Wednesday, September 28, 2011

[ 0 5 ] t h e s h a p e o f c o n t e n t

I find it a little off putting that creativity must be sacrificed in order for a 'liberal' education. An artist's vision is his perception of the world, and that includes all of the knowledge that is set within it. To a degree, it is the artist's job to mold the existing baroque of society and change its definition into a still solid, yet modular, item by means of interpretation and process. As for the university aspect, and as Rilke put it, the artist is ultimately an island unto himself in creation with his own enlightenment, free almost of the liberal and critical mass. It is possible to be isolated in the university setting. It requires, as the ultimate truth, discipline on part of the student or student-teacher. As for those who solely just 'depend' on the setting for fame, they will fall. The observer must observe a piece with little knowledge of the outside world, and thus, the artist must modulate their work to represent little if to nothing of that.

The artist's mind. The ocean is societal spectacle.

The artist must constantly be at two minds, however simple that sounds. They must be continually creator and critic. The emotional story and the and physical story. The subjective artist pandering to self belief and objective artist releasing to the benefit of social belief. Two chambers of intellect constantly yin-and-yanging against one another to check its partner for any inconsistencies in strength or idea. That is a formula for art. For me personally, dabbling (but not dillienating) in the tightrope between going too hypersaturated and going too deep and falling too short, I am also of two minds.

He had a point.

Referring to the mention of Pollack, in his painting style which became performance, I think that in itself is the base evidence for form being content. You cannot separate the two, because without form and just content, what is even the purpose of art? Content can be deduced in everyday society were it not for the form. Form emerges out of a unifcation of the brush with the intent of the artist. Pollack's performance was meta- art to a strong degree but proved that the content of a work could certainly be the process of creating the form alone. There, whether it is believed or not, is a strong sense of perspective and direction in even the most convolutedly plain painting (re: previous blog post).

By nature, artists should be designed to be non-conformist as a necessity. For to understand what creates and engaging and clairvoyant piece into what beholds the image of the future requires A.) an understanding of what governs the present and B.) how to destroy aspects of what governs the present into a more visually apt and useful rendering of it. The reason for oft controversy and sexuality/gore in some art is as a counterbalance to the more anti-creative, conservative approaches of reality/even art.

Reverend Billy, a very radical shopper.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

[ 0 4 ] l e t t e r s t o a y o u n g p o e t

There's something of value about the alternate forms of novel reading. Especially the letter, from having fond memories of reading "Perks of Being a Wallflower" what seems to be ages ago. There was a phrase in that book, to sort of segway into "Young Poet". It said "it feels like I'm infinite". This is the feeling of isolation, and having what seems to be eons in seconds to perfect one's art distant and segregated from society from either personal means of actual existing ones. The letter is the perfect format for getting this message across. It is not a full expression on canvas which seems like exploitation in a way if one is being true to the state of isolated endeavors. Being trapped alone and creating with worry is the feeling of ambiguity slicing your soul into pieces, and such is how you escape and try to make contact to society. In glimmers, not a full shine. You're from a distance, so your communication is bold in segments, not a big bold communication only interesting in segments.

The book of course is radical enough to hymn in the point that you should rarely mind other criticisms and the true art comes from the self and one's own perception. Admirable, because all books do need a radical view of conflict to be interesting and create good drama. I think its right, but from a slightly jilted perspective. The various identities which comprise ourselves individually alone create a web of society and a full canvas. This is what worries me about some people, but especially myself. Some humans are interested in being the 'whole package', trying to fulfill every aspect of what a top tier person is. Whether this accounts for looks, behavior, or ethic, most strive for it only harming themselves along the way because the truth is it is unattainable for 99.5% of us. We may be 'close', but no dice. Instead, we embrace the individual identity, and thus we will reach a full audience every in personality bias because it is an adventure to get to know society.

As it should. Its not an autocracy. At least some of it.

I learned that apathy, and the artistic product of it, 'irony' is a dangerously delicious tool to use. It should only be used when a certain strength of craft or intellect (and it should be strong intellect) is achieved. Otherwise, there is a dangerous chance of being perceived as juvenile or simply counter-establishment without a cause (re: lazy). I believe irony is associated with art so much is because art is unlike many other professions (though as mentioned by the book, all professions require the same time and isolation). Art is in a constant state of motion, with artists themselves changing direction at the drop of a dime and the tides of the general consensus are always performing paradigm shifts. In fact, the book even argues against the need for extravagant structures for the mind is always organic to its own self apart from whatever mass collaborative beauty that is built. We always imagine, at the expense of not whole, but fractures of reality. Thus is a crucible between the rural (the fantasy) and the urban (the reality).

Routine does indeed suck.

The most beautiful thing that caught my eye, as a little sick mentally (not an exaggeration, a family heritage of illness), is that sickness is defined as the escape from the body. This is art! This is painting and throwing your soul in grandiose expression on the canvas for the world to see. Art is taking one's own thought and giving it to the world. Wouldn't this be true of any kind of speech? Ever? Well then, I guess that means we're all sick in the head and body. Everyone. And that invigorates me. However, there are levels of sickness we all deal with. But it means we are all unified, like individual artist identities in a web of networking. No one is sick alone because we all are. Show me a stone, silent man who has taken that nomadic vow apart from any kind of world and I will show you the healthiest man on Earth.

We've analyzed his paintings as performance. How about suffering?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

[ 0 3 ] w a l t e r b e n j a m i n

Or, the work of art in an age of mechanical reproduction (the real title).

Good old Marxism. The fear being in this well written 10+ part article long ago is that our mechanical creations will begin to outthink the speed at which we actually comprehend things. This is a broad fear, but I feel like it should be so, because as there are so many ways that this event could happen there should be so many ways we as humans and even consumers we prepare for it.

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder" is phrase that commonly ferments itself in my daily regiment, for one reason or another (the absence of things I love or like to do). This pertains to art in a significant manner. How are we to enjoy the art which entices us to critically think or surprise us with unseen mannerisms if it is perpetually there? It simply has a lesser effect from our instant accessibility to it, and thus, loss of the initial 'aura'. I believe before the broad spectrum of 'inventions' associated with mechanical reproduction, you had to walk in order to communicate and sit still to think. Now its quite the opposite : You walk in order to think and sit still in order to communicate. This is because the human has a inner need for identity and independence. If the railway allegory can carry us further from two weeks ago, we certainly are in this train together but with separate pods. You can only decorate your pod so entrapped before you break through the glass ceiling of what you know you have and venture out into a just-as-safe realm, exploring what you would have in nature.

This yearning for independence can be connected to one specific thing I feel : counter culture. Or rather, underrepresented groups who are in the need to make a certain name for themselves not to be 'a part' of this linked society of sitting still communication, but to reprove to humans over and over again you CAN communicate without sitting still. You can both think and communicate while moving. A specific subculture I might be in reference to it extreme sports, and for sake of limiting the playing field, skateboarding. For starters, how many people do you know who can execute an 'ollie' (jumping on the board)? Its difficult, yes? You know what makes it more difficult? The fact that there's no instant communication around. I feel, even though I'm of the field, mastery of digital arts and digital technology might come at a more laborious price but of less of a mental price tag. Those who master the skateboarding craft have an entitlement to a certain independence of themselves. Its a sport, but an alternative sport, so they aren't as commodified as Monday Night Football. Its a youthful activity, but how many youth are as nomadic as a Buddhist Monk? What I'm saying is, you can't reproduce a think like skateboarding so easily. It has a distinct aura which makes it immediately respectable and desirable. Then again...

Video game developers, the princes of their own love/
hate relationship with reproduction have managed a way.

...The train can veer itself around any corner (if you're in America; it goes straight in Europe) and present its self-perfect model for speaking to the masses of the world. This video game, or applications like Second Life or MMORPGs, do not present a model in which the machine thinks faster than the human. In fact, that might be the issue. In our technological advances, we've created from skateboarding, an activity where the mind and machine is equivalent in independent harmony, a digital form of it where the human mind is above the machine (its an easy game) and thinks it has propriety over the culture and physical craft as a whole. If its mass produced, it must be true! Far from the truth. Though I did take up skateboarding in reality myself as being influenced by this game. Though most people don't and accept the fantasy as truth.

Now then, the film as a psychoanalytic device, and how it moves at just the right speed we need it to-

James Stewart in Vertigo, at 24 FPS.

Photography? One FPS, if that. The mind likes to sit and analyze. A painting? One FPS just the same. Sculpture. Drawing. And now film... it moves at the speed at which we think. Constantly and intermittently changing from frame to frame an aesthetically and thoughtfully pleasing manner. You are challenged to think in depth my your own mind, but a good director will consider it is impossible to think in terms of frame. Thus, they need more so than a painter or sculptor to consider the element of composition. Instead of a 4x6 canvas, they have 90 minutes of a 1280x720 canvas (the current favorable dimensions for HD if I am not mistaken). The best films use this atmosphere of time and space while composing to their grandiose advantage. Kubrick in '2001' will stay on the same shot forever. Tarantino in 'Pulp Fiction' pisses on the idea of a linear narrative. And lets not even begin with German montage, which completely rejects the idea of a film thinking at the same pace of a human mind. What film is essentially doing is reproducing 'life' and our perception of it. Surreal films, like the above pictured Vertigo or cult favorite Brazil, tend to knowingly take consideration of film's thinking at a human pace and taking it a step further to warp our perceptions as they stand. The $20,000 question : Is this dangerous? That I don't even know. But aren't we too immersed to care? If a film is good, it will have taken the mind on a journey it cannot trace back to origin. If a film is bad, it will lose the person's attentiveness from lack of craft in editing. Simple enough for me.

I blame the economy for the dissipation of the movie theater. Its one big sliding-slope argument. The dollar is now worth less, so more people want to stay home. Nobody is paying money for the fourth installment of a character relevant in the 90s, so Hollywood digs deeper into the 80s and only then alone without innovating. The Futurists once said "war is good". If they had realized the effect on film art it has today, they might rethink their claims. War has cost us billions in surplus from the year 2003. We are now in debt. While I'm sure war isn't the only reason we are in debt, its an easy comparison to this idea of mechanical reproduction. Reproducing weapons... but to what effect on art? The aura of living? We've already seen it from the evidence of Hollywood moving home to the TV or Netflix : the war created overseas physically is being created home mentally. The aura is steps in front of us, and thus very limited, because of instant access and because of fear that what might be out there is a pipe bomb waiting to go off and ruin what took years to build aesthetically. Gone is the community discussing art face to face. With respect and without anonymity.

Lets have a long chat about this film... On my couch.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

[ 0 2 ] w a n d e r l u s t

I was a mental crossroads before the physical one. "Should I take the 10 minute car ride to the parking lot where its a safer ride home or should I walk the 15 minutes as the sun is dying and the sides of buildings are something warm." My heart told me to walk. It tells me this just about everyday. If you could take every profession and hybridize it for the purposes of weighing it on the scale, you might see it has tilted towards interiors and digitalization since well before the millenium. And thus, like a railroad, we're seeing the progression of time and space's annihilation. Samurais. Archeologists. The wanderers. These are the myths we are interested in. I believe whenever we associate these kinds of myths towards people in vehicles, we immediately juncture for the vehicle and its effect on industrialization and technology. Not the poetic humanity.

"Though I suppose the two got along sometimes."

The epicenter of bases has expanded while the roads travelled there and between are smaller. The journey is not key as much as it used to be. As a matter of fact, unless you have the slowest apartment connection imaginable (like yours truly), you have access past the journey in a matter of .025 seconds. I chose to walk rather than drive. I didn't understand the full depths of my romantic assertion until I had a good read at Wanderlust : A History of Walking. I always knew it made me happy, juxtaposed nature with my tendencies as a man around metallics, and to breathe the atmosphere which anyone can appreciate. 

A lot interested me as an avid walker, which calves the size of your favorite baseball player on "prescription" steroids. For instance, the connection between the strife away from interiors and the nonproprietary stance it beholds leading to the strife away from church. Rousseau is mentioned frequently, and the most imporant thing I took from his success as a philosopher and overall prison pal is how the mind should be away from evangelicals for they institute themselves inside an interior which concludes at God worship. This eventually leads to man worshiping only himself, believing his own cause as an organism in nature with independence (hence, your modern artist). I don't question the existence of God. I simply think its interesting food for thought as someone a little confused between faiths. I find it ironic that walking, as a liberating and blessed practice in unfolding the lengths of the imagination should find it demonizing (aware of that nomenclature) what faith and its institution practices.

"Run, don't walk!"

The main thought that always pillaged my mind before reading Wanderlust was its capabilities of easing a wintry, tender mind phased with isolation and needs. Even in Summer, I saw the cobblestone full of snow and streets of saints Simon and Garfunkel often went on and on about. I found it remains universal in time, but ironic, as then people walked in the streets to escape mundanity where as we are current escaping over oversaturation of access. Perhaps this is a natural remedy in the blood of us for annihilating so much space and time…

I haven't spoken particuarly about art, but much more about the process toward a creative thought. The evolution of certain types of walking caught my eyes, evolving from the hunched despondence of slouching to our upright (sometimes) demeanor of today. I had fun imagining the next step of what walking evolution would be, and I came to this : parkour. Yes, the art form. Besides when these performers fall several stories from a roof, what pain do you see when you see these man and women in action hopping and running alongside whatever they please? In fact, like a drug, its much stronger than walking and much more liberating from what it seems. Walking is linked to this grand performance, on and off the canvas. We walk in nature to garner and create ideas.  We dance anywhere to express these ideas. As a matter of fact, most of the best urban or interior ideas come from outside and vice versa. The isolated mind wants to live like an animal. To free mind wants to taste a little order in their chaos. Re:

Hardcore Parkour

To close, you don't even need to walk far to see a distance between good and bad parts of areas. That's what thrills me even to walk a lot. You see the world in a single mile : the death of time between the rich and the poor. The casinos and the homeless. The cafes and the dollar stores. With the progression of technology (hence, railroads closing up space), why leave the city? You'll have a little outskirt of nature in between main street and the mountain. Its all there. Just be safe where you walk.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

[ 0 1 ] t h e r a i l w a y j o u r n e y

I feel as though I'm the child of a steampunk movement reading this book moment A and typing about it on my charged laptop moment B. Every passage of the 'Journey I interpreted as an allegory for the way all humans share a developing world, whether online or on the streets as always, and how we're on this shadowlit train to success. Or failure. However doomed one felt after the chapter discussing crashes and trauma. When the reality of times destruction meets a mind well in cognition with that reality, is how it hit me.

An interesting matter came up in discussion pertaining to relevance of art to The Railway Journey. Things came up such as influences of Impressionism when the proscenium arch (window) between the audience (passenger) and the performer (landscape) was too blurry to even have any semblance of a contour line. It was as if railroad travel itself had become commodified after its invention so where this invisible, unnamed artist of railway travel began to experiment with its capabilities and came up with a more ephemeral mode of expression. I suppose with the destruction of time and space between two areas, there's less time for classical romantic expression (i.e. reality) and emphasis on immediacy and availability (a strange kind of fantasy we're being indulged in). On that note, I couldn't help but think of what other forms of art would be inspired by this 'proscenium arch'. Immediately it came to mind : music. The quarters. The fourths. The rhythm that exists not in mundane reality but exists in a construct of our aching mind to see the world differently. Its a quite beautiful display. The human body is trapped in a vessel for hours. Through a 2 x 2 window, thus begins a sonnet or a number to dance to. Check it out- Michael Gondry directing the Chemical Brothers. A nice collaboration if I say so myself.

From the same guy who directed Eternal Sunshine.

We tend to adapt very maternally to any/all resources at hand. After all, life has its unavoidable difficulties which exist for some caveman and his spear, as for the backpacking adventurer with a water bottle. Why not make life easier? Why not use a tool at our disposal to eventually get to our personal nirvana? That is of course the mantra of being an artist, in using what is just tools/medium to paint a personal vision. I've seen photographers throw paint around like fireworks, and destructively, vice versa. So what's the danger is over adaptation? Crashing. Trauma. And for starters, devotion to a monopoly of sorts. Keep in mind that the railways are for the most part a single way street. How many buyers do you think can co-exist at once? Funny enough, with the destruction of space in between cities we see the expansion of space within the walls of metropoli developing at these hot spots (usually selling us something; anyone want an iTouch?).

As a digital artist I began absorbing the book as a relevant means to my practice. The people kept crashing. They kept relying on the train. Safety was undercut by the desire of the public (something I believe Walter Benjamin will get into later). What modern relevance does this have? Two words : PSN hacking. Or rather, PlayStation Network hacking. What happens when millions of gamers across the globe are suddenly without a "free" service for a few weeks, something mind you was unavailable at the turn of the new millennium? Riots. On message boards. Inaction. To courter further inaction as the result of a network being down. And Sony gave every member of its network two free games after the dark period was over, and further bonuses which were (as a consumer of its wares) bogus. Even the games are arguably satisfactory (a title called Infamous was on the free list, while guess what, Infamous 2 released a week later). Not minding the 6 day period Sony waited to tell all its customers their credit card information had been compromised.

The face of evil. The group called 'Anonymous' whom hacked Sony.

Bullet point : Companies know we're desperate. They know we're on a train in between cities and that we don't wanna take the bus cause its slower. Months later from the incident, and Sony is back on top. I'm not kidding, years before Microsoft released entire consoles that broke down within weeks and Nintendo has unsuccessfully established itself as a heavy hitter as far as tech advances go. This is in reference again to only so many companies being able to own a 'one way street'. Who's gonna be a fourth challenger? Sega? Don't make me laugh. How about Apple? Their treasury is worth more than the US Government now. Maybe new management will see to new possibilities...

Then this harrowing idea that crossed my mind, more or less pertaining to art : the idea (then) of giving each passenger their own room or quarters to sleep in. Sort of like a hotel on wheels, which funny enough, was also said about the stagecoach (proof that we're often over romantic about dubbing new inventions as saviors to us all). It reminds me of Facebook, Myspace, or even Youtube and how we're each given our own little room to live in. Connection? Killers in the hey day were given preparation time to locate and kill high level monarchs while the high officials were trapped on a moving train and the killers had somewhere to hide. I suppose the moral of this display is know when to turn your head 180 degrees backwards and forwards while on this 'eternal train'. They may not be pulling an Anonymous on you, but it may be destructive all the same to a possible hiring or relationship if the wrong thing goes live.

In closing (or to be continued), the book was a journey to say the least. Its a bit of wind beneath your feet to see that history is on the same continual path and development as it was 1.5 centuries ago. We're still a part of that era, no matter how many rockets are launched or iPhones are sold. We're on this train together heading for something, and passengers have been 'getting on' and 'getting off' for a while now. I just enjoy it when trains stop long enough for the impressionistic view to become a classical view. But not too long.