As we’ve been saying, as others have been saying (see: Glenn Branca in NYTimes blog last November, ) — here’s the latest perceptive person — Douglas Coupland — to just go ahead and say it: culture is almost over. From today’s NYTimes Sunday Mag:
Q: How would you define the current cultural moment?
Douglas Coupland: I’m starting to wonder if pop culture is in its dying days, because everyone is able to customize their own lives with the images they want to see and the words they want to read and the music they listen to. You don’t have the broader trends like you used to.
Q: Sure you do. What about Harry Potter and Taylor Swift and “Avatar,” to name a few random phenomena?
Coupland: They’re not great cultural megatrends like disco, which involved absolutely everyone in the culture. Now, everyone basically is their own microculture, their own nanoculture, their own generation.
9 minutes of conceptual artist Dan Graham’s 55 minute low-fi video art rockumentary Rock My Religion(1982-1984). A personal favorite-
Rock My Religion is a provocative thesis on the relation between religion and rock music in contemporary culture. Graham formulates a history that begins with the Shakers, an early religious community who practiced self-denial and ecstatic trance dances. With the “reeling and rocking” of religious revivals as his point of departure, Graham analyzes the emergence of rock music as religion with the teenage consumer in the isolated suburban milieu of the 1950s, locating rock’s sexual and ideological context in post-World War II America. The music and philosophies of Patti Smith, who made explicit the trope that rock is religion, are his focus. This complex collage of text, film footage and performance forms a compelling theoretical essay on the ideological codes and historical contexts that inform the cultural phenomenon of rock `n’ roll music.
Original Music: Glenn Branca, Sonic Youth. Sound: Ian Murray, Wharton Tiers. Narrators: Johanna Cypis, Dan Graham. Editors: Matt Danowski, Derek Graham, Ian Murray, Tony Oursler. Produced by Dan Graham and the Moderna Museet.