Don't act like y'all don't know where we be neither.

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Showing posts with label aesthetics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aesthetics. Show all posts

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mirror in a Dark Room

I'm not really what you'd call an open minded person. The door is definitely shut.

 I don't make up my mind lightly. It is possible that I sometimes confuse exhausting mental debate, which is actually the product of a maddening compulsion, with thoroughness.

 That's why the door's locked but not dead-bolted. If one knocks loud enough, long enough...looks in the window...lays on the door bell, honks the car horn. I might peak through the curtains long enough to give you the finger and mouth "Go Home! I'm calling the cops and loading my shotgun."

 No..I'm kidding. Really.

Of course, locks can be picked...just as surely as an analogy can be taken too far and become annoying.

Look at this.... Photobucket This is a photograph taken by Amy Bartlam. She is a professional photographer in England but, this was just a casual instagram post. I found Amy's blog for the obvious reason. She's a Bartlam. I've never talked to a Bartlam that wasn't a sibling or a parent of some kind. I was curious.

 -Adam and I have this running conversation about people's names in these parts...Metcalfe, Shackleford, Vickers, Shaws of every kind, etc. Nine times out of ten* people will tell you they're Irish or Scottish when, in fact, they just have peculiar English names. Somehow, despite being surrounded by Lamberts and Hadleys, Bartlam is a real problem for people to get their tongues should see the spellings my boss comes up with. My last name tag read Erin Barthelam. That's respect. Anyway...there aren't very many of us over here.- 

Turned out...she was a really good photographer. There were hip wedding pictures and interior shots that were very...well, professional. She's a professional.. Then she started posting these instagram things. I think that's what you call 'em. I'm neither hip nor hip to these app They were these abstract photographs (see we've encountered our first problem right there)...or, abstracts from photographs.

It's gorgeous. A warm pinkish background with frosted streaks, stains and hints of geometric shapes to give it texture. It does...or seems to do arrrrrgghhh...what abstract paintings do best, present beauty as beauty without the mental hindrance of objects.

Then the trick...the stark black steak across the surface is a shadow and the cord or rope that's causing it. This ineffable (except of course it's a *&*%*(&^ photograph) expression is a song only stationary. With a jolt it's pinned down in time and space.

Maybe I'm just a functioning idiot (can it Adam) but, it knocked me out.

There's a problem though. Up to this point I was absolutely certain that a photograph could not possibly be considered a work of A Art. High Art.** It might be possible to manipulate or doctor a photograph into a piece of Art...but, for all practical purposes that's painting. The problem is that a photograph can't help but present an image as image. It's like holding up a mirror to something you could plainly see for yourself at the right time and place.

It's not that objects can't be presented as Art but they ought to have what Arthur C. Danto described as "transfiguration of the commonplace."

Flowers from Botticelli's Primavera

If you've ever seen a flower you recognize these as flowers but....come the &*^%& on! Have the flowers in your back yard (garden for the bar-b-quers) ever struck you like that?  The whole painting puts a fluttering pit in my stomach. There's a hint of anxiety because the world I see is not that beautiful. There's sheer awe mixed with joy and hope that somebody has.

Hope. The hope that the world might actually be this beautiful...more beautiful even. That the problem is with us...with the circumstance we have found ourselves in..*** If that's the case...if the hope is for a realization of a more beautiful reality, why can't the photographer provide a glimpse of how beautiful the world might actually be?  Forcing you to look at an object as is to demonstrate the beauty of ordinary things. That's quite a feat.

So I'm sticking my head out the door and declaring, as quietly and quickly as I can.."photographycanbeArt." And slamming that *&^*& shut again. Click. Go away.


*That tenth person is indeed going to be of Irish or Scottish decent and have a McPreposterous name. I saw a McStreet sign the other day that I wish I'd written down. Indecipherable.

** I'm trying to separate High Art from art...enjoyable images, etc., whatever. It's not a value judgement but a classification. Much of what I enjoy and surround myself with would hardly be considered fine art.

***WARNING Religious Connotations! WARNING! WARNING! :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Post #6

I've let it go...sorta.

It's curious to me that two people can hear the same sounds and come to completely different opinions about it.

Would I be outta line in saying that music is unique as a form of doesn't really convey information (I know it can be used to convey information, but doesn't that make it language?). You can write a peice of music and title it Confederate Veterans Day, but really who could hear it without the title and know what it was about? You could make the sound of a ducks quack with a kazoo, but it's the sound of a duck...and I don't think I'm being tautalogical about this.

There are sequences of sound that we recognize as being complete and sperate from other sounds, and these are different than a ducks quack or language. You could string a series of duck quacks into a song, but it's the arrangment that would set it off as a song and not the sound of ducks quacking. One might mistake a language for music, but that would depend on the listener being ignorant of it's actual purpose.

I feel like I may be getting beyond my depth fact I know I am and I better move along before somebody stops by and pops my floaties.

I know there's this business of lyrics...they can be carried on music but they aren't the music...and they can be ignored. At least I know it's possible or I would never have paid for three different copies of Double Nickles on a Dime. Maybe they can't, but that's a different issue. You might say a lyric is depressing, but how can a piece of music be depressing.'s different it's not something you have to just hear it and it shakes your rump, taps your foot, or whatever, or not.

How can two people with functioning ears have different reactions to the same ineffable sequence of sounds.? What else besides hearing is going on?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Post #5

Y'all should be gettin' an idea of what's going on here.

I'm surrounded by lovable people who claim to find me confusing and even sometimes depressing (depressing?...seriously?), and who are genuinely deficient when it comes to aesthetic taste.

They're not dumb either...

transfers 234

That's one of my dearest friends think he's dumb? Look closely at the picture. He's wearing a beret OK?

Still...he haaaates The Fall...(I say he hates The Fall because that's how I have interpreted his refusal to listen to them after a couple of bars)...and he's the one who made up some story about noticing but not noticing my my pi'tures.

As far as I know their ears work o.k.

How can they miss the rhythmic groove of a song like Wings?

Y'all think they're just being obstinate..or what?