Sometimes, late in the afternoon, and usually over a glass of rustic country wine – where all good pondering is done – I question whether I have wasted my education in dedicating myself to a discipline that is, let’s face it, a pure luxury. I think of all those people out there making things, growing things, and dedicating their energy to useful social and environmental causes. But I am a lover of Knowledge, and a hopeless devotee to fickle Beauty. And I couldn’t imagine a world without all the artful wonders that we humans have created. If I can be permitted to climb on a soapbox here for just a moment, I’d like to go so far as to say that art is an intrinsic part of our humanity. It often reminds us of our humane-ness, it critiques when we stray onto dangerous paths, and it enriches beyond the basic needs of food, shelter, and water. And regardless of my belief in its necessity, I simply find that I cannot be drawn away from the arts.
In particular, I’m drawn to the point where different artistic disciplines meet – that moment where the visual arts, dance, music, and poetry collide, and the philosophy that inspires them. And it is the last two centuries that intrigue me the most – this wild ride of ideas and progress and nightmares that has twisted and turned around some of the most daring, most appalling, and most enthralling art yet. In academic terms, my interests range from historiography and aesthetics to chamber music and film music. What I hope to gather here is bits of these interests, so that I can feel less guilty about not saving the world, and so that you, dear reader, may be intrigued.