are not like the comfortable kids who did find security in steady jobs and buying things. They found rigor but lost the vision, if they ever had it–not everyone does. Not everyone should. If your path is one that the world honors with a salary, you are needed no less and no more than anyone else. Delight in your possessions and your sense of power. You do not need vision anymore; the intelligent machine has it for you. That is okay. Just understand that those who still see their childhood vision will take a different path.

It was beauty that we saw in the dirt, and beauty that we pursued when we could get away from schoolwork and chores. Now, all grown up, it is still beauty that we pursue when we can get away from the demands of the intelligent machine. The machine is not beautiful, so our expressions may rail against it–may even profane institutions which you consider sacred. Please, take no offense; if you live inside the machine’s machinations, you can’t possibly see the outside of its reality like we do. You must respect our pursuit of vision–no, that’s not strong enough; you must believe our pursuit of vision. You must believe that we, as artists, can see farther, for the very reason that we don’t keep accounts or work by mechanistic machinations. You must forgive us when we’re late. We were probably doing something important.

Now, to be clear, we are different from previous arts movements. Where postmodernism decried the institution of having institutions, we see the contradiction–how that sentiment sets up its own institution of pure negation and therefore negates itself. We see how it makes a claim that only a fool could make. If we ever make claims of negation, we make them against things and towards something–towards an end claim of some sort, the exact kind of end claim which postmodernism eschewed in its cowardice. We put on the armor of poesis and take a stand. We declare that beauty is real. We declare that it is not subjective–that there is no arguing over what is or isn’t beautiful. We declare that taste must self-subordinate in relation to universal beauty, for the mind can habituate to horrible things. We agree that perception is reality, but we also claim that vaguely shared perceptions of beauty in natural phenomena move towards a vague, shared sense of beauty. We declare that the slasher flick, the giant penis sculpture, the obscene and the disgusting, are not beautiful. We revile these dishonest and narcissistic expressions that claim to embody art. We consign them to the dump of history and wipe our hands.

We understand that not everyone will understand. We get that many people still like to self-flagellate through the ingestion of diseased artistic expressions. The rush of poison is addicting. Our work will pass these poor people by until they agree that their malaise has gone far enough. When and if they ever reach this point, they may turn their heads up and see the beauty that we channeled long ago–that which we channeled direct from the source. If our art speaks to them then, it has succeeded. If it reaches one person now, it has succeeded.

Signed,

The Beautists

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