“romanticism is precisely situated neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in the way of feeling.” Charles bauderlaire
The leitmotif for the years to come will be the dramatic and emotional way in which we embrace the times we live in; with a new generation born in the troubled time of the turn of the century that will be growing up without hope for their future, without a scenario of growth and without a sense of wellbeing, in many cases, growing up with the possibility of finding a job and a livelihood, often growing up burdened by student loans. Therefore the only way out will be to embrace the dramatic circumstances of the « age of doubt » by adopting and espousing the melancholic world view inherited from the romantics, creating an important second romantic period.
The term romanticism has been used in reference to artists, poets, and musicians, as well as philosophers and scientists of the past, yet it can equally be used to refer to the different artist, intellectual and social trends that will characterize our own future, some see romanticism as a form of resistance to rationalism, some as the start of modernism, others consider it to be integral to our day and age. And today it obviously is.
Freedom from rules, worship of nature, fascination with the past and a devotion to beauty are certainly the focal points of the romantic movement and can be seen once again building up in society, along with the belief that imagination is superior to reason and intuition superior to organization. Romanticism was rooted in an artist and intellectual storm and drang movement that originated three centuries ago. It gained strength in reaction to the transformative forces of the industrial revolution and was nourished by the ideas of the French revolution, similarly today there is a sever back lash against the ruling forces of social control, the regulations of federal governments, the incessant indecent marketing of all our values, the selling out of our culture, the flattening of moral behavior and the dehumanization of society, fired by the recent protests against the green of the banking systems and the economy’s supremacy over democracy, this time around it is the internet revolution that will be creating romantic protests and answers, producing a melancholic mood as the expression of the future.
An early romantic hero was the young and suffering werther; young people emulated the budding artist with his excessively sensitive and passionate romantic temperament, who eventually committed suicide as the only possible way out. Today suicides are on the rise again for reasons of unemployment, harassment at school and in the workplace, extreme forms of hyper stress and elaborate cocktails of substance abuse; leading performing artist to overdoes and employees to jump out of the windows of their offices.
The romantic movement can be best characterized by a desire to explore and entertain the ability of the arts to contain all ecstasies of the heart and to voice all torments of the soul. The thinkers of enlightenment emphasized the primacy of reason, while romanticism emphasized intuition, imagination and feeling to a degree that has led ultimately to accusations of irrationalism, in a similar way we again witness a mashed up artistic scene where all art and design disciplines congregate to become one single movement, one vision and one discipline addressing all the senses, hovering between dimensions, as such it can be seen as reaction against reason, able to exalt mysterious and the fantastical; in a search to escape reality and to enter the rapture of the dream, finding the sublime in the morbid, finding millions in a diamond encrusted skull. The vanity of fashion and design calling to us from beyond the grave. The new romanticism is going to be a more radical kind of expression and will seek out the new curious and the unexpected. It will be characterized by restless research and impulsive pop-up actions. We shall be strongly attracted by the disproportionate and the excessive, and creativity will put more emphasis on remoteness and strangeness and the fundamental romantic feature, endlessness. It will make spontaneity and the talent to improvise a desirable characteristic, as in the idea of the impromptu, the intuitively inspired.
The newer romantics will cherish freedom of expression, freedom of movement and migration, freedom of passion and gender and the endless pursuit of things like unhappiness, then unattainable and the undone, because the goal should never be achieved, the romantic spirit is haunted by a sense of longing, a beautiful feeling of loss.
The historical movement developed the idea of absolute originality and artist inspiration which creates from nothing, leading to the so-called romantic ideology of authorship, which gave birth to the notion of plagiarism and the guilt of imitation, while today’s romantic movement sponsors the idea of partnership and co-ownership as well as cloning, copying and sampling from each other’s work and genius.