The collusion of galleries, collectors and curators, following the model of studio film and network TV, has equated popularity with quality. The problem then is to recuperate something of the lost radical conscience of art and culture. Art is a recreation of our own psychic formation (mimesis) as well as being shaped by its ‘otherness’ and by history. All stories are crime stories, all stories are about exile, and all stories are about homesickness. And all art contains a narrative. Radical and working class voices are vetted and erased, and replaced with corporate friendly kitsch. The colonizing of consciousness has rendered the imagination of the west atrophied and almost inert. To retain something of that utopian promise that is foundational in culture is increasingly difficult. The world is being dis-enchanted. The Utopian promise is not being kept.
John Steppling is an original founding member of the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival, a twotime NEA recipient, Rockefeller Fellow in theatre, and PEN-West winner for playwriting. His plays have been produced in LA, NYC, SF, Louisville, and at universities across the US, as well in Warsaw, Lodz, Paris, London, and Krakow. He taught screenwriting and curated the cinematheque for five years at the Polish National Film School in Lodz, Poland. Plays include The Shaper, Dream Coast, Standard of the Breed, The Thrill, Wheel of Fortune, Dogmouth, and Phantom Luck. Film credits include 52 Pick-up (directed by John Frankenheimer, 1985) and Animal Factory (directed by Steve Buscemi, 1999).