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13 December 2010

Brian Eno on “cool/uncool” and the lack thereof

In last December’s issue of the British magazine Prospect, the musician and producer Brian Eno explained that gone are the days of distinct stylistic trends — “this season’s color” or “Abstract Expressionism” or “psychedelic music.” “Now there are almost as many dividers as there are records,” he explained, “and they keep proliferating.”

He says there are now so many trends evolving so rapidly that the distinction between cool and uncool doesn’t so much matter anymore:

    “We’re living in a stylistic tropics. There’s a whole generation of people able to access almost anything from almost anywhere, and they don’t have the same localized stylistic sense that my generation grew up with. It’s all alive, all ‘now,’ in an ever-expanding present, be it Hildegard of Bingen or a Bollywood soundtrack. The idea that something is uncool because it’s old or foreign has left the collective consciousness.

    “I think this is good news. As people become increasingly comfortable with drawing their culture from a rich range of sources—cherry-picking whatever makes sense to them—it becomes more natural to do the same thing with their social, political and other cultural ideas. The sharing of art is a precursor to the sharing of other human experiences, for what is pleasurable in art becomes thinkable in life.”

At the top of this post is a picture of Brian, with a cat.

Posted by Alec Hanley Bemis

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