Monday, June 30, 2008

art & quality 14: personal fabricator 2 (digital fabrication)

to continue with this line of thinking, a question relevant to the quality of an art work also seems: how difficult is it to make such an art work?

with nanomachinery, the time is nearing where we will be able to manufacture many things from a digital blueprint.

consider a van gogh. the oil paint has a certain age, the brush strokes are (say) thick and impasto-style. it is as much a 3dimensional work as a twodimensional one. which is part of the reason why photographic reproductions don't work, and why it is hard to forge a van gogh.

but now suppose we can create a nanomachinery-driven 3d copier, which replicates paintings down to the very essence of a brushstroke, down to the chemical components, say molecule by molecule (or very close).

suddenly, everyone can have a van gogh in her/his room IF the museum would allow the nanomachinery-driven blueprinting, and subsequent distribution. everyone can have brancusi's sleeping muse, in any wanted material too.

think about it.

what would it mean for art & quality? how would it change our perspective of forgery? and what does that say about the validity of our current perspective?

quality & art 13: forgery 3: andy warhol

obviously, other people are thinking on the same issues. i came across edward winkleman's blog (the posting of thursday 26 june 2008, i cannot link to it directly), where he discusses a current forgery issue which tallies with my previous post.

it concerns works by -or not by- andy warhol, such as the work below:

andy warhol? 315 johns

andy warhol?, 315 johns

the issue is also discussed in the new york times of 26 june 2008.

the interesting thing these articles show is that intrinsic value of an art work seems to be considered completely derivational to who made it, generally without any questioning whatsoever as to whether this is a sound principle. by contrast winkleman runs an open thread on what makes an art work `good', and he is clearly thinking about art & quality somewhere along the same lines as the thread art & quality of this blog (he doesn't make a pagerank comparison though, which i believe to be a key issue).

would you -i mean seriously, would you really- believe there is such a thing as the andy warhol art authentication board? it would lead one to not ever take the modern art world seriously again. perhaps unless an art work strikes you as inescapable, unless you are rooted to the ground, or you find yourself coming back to an art work either physically or in your mind over and over again.

i doubt that art works made by artists who produce works by the dozen a day will fall in the above category.

when an artist doesn't produce works as if every scribble, every scrap, every idea, every execution is brilliant deep art - in other words when an artist takes time, effort, mistakes, reworking etc. before releasing art to the world, then i think there will be much less need for an authentication board.

i have seen exhibitions of joseph beuys for instance, serious exhibitions mind you, where it seemed that the curators thought that every scrap of paper that the good man ever touched was transformed into breathtaking mindboggling art.

all the more is the pity, because in my eyes beuys was a very talented draughtsman...but how to find these wonderful drawings amidst all the nonsense? how difficult to fake/forge a beuys? well that depends on the work, but in general it should be extremely easy. just take any oily substance (wax, linseed oil, cooking oil, motor oil) smear it on an envelope, add some pencil, maybe a little ink/paint and you are done. the less you think about it, the more convincing. if you want to do a good job, study beuys' handwriting carefully, and add some mystifying terms. in german.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

quality & art 12: forgery 2

returning to `quality and art', although really this theme also underlies all the previous posts, i would like to add some extra background to the post on anonymous art and forgeries. [where anonymized art as well as forgeries are presented as methods to prick through the balloon of art legitimization. a balloon which floats most of the contemporary art scene. don't be impressed by it, is what i'm saying.]

so, forgeries. what do they have to do with quality?

suppose i would brilliantly forge a scarlatti sonata. [you should read this, to be honest about my musical ablities, as: suppose i COULD forge a scarlatti sonata ;-)]. i would claim i was cleaning some attic, conveniently dating back to the 18th century, when suddenly my eye fell upon...etc.

experts go wild. in all the texts 555 has to be replaced by 556. special performances are given all over the world. reviews are raving.

then, i'm found out. boohoo. BUT does it make the music any less beautiful? is its QUALITY any less for having been found out as a forgery?

well, in the visual arts this is not a question. so-called experts even frown upon this question. a forgery of a matisse, when found out, will be removed from the museum's exhibition. how hard is it to forge a matisse? well, to be honest, i don't think that should be too difficult.

henri matisse, icarus

henri matisse, icarus

in fact i have sold a number of...oh. perhaps i should wait a little with this revelation, since the centre pompidou is already in trouble with another suspected forgery, see below.

ralf kwaaknijd, paradise snake

ralf kwaaknijd, paradise snake / hidden in plain sight xxxiv, 2005, centre pompidou paris

rather exact replicas of this work from controversial dutch visual artist ralf kwaaknijd have been acquired by a number of other museums of modern art, raising serious questions as to its authenticity. [ralf kwaaknijd is preparing a statement on the issue, it is said. more work by kwaaknijd later.].

tribal art? modern art? look and see

one of the many irritating things about the presentation of `tribal' art in western museums is precisely the implication of `tribal'.

what a complete lack of self-reflection. as if our society is not tribal. as if our medieval and much of our other-periods' art is not religious / shamanistic even.

but even on the aesthetic level, the difference in appreciation can be stunning to behold. i repeat the picture from the previous post, below. and i ask you: is this sculpture not in every sense more balanced, more provoking, more evoking than eg. any of giacometti's works? do you not think that most `modern' sculptors would have given an arm and a leg to have a form sense as profound as in this statuette?

man, wood, african 19-20th century

man, wood, african, 19-20th century (did not write down the details, sorry)

alberto giacometti, sitting man

alberto giacometti, sitting man (or something like that, did not write down the details, sorry), centre pompidou

so why don't we see any african art in the centre pompidou? or other `tribal' art? could it be that although we are supposedly in the 21st century, we are still as bigoted as our 19th century forebears? could it be we are still droogstoppels, only covering up?

Monday, June 23, 2008

world cultural heritage 2: musée du quai branly

one of the museums not permitting the taking of pictures is the (new french prestige) musée du quai branly, which shamelessly presents extremely valuable religious/shamanistic tribal art works from africa, asia, polynesia, and the americas... shamelessly you say, why do you use that word frank? well, because one cannot help but wonder where all these incredible art works came from, and how they were acquired. and even if they are in need of protection and conservation, why they are not in the respective national museums of the countries of origin. [the same question irrevocably pops up when visiting the louvre, and seeing the enormous amount of egyptian art which i believe was largely simply carted off during 19th and early 20th century by the french. why not give it back to egypt?]

so, the art works having most likely been taken away from peoples not capable of protecting their national cultural heritage, the museum also actively obstructs these peoples and the rest of the world in acquiring images of these art works.

are these not mankinds collective treasures? are these not meant for as wide a dissemination as is possible? shame, musée du quai branly.

man, wood, african 19-20th century

man, wood, african, 19-20th century (did not write down the details, sorry)

world cultural heritage: taking pictures in museums

in several important museums containing critical elements of world cultural heritage, it is forbidden to take pictures. the only sensible explanation for this is that the museum wants to exploit its collection even further by selling photographs in the museum shop.

also, in many of these museums, we are talking about art from centuries and centuries, deplaced from its original country (often robbed/stolen/looted in the days of colonialism).

i find myself increasingly angered by such museum policies.

from what does the museum, which is almost always publicly funded, derive its right to limit access to the imagery of its collection to those fortunate enough to be able to travel to the museum?

you can argue that other people can look at photographs in books, but the point is that most of these works cannot be found in books, or only very poorly photographed.

it is an example of closed source, where money and power motives of a few win out over benefit for all. shame on these museums. and shame on us for letting our legislation permit them to act like this.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

intermezzo: constantin brancusi in paris

illumination of this blog is necessary i think, or we will end up with words words words.

saw works of constantin brancusi in centre pompidou on my visit to paris. pictures can be taken freely in the museum -i will come back to this- so here three pictures i took:

constantin brancusi, sleeping muse

sleeping muse, constantin brancusi

constantin brancusi, sleeping muse 2

sleeping muse, constantin brancusi

constantin brancusi, sleeping muse 3

sleeping muse, constantin brancusi

here is where you can see a webpanorama 360 degree view of brancusi's atelier in centre pompidou.

icarus 5, multatuli 2

[just visited paris, stayed with a friend, which was very inspiring. talked about multatuli, for one. more on paris later.]

did multatuli's book max havelaar put an end to colonialism in the end? maybe. but not to economic slavery. how aware are we of the working conditions in china, india, pakistan, ... - where so much of our `cheap' goods & clothing come from? why is there still an organization called max havelaar trying to foster `fair trade'? are we more aware of the appalling amount of child labour than our 19th century predecessors?

i dare say not. or we have become more callous in these matters. how difficult is it REALLY to pressure governments into protecting at least the children of this world? i don't know. but a new multatuli would not be out of a job, of that i'm sure.

visiting amsterdam recently, i came across...the lauriergracht! readers of max havelaar will recall that lauriergracht no. 37 is the address of the satirical character droogstoppel, coffee-broker (makelaar in koffie, in dutch) with the firm last & co. i didn't know this canal (gracht means citycanal) really existed, but now of course i had to take my children to see no. 37...and to my surprise this is what i found:

lauriergracht no. 37, amsterdam

lauriergracht no. 37, amsterdam

if you look sharply, you will see the aged and faded letters on the stone read: last & co, makelaars in koffij. i can tell you, i was quite surprised. but some research showed me that the stone was placed later, at no. 37, as an ode to multatuli and his character droogstoppel. droogstoppel actually starts off max havelaar with:

I AM a coffee-broker, and live at No. 37 Lauriergracht. It is not my custom to write novels, or any such thing; so it was a long time before I made up my mind to order a couple of reams of paper and begin the work which you, dear reader, have just taken up, and which you ought to read if you are in the coffee business — or, in fact, if you are anything else. And not only have I never written anything which was in the least like a novel, but I don’t hold with even reading anything of the sort, because I am a man of business. For several years past I have been asking myself, What is the use of such things? And I am perfectly amazed at the impudence of poets and novelists in palming off upon you things which have never happened, and, for the most part, never can happen. Now, in my business — I am a coffee-broker, and live in the Lauriergracht, No. 37 — if I were to send in to a principal (a principal is a man who sells coffee) an account containing only a small part of the untruths which are the main point in all poems and romances, why, he would at once go to Busselinck & Waterman. (Busselinck & Waterman are coffee-brokers too; but it is not necessary for you to know their address.) So I take good care not to write any novels or send in wrong accounts. I have always noticed that persons who let themselves in for that kind of thing generally get the worst of it. I am forty-three, and have been at the Exchange for twenty years, so that I have every right to put myself forward when a man of experience is in demand. I have seen plenty of firms fail in my time; and usually, when I examined into the causes of their failure, it seemed to me that they must be sought for in the wrong direction given to most people in their youth.

I say, “Truth and sound sense!” And that I stick to. The mistake comes in, in the first place, with Van Alphen, even in his very first line about the “dear little creatures.” What on earth could induce this old gentleman to call himself an adorer of my little sister Truitje, who had sore eyes, or of my brother Gerrit, who was always biting his nails? And yet he says that “he sang these verses, compelled by love.” I used often to think, when I was a child, “Man, I should like to meet you, just for once; and then, if you refused me the marbles I should ask you for, or the whole of my name in chocolate letters, then I should consider you a liar.” But I never saw Van Alphen. I think he was already dead when he used to tell us that my father was my best friend — I thought far more of Pauweltje Winser, who lived next door to us — and that my little dog was so grateful for kindness! We never kept dogs, because they are dirty.

That is the way children are brought up; and later on, come other lies again. A girl is an angel! The man who was the first to discover that never had any sisters of his own. Love is bliss! One is going to fly, with one object or another, to the end of the earth. The earth has no ends; and, besides, love is madness. No one can say that I do not live happily with my wife. She is a daughter of Last & Co., coffee-brokers. I am a member of the most respectable club in Amsterdam. She has a shawl that cost ninety-two florins. And yet there was never any question between us of a foolish love like that, which insists on living at the very end of the earth! When we were married we made a little tour to The Hague; she bought some flannel there, and I am wearing undervests made of it to this day; but love never drove us out into the world any farther than that. Bah! it is all madness and lies!

It is not verses alone that seduce the young into untruthfulness. Just go to the theater and listen to the falsehoods that are being spread abroad there. The hero of the play is pulled out of the water by some fellow on the point of going into the bankruptcy court. Then he gives the fellow half his fortune. Why, such a thing could not possibly happen! Not long ago, when my hat was blown into the Prinsengracht, I gave the man who brought it back to me four cents, and he was quite satisfied. Of course I knew I should have had to give something more if it had been myself that he pulled out, but certainly not half what I possess. Why, it is clear that, on this principle, one need only fall into the water twice to be ruined! But the worst of it is, with such things represented on the stage, the public gets so accustomed to all these falsehoods that it thinks them fine, and applauds them. I should just like to throw a whole pit-ful of such people into the water, and see whose applause was sincere. I, who hold by the truth, warn every one that I am not going to pay so high a salvage for the fishing up of my person. Any one who is not satisfied with less may just let me stay where I am. On a Sunday, however, I should pay rather more, because then I wear my gold watch-chain and my best coat.

Yes, the stage ruins many — still more than the novels. It looks so well! With a little gold tinsel and paper lace things can be made so attractive — for children, that is to say, and for people who are not in business. Even when they want to represent poverty on the stage, the picture given is always a false one. A girl, whose father has gone bankrupt, is working to keep the family. Very good. There she sits, then, sewing, knitting, or embroidering. But just count the stitches that she takes in the course of the whole scene. She talks, she sighs, she keeps running to the window, but she does not work. The family who can live on such work as this must have few wants indeed. Of course a girl like this is the heroine. She has thrown several villains down the stairs. She continually calls out, “Oh, mother! mother!” and thus represents virtue. What sort of virtue do you call that, that takes a year to finish a pair of woolen socks? Does not all this give people wrong ideas about virtue and working for their living?

Then her first lover — he was formerly a clerk at the copying-book, but now a millionaire — suddenly comes back and marries her. Lies again. A man with money will never marry a girl from a house that has failed. And then, virtue rewarded! I have had plenty of experience in my time, but still it shocks me terribly when I see truth perverted in this way. Virtue rewarded! Isn’t it just like making a traffic out of virtue? It is not so in this world, and a very good thing it is that it is not. Where is the merit of being virtuous, if virtue is to be rewarded? Now, I am as virtuous as most people, but do I expect to be rewarded for it? If my business goes on well — which, in fact, it does; if my wife and children keep in health, so that I have no worry with the doctor and chemist; if, year by year, I can put away a little sum for my old age; if Fritz grows up a good man of business, so that he can step into my shoes when I retire and go to live at Driebergen — well, if all these things are so, I am quite content. But all that is a natural result of circumstances, and of my attention to business. I don’t ask any special reward for my virtue.

That I am virtuous is quite evident from my love for truth. This, next to my attachment to our orthodox belief, is my ruling passion. And I should like the reader to be quite convinced of this, because it is my excuse for writing this book.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

icarus 4: multatuli

ok. let me step outside of the visual arts for a moment, to introduce you to someone who is still -i believe- little known outside the netherlands:

statue multatuli amsterdam

statue of multatuli (by hans bayens) amsterdam

multatuli is seen by many as the greatest dutch writer ever, anyway i think he's a great writer [what great means i leave be, in the light of the ongoing chautauqua on quality; it looks like a gpr-qualification (gpr=generalized pagerank) but can also be simply personal, which is how i use it.]

although he is most famous for his revolutionary work max havelaar, or the coffee auctions of the dutch trading society, to which i will come back, his 7book work ideas is perhaps the most direct inspiration for this weblog to have seen some light of day (electrons of night is more accurate but would you get the analogy?).

to understand this, you should know that multatuli's numbered ideas are in their essence and form a weblog avant-la-lettre. but they date from the second half of the 19th century. they also contain a play and an entire, wonderful novel called woutertje pieterse.

yes, yes, you're getting impatient, i know. what the buzz does this multiperson have to do with icarus...

well, take the time to follow the links above, then you can read in what way multatuli was so far ahead of his time, and flying so much higher as to merit an association with icarus. in his ideas one can read also what his contemporaries write about him and his answers to this. and like boltzmann he put an imnsho lamentable amount of time and energy in trying to uplift his contemporaries to his own level. which, sherely by mass alone, results most often in being dragged down...

although? let me cite wikipedia on the longterm effects of max havelaar (written in 1860!):

The combination of these two strategies caused widespread abuse of colonial power, especially on the islands of Java and Sumatra, resulting in abject poverty and widespread starvation among the farmers.

Multatuli wrote Max Havelaar in protest against these colonial policies. Despite its terse writing style, it raised the awareness of Europeans living in Europe at the time that the wealth that they enjoyed was the result of suffering in other parts of the world. This awareness eventually formed the motivation for the new Ethical Policy by which the Dutch colonial government attempted to "repay" their debt to their colonial subjects by providing education to some classes of natives, generally members of the elite loyal to the colonial government.

Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer argued that by triggering these educational reforms, Max Havelaar was in turn responsible for the nationalist movement that ended Dutch colonialism in Indonesia after 1945, and which was instrumental in the call for decolonisation in Africa and elsewhere in the world. Thus, according to Pramoedya, Max Havelaar is "the book that killed colonialism".

to be continued.

Friday, June 13, 2008

icarus & spiritual growth: two-edged sword

icarus shot down at night (own work, 2006)

icarus shot down at night, own work 2006

i think the easily understood message of the icarus myth is: if you strive too high -egotistically- without regard for consequence and without a sense of balance, then you will crash. this seems actually the same as my `brave new world' feeling (science, apes fire) discussed in some previous posts.

but again i feel a bite to the the sense that the above is very often abused by people to bring down `highflyers'. act normal, they say. why don't you do as we do? you probably think you're better than we, don't you. but you're just an icarus, and you will crash.

so the spiritual growth that mankind -imnsho- desperately needs, is also stunted by the resistance of the group to anyone who wants to rise to a higher level of spirituality. in that sense the story of icarus could easily be a false account.

what if icarus designed the wings, and flew high? people got jealous, angry, frustrated, frightened by this new power, afraid of their hard-won positions in which they had become entrenched, scared they might lose their standing, their wealth,...

...and therefore they shot him down at night, and covered it up with a good story of melting wings...

icarus intermezzo 2: who is icarus anyway?

[this blog seems to be attracting quite a number of interested people from all over the world. amazing. but noblesse oblige: to be read means to be held to write.]

how did i get to icarus from science and apes...well that's not so difficult of course, since from greek mythology icarus is traditionally depicted as the foolish son of scientist/inventor/architect daedalus (and he's the one who built the palace on knossos with the labyrinth for the minotaur, and who was then marooned off on a deserted island with icarus, but contrived to escape using wings made of bird feathers and wax) who flew too close to the sun, thus melting the wax of his wings, thus crashing to his death in the sea below.

unwise use of science/technology. apes playing with fire...

but actually, i've always felt uncomfortable with the icarus story. the myth itself -though instructive- also begs for reinterpretation.
[i will -i promise- come back to the themes of quality & art, brave new world, personal fabrication, but i cannot leave poor icarus be]

the fall of icarus (own work, 2006)

the fall of icarus, own work 2006

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

icarus: reading about brueghel 2

in the train of thoughts that forms this chautauqua i'm reminded of rudy rucker's book as above, so below on the life of pieter brueghel the elder, one of my favourite artists. (first post here)

i find very revealing especially what the author makes pieter say about the following painting:

pieter bruegel, the fall of icarus

pieter bruegel, the fall of icarus

according to rudy, pieter paints this picture to show that icarus types can easily be missed from society. they do not contribute essentially, life goes on as usual with or without them. supposedly pieter brueghel adheres to simplicity of life, which prompts him to paint peasant scenes and peasant village landscapes, having little admiration for highflying `false' ideals.

of course i have no way of knowing pieter brueghel's mind when he painted the above. but rudy rucker's interpretation to me seems too easy. the real bite of the painting to me - and such a bite i consider pieter to be very capable of - is that the painting also depicts the narrow view of the worldly world. the farmer doesn't look up, not because he's knowingly not interested, but because he's too engrossed in his own world to notice anything out of the ordinary. the same for the herdsman, and the other (fisher?)man. the ship sails, but does not set out a rescue party for the person who has just crashed in the accomplishment of a miraculous feat. why not? well, there's time to consider, effort...and anyway these highflyers...have themselves to blame don't they? ignoring seems a safe bet.

i think brueghel in his time was a highflyer himself. the painting has this double edge, that it depicts what society (not brueghel!) thinks of real highflyers (not the happyfacehowdoyoudo (con)temporary stars of a given period) in their own era.

to be continued.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

science: we are apes playing with fire

rembrandt, doctor faust (detail)
rembrandt van rijn, doctor faust (detail)

another aspect of brave new world & scientific progress: it seems to me we resemble apes playing with fire. we uncover and unleash forces more powerful than ever before unleashed by mankind. but we have not grown significantly in a spiritual sense these past thousand or so years.

so we are left with serious threats to life on the planet (and therefore our own existence) such as nuclear war or nuclear terrorism or other nuclear disaster, the creation (through genetic engineering) of life forms -perhaps viral perhaps not- which can wipe out ecosystems or more, toxic waste / global pollution, global warming, to name a few.

less known but potentially just as dangerous (in my eyes): the ongoing creation of nanomachinery, and physical experiments aiming at the creation of a black hole on earth.

i've begun a sculpture series called `The World Circus Proudly Presents!!!' , probably as a way to vent my incredulity at our common human stupidity in these matters. pennysmart, pounddumb about sums it up for me. whatever brilliant scientific discovery is made, it will be swept up into the vortex of human greed, arrogance, intolerance, unwillingness to see further consequences, personal gainseeking etc.

we desperately desperately need spiritual growth. much more & much more urgently than any other growth.

The World Circus Proudly Presents!: The Terrorist Turtles with their Nuclear Balancing Act on Top of their Twin Towers!!! (own work, 2006)
The World Circus Proudly Presents!: The Terrorist Turtles with their Nuclear Balancing Act on Top of their Twin Towers!!! (own work, 2006, 150 x 90 x 90 cm, turning mobile)

The World Circus Proudly Presents!: The Terrorist Turtles with their Nuclear Balancing Act on Top of their Twin Towers!!! (detail of own work, 2006)

brave new world 3: prenatal genetic screening

coincidental or not -the subconscious picks up on more things than one would guess, i believe- one of the current political debates in the netherlands is about prenatal genetic screening.

the fundamentalist christian party christenunie, which is minority part of the cabinet, has blocked a proposal to legalize the prenatal screening of embryos used in IVF w.r.t. the carrying of a specific breast-cancer gene.

this is not a political blog, but the debate shows a lot of what i meant about where humanity is going, when i started the first brave new world post.

of course, getting breast cancer -or any life threatening disease- at a young age (this is what happens often to female carriers of the gene) is a terrible thing. but the real question in this debate is of course where to draw a line with respect to prenatal genetic screening. i believe prenatal genetic screening already occurs with respect to down syndrome (even in vivo; i have to look this up) and possibly other genetic defects. so quite likely part of the debate has already been outdated by current medical practice.

the brave new world perspective that i see taking shape indicates that yes, we will have extensive prenatal genetic screening and even genetic engineering in the future. if i want a girl, then why spend my time money energy on a boy infant? why settle for slowwitted when i can have intelligent? you may think this extreme, but it is the logical continuation of the reasons for which genetic screening already take place.

because, just to give a different type of example, depression is also a serious disease with a strong genetic component. who wants their child to get depression? (or a psychosis? schizophrenia?) why, when it is no longer necessary once we identify the responsible genes?

too bad for art, music etc....i'm certain. because there is a high correlation between artistic creativity and depression, for instance.

please don't think i'm a religious person. there is not one religion which appeals to me, it seems to me that religions are intolerant movements based largely on rules and dogma's instead of spirituality. but i do think it is time this debate is being held.

(and yes, to remain true to this being an art blog, these things also reflect on art and vice versa --> some subsequent post)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

brave new world 2

The World Circus Proudly Presents!: The Genetic Engineers with their Quantum Crossover Acrobat Act!!! (own work, 2007)
The World Circus Proudly Presents!: The Genetic Engineers with their Quantum Crossover Acrobat Act!!! (own work, 2007)

[ehm, sorry, it seems i'm being too ambitious, since i wasn't done yet with the brave new world thread, and already i'm opening a new thread for personal fabrication. pf will have to wait a little, i suppose]

so what themes of brave new world are relevant imnsho? i think the idea of genetic engineering (in the book it is more environmental conditioning) of human beings is coming closer and closer. but also the role of sex as opium of the people, and the idea of total-experience shows -movielike theaters that cater to all the senses through some sort of neurolinks...meaning in essence that one feels, hears, smells, sees, tastes what the movie actors feel hear etc.

this multisense-appeal of art is coming closer and closer. linking to the previous posts on amygdala, music, neuroaesthetics: there seems to be far more popular attention to great movies and pop/rock concerts / dance events / music clips etc than to traditional visual art. also look at the success of youtube. as for the role of sex: look at the ongoing permeation of porno and sex throughout western society.

if we are moving more to a society resembling brave new world, then `traditional' visual art will become (has already become?) a marginalist affair for the elite (the alpha's) whereas the boundary between visual art for the people and entertainment for the people will become (has become?) blurred. titillation of the senses, that is what society wants and that is where it is headed, to put it in black and white.

who are the real visual artists and visual-arts stars of the people? movie makers, actors, television, pop stars in video clips etc. and the visual culture is influenced far more heavily by them and eg. glossy magazines then by `traditional' visual art.

i think.

where that leaves visual art which aims at slower, underlying levels of reality? i'm afraid it will snow under, for better or for worse.

Friday, June 6, 2008

art & quality 11: the personal fabricator

so let us continue with science a little bit more.

already we discussed science giving us some insight into what we might perceive as quality in art, through the field of bioaesthetics.

but there are other developments in science which ultimately could change the art world dramatically - so i believe.

one of these developments is called `personal fabrication' (or digital fabrication, fab lab, rapid digital prototyping, whatever). let us suppose for a moment that there is such a thing as a personal fabricator (called a pf, for sure) at our disposal. in the following posts i want to explore some of the remarkable consequences for the art world that i see arising out of the pf.

these consequences also shed a light -i think- on the discussion on art & quality today.

but it is really past my bedtime, will be continued, good night (to myself, is the most sensible interpretation i realize)

Monday, June 2, 2008

brave new world

aldous huxley, brave new world (front cover first edition)
aldous huxley, brave new world (front cover first edition, 1932)

lately i'm reminded regularly of a book i read when i was 16: brave new world by aldous huxley.

its relevance to what i'm pondering on is multiple in character, i believe. so perhaps i will be able to weave its themes into this art chautauqua (a word robert pirsig uses for his story in zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance. indian word, beautiful, world of difference with the anglo-american word `blog'.)

summarily, i think brave new world tackles the issue of where modern society wants to go and is going. what drives human beings and societies? where does this logically take us, if there are no direct hamperings?

if i as an artist want to reflect on human values, societal values, spiritual values, then the question is whether i can do so completely from within, or whether i am always part of a group, many groups, this society.

probably not only my way of sharing/touching deeper layers will be co-determined by these groups, but also that what i perceive on some (sub-, semi-, or fully conscious) level to be the most relevant issues.

and, to continue partly with the previous thread on quality and art, generalized pagerank etcetera, it goes without saying that the societal appreciation of my art endeavours also influences me and my creation process.

[all this in my not so humble opinion...i feel better repeating from time to time that my insights are just that: personal insights, not overwhelming general truths].

Sunday, June 1, 2008

famous artist or not: take this test

ok. test yourself here: . with pain in my heart i reveal that i only scored 67%. missed out on 2 famous ones and 2 infamous ones...

but the question would have been better put differently, since there are many works by famous artists which i do not consider great, which probably explains the 4 mistakes above (all the 4 paintings that i missed out on didn't impress me very much, all the paintings that i thought interesting were by great artists)

still, why not do tests like these regularly, i like to take them even though i'm often mistaken. of course, one would have to look at the real works...

[but still, i remember seeing works in the dali museum in figueres which were exquisite, hanging next to works which could have been painted by any 15yr old with a rushed assignment for art class. to me famous is no guarantee at all.]

semi-anonymous art: just a painting

tarsila do amaral, lago
just an artist, lago