Yesterday, today, tomorrow.

The new year opens with an important study by Pietro Gaietto.
In it, is traced synthetically, but with richness of data, generally little known also from the scholars of the Prehistory, a history of the discoveries of the art of the lower Paleolithic, beginning from 150 years ago, when Boucher de Perthes, today acclaimed like the father of the Prehistory, offered abundant and clear evidences of the existence of tools and "antediluvian" art.
At the time, that brilliant man did not have an easy life, and it was only on the eve of his death that the academic world began to recognize the existence of stones intentionally worked to make tools.
With the time, the hypothesis became absolute certainty, and the academic world made his research on the chipped stone, which still continues, even if with more sophisticated and highly technological techniques of study and with objectives in part different from the initial ones.
Not so for art.
However, both the tool and the work of art presuppose a project, therefore a mind.
Discussion about the mind has always frightened the researcher, especially if the investigation of it is not of his direct competence.
Today, many disciplines are questioning the mysteries of this very close intertwining/identification of body/mind.
Nobody reasons in terms of dualism anymore ,
Since Freud, psychological sciences, now joined by neurosciences, which would like to "monopolize" the discourse on the functioning of the mind, have questioned and are questioning themselves on conscience, investigating the origin of thought.

The epistemological investigation of thought seems never-ending.
But when the discourse moves to the spirituality of man, the official science puts great resistance, as in front of all that is not measurable nor quantifiable.
This is an old, false problem that those who, like me, have been working in the field of psychoanalysis for a long time, know well.
Similar resistances, I believe, still act within the community of the scholars of Prehistory, for which art, product of thought but also expression of spirituality, or related to it, is still denied, at the beginning of Man.
Even birds build artistic nests, "more beautiful than necessary".
Will we continue to deny to man what is granted to other less evolved animal species?
How much longer will we continue to deny and split the thought that underlies the creative design of a tool, always thought and calibrated for a specific purpose, and then made, first crudely, then more and more perfectly, until we arrive to the beautiful, diaphanous solutrean laurel leaves, which have nothing to envy to the creativity and technique of an experienced and creative master glassmaker in Murano, in the name of a conformation of the cranial vault, or of the jaw, or of the larynx, speculating on the ability to speak of our most ancient ancestors, forgetting the numerous extra-verbal means of communication that, not by chance, often still today allow to communicate at deeper and more complex levels than an abused verbal language sometimes does not allow?
Do we want to continue for a long time to deny spirituality to man since the beginning? And therefore deny him the possibility to make art since the beginning, to have rituals, to have an awareness of himself, with all that this involves?
Gaietto's speech sounds hard and strong about the Academics' responsibilities
These are words worth reflecting on. Especially in an age when it seems that nothing is more important than technological discourse.
The man who is only technological is a man deprived of the vital part of himself.
Technology at its own end is a great temptation, but also a dangerous illusion: like Icarus, we can risk burning and melting our artificial wings, in the presumptuous attempt to get too close to the sun of an autonomy without human roots, in an endless, sterile competition.

Licia Filingeri (Editor)

Genova, february 2002



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