Springtime for Modernism

 

It’s been an exceptionally long winter.

Thick ice has formed in layers over the efforts of the modernist, building up over months and months, stalling the progress of the ideals within. Traditionally, the modernist will hibernate during the cold months of an economic recession. They huddle together in a glass house by a frozen river, burning etchings of the classical orders in a stainless steel barrel for warmth. They pull their scarves closer around the neck, and tug their woolen caps tightly over their eyes. They amuse themselves by talking of simplification and order. Typically, the coldness of inactivity does not affect their spirit. They imagine themselves Nordic and isolated, they imagine they are struggling towards a greater good, pulling a sled loaded with perfectly crafted and elegant solutions across frozen tundra. They enjoy wearing their black wool trench coats, their finely knitted cashmere sweaters, and their leather boots. They rest themselves around the burning barrel and steel themselves against the cold winds of public disinterest.

But, it’s been an exceptionally long winter.

And a few, but by no means a majority, have begun to show signs of doubt. Some have left the relative comfort of the glass house, and have ventured into the fields. One can only assume that they have compromised in some way, working within another’s defined terms, or style, for nothing more than a few pieces of bread. They may have forgone perfection, in exchange for a minimal level of comfort. And was it worth it? At least that’s what the remaining Modernist would ask each other. Shaking their heads, and sipping their coffee from stainless steel mugs. Granted, their numbers would reduce over the long winter. But, they would compare this reduction to the thickening of a fine sauce, leaving an intense, strong, and dedicated core waiting for spring.

Eventually, the ice will begin to melt, and the economy will begin to stir, and stagger awkwardly towards the mouth of a cave. The Modernist will walk slowly into the field around the glass house, and set off on their separate ways along the banks of the river.

But, it’s been an exceptionally long winter.

The Modernist probably wouldn’t ask, but I wonder if the green sprouts that break through the ice of the recession are an indication of a lasting spring, or has the soil been frozen for too long to support and sustain the new work.

J

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photos of Vienna are from Michael Dawes’ photostream on Flickr (used under creative commons license)

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