“But Why Would Anyone do That?”

image [cc-by-4.0] 2014 by Wellcome Images

“…at the time of her death in 2004, Agnes Martin claimed not to have read a newspaper in over 50 years.”

hearing this quote from The Anthropocene Reviewed: Works of Art by Agnes Martin and Hiroyuki Do I immediately asked myself a plethora of different questions. At first, it was a “What?” in amazement and disbelief, then it transformed into a “Why would she do that?”, finally morphing into a “How could she live like that?”. A few minutes of contemplation went by and my brain and I had come up with a couple of potential answers to our own questions. It seems crazy at first to think that someone could live a good majority of their entire lives without reading a newspaper or knowing what is happening in the world. However, looking back on all the news stories I have consumed through social media or television, many of the stories shown there had almost no effect at all on my daily life. Furthermore, if the news was really that pertinent, then it would eventually reach me through word of mouth from my friends. It struck me that there have most likely been people in the past, living in rural areas, that have lived perfectly fulfilling lives without having to know that “x person said x thing about another person!”. Agnes had just been following in those footsteps, cutting herself off from the unimportant, distracting things in this day and age and instead focusing on the things that were actually present in her life. Everywhere we go on the internet there is always some clickbait title or thumbnail ready to teleport us to some unimportant story that distracts us from our real lives. But people like Agnes help serve as a reminder that we do not have to engage with every facet of our planet, and instead, we can focus on the things right in front of us.

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