New Xanadu

Where is culture created? Certainly it is nurtured in the back-street studios of brilliant artists. Eccentric and edgy, these efforts express the adrenaline of urban life.  But theirs is not the only (or even the primary) influence on the texture of contemporary civilization.  In the increasingly globalized culture of the Information Age, a more pervasive consumer culture is also being painted by MBA’s in upscale bank towers. Their palette has a mathematical clarity. New aesthetic values are subservient only to demographics and the shrewd calculus of investment and profitability. This is not the realm of social critique, but rather a dynamic Utopa where Darwinian competition produces enormous personal luxury and pleasure. Technologies and fashions rise and fall with the bottom line. Xanadu’s enterprise is both flashy and conservative; spilling its cultural value down from the headwaters of our mountainous skylines to the shores of Suburbia and far beyond. Our malls are its newest cathedrals…. grand, secular and forever young. Consumption is the new spirituality... and whether we agree with Xanadu’s outcome or not, our living presence in it shapes its power.