I’ve never been big into poetry (too much of a philistine, I suppose), but I heard the poem that I’ve excerpted in the vid this past weekend on NPR and it really stuck with me. The poem is Rilke’s God Speaks to Each of Us. Absolutely incredible.
I’ve been very interested in the idea of content on the internet that is more performative, if you will. What would it mean to transcend the scale and form factor of the browser? What is the (Platonic) form of art on the internet? Tough to say. Despite the wonder and reach of the WWW, there is a fundamental lack of presence that makes work seem prosaic and small, and the most interesting stuff is typically straightforward and narrative (and often text based). Video or image-based work on the internet simply cannot compete with film or the physicality of the painted or printed image.
So what will the cultural artifacts of our generation look like? What combination of 1s and 0s will resolve into Beauty with a capital B? Time will tell. In the meantime, appreciate the past and take in the whole poem after the jump.
God Speaks to Each of Us
God speaks to each of us before we are,
Before he’s formed us then, in cloudy speech,
But only then, he speaks these words to each
And silently walks with us from the dark:
Driven by your senses, dare
To the edge of longing. Grow
Like a fire’s shadowcasting glare
Behind assembled things, so you can spread
Their shapes on me as clothes.
Don’t leave me bare.
Let it all happen to you: beauty and dread.
Simply go no feeling is too much
And only this way can we stay in touch.
Near here is the land
That they call Life.
You’ll know when you arrive
By how real it is.
Give me your hand.
– Rainer Maria Rilke