Making the Familiar Strange (Jonathan Lethem)

Today, when we can eat Tex-Mex with chopsticks while listening to reggae and watching a YouTube rebroadcast of the Berlin Wall’s fall — i.e., when damn neareverything presents itself as familiar — it’s not a surprise that some of today’s most ambitious art is going about trying to make the familiar strange. In so doing, in reimagining what human life might truly be like over there across the chasms of illusion, mediation, demographics, marketing, imago, and appearance, artists are paradoxically trying to restore what’s taken for “real” to three whole dimensions, to reconstruct a univocally round world out of disparate streams of flat sights. —Jonathan Lethem, The Ecstasy of Influence

craft, writingMichael Hughes