Showing posts with label johann sebastian bach. Show all posts
Showing posts with label johann sebastian bach. Show all posts

Sunday, October 19, 2014

extraneous work (1): 6,5 years of this artist's blog

so time flies. and it happens i repeat myself. what i would like to do next is start a little series on all the extra -sometimes extraneous- work that comes along with being an artist, for me at last.

is this an interesting subject? not sure. why would a musician blogging about practising scales interest me? how she has to make recordings to submit to ... and how she has to do photo shoots, buy strings, tune the instrument, heat the appartment... we take all these things for granted, even when we're in awe of her music. even then, would my interest stretch beyond reading what influences / influenced her, her coming of age as a musician etc? not sure.

when i look at the large amount of time i spend on music (practising, myself; listening to music) and compare it to the amount of time i read about musicians/composers... it doesn't bode well for how interesting my own blog would be to others than myself. [still, the blog at least makes my art available on the web, and it has the added advantage of offering me the opportunity to crystallize some of my thoughts on art.]

but i suppose i would be interested in a description of this musician's activities, if it is well written, and offered some real insight in what drives her, both musically and as a person i suppose, since it seems hard to separate the two completely. and if like on this blog, the description would be interlaced with music...

anyway. it seems i would do well to at least write well on this blog. yet i tend to think that if i had wanted to become a good writer, then i would not have become an artist. most things takes a lot of time and energy to do well, and writing a blog is no exception. worth it too, since writing this blog helps me in important ways with my art itself: to present my art, to think about art and artists, to rethink my art, to rethink my artist's position in life and society, and even to create my art.

in order to present my art here, i spend quite some time on photography and subsequent tuning of digital images with photoshop and other image editors, such as picasa. a subject for the next post in this series, but as an example:

outsider in woman-man dance, frank waaldijk
outsider in woman-man dance (own work, 2010-2013, 21 x 30cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

difficulties abound: the colours of the drawing are hard to capture even with my canon 650d; then apart from often tricky colour adjustments the white-balance and the brightness of the picture need to be calibrated for use on computer screens. for shiny paintings, reflection-specks are edited out. then the image has to be saved for web, in a typical compromise between size and detail.

the drawing itself combines two themes: man-woman dance, and outsiderness (being an outsider). much as i would like to be able to write strikingly about my art, this is where i usually find myself at a loss for words.

lately i realize that this has something to do with a `trite' question: what do we mean with `meaning'? i cannot explain the meaning of art, i feel. if it has meaning (whatever that means), then the most important part of that meaning to me is essentially non-verbal. what is the meaning of the goldberg variations?

Monday, January 24, 2011

self-fulfilling post: more posts in january 2011 than in the entire year 2010 (self reference intermezzo)

title says it all. this post is self-fulfilling ;-) since it is the 20th post of january, and in 2010 there were only 19 posts on this blog. just to show you how empty self-reference can be...although in the foundations of mathematics, self-reference is a profound tool. kurt gödel's incompleteness theorems hinge on the possibility of encoding mathematical statements about our number system in numbers. [the whole numbers 0,1,2,...with addition and multiplication]. combine this with the fact that formal derivations in the number system can also be coded as calculations on numbers, and with quite some work one gets a statement Q about numbers which talks about itself...namely Q, when decoded, reads:

the statement Q cannot be formally derived in the formal number system.

suppose Q can be formally derived...then -assuming the number system is consistent- this means that Q is true, but then Q cannot be formally derived! contradiction. since the assumption that Q can be formally derived leads to contradiction, we conclude that Q cannot be formally derived. this means that Q is true!

wow, you say, so what. but this is one of the most profound insights in the limited power of formal human reasoning that i have ever come across. roughly speaking, it means that no matter how hard we try to formalize our reasoning, if the formal system is strong enough (and consistent) then we will always come across statements which are obviously true but which cannot be derived in our formal system hence the name `incompleteness theorem'. the second incompleteness theorem states that especially the consistency of the system cannot be formally derived within the system.

gödel's incompleteness theorems were a shattering blow to the program of david hilbert, who wanted to formalize all of mathematics. the dutch mathematician l.e.j. (jan) brouwer had already predicted in his phd-thesis (1907) that this would be impossible, on mathematical-philosophical grounds. but gödel gave a sharp mathematical proof, in 1931.


for me, there is some relevant personal history here...since you could say that both my mathematical career and my artistic career were fueled by the absolutely marvelous book `gödel escher bach - an eternal golden braid' (written by douglas hofstadter, and winner of the pulitzer prize for non-fiction in 1980 - when i was fifteen).

gödel escher bach, douglas hofstadter

few other books have so sparked my interest in art, neuroscience and mathematics as this book, and it is wonderful that there are people like douglas hofstadter devoting time and energy to translate difficult concepts from mathematics and natural science to a more general audience.

and yes i will come back to maurits escher once more in later posts...(did i mention somewhere how much i love bach's music? but i know very little about music, so i won't write about it on this blog i think).

in art, also self-reference can play various important roles. one obvious role is that of the self-portrait...(see some recent previous posts for digital self-portraits) and i will come back to that also, after i finish the thread on nuclear energy and art.


this post was partly sparked by my lunch today with paul, staunch supporter of this blog and its author, who repeated his earlier remark that i should not forget to combine my mathematical background with my artistic endeavour from time to time.

so thank you paul!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

art & money 3: robert hughes, damien hirst, mona lisa curse

so just a short note. it turns out i've missed a tv programme on the english channel 4 called `the mona lisa curse'.

really a shame i missed it, in the programme art critic robert hughes denounces the contemporary art scene in a clearcut way, it seems. i've tried to find videos on the web, to no avail.

a taste of the well-received programme can be found in a hughes' article in the guardian.

i'm uplifted by finding a prominent art critic sharing my views. still, the new clothes of the emperor keep on being admired and talked about...for instance by germaine greer in the same guardian. germaine really illustrates very aptly what i've been trying to say: `art in the 21st century isn't about making things, the real art is marketing'. or something similar (go read for yourself). and she's serious. the hirst auction is the artwork, according to germaine, not the stuff that was being auctioned.

well. sigh again. not a very deep work then, just rather lucrative. it's more like a pop tune for the rich. but who in their right mind is going to put britney spears in the same category as a certain old and dusty johann sebastian...although according to germaine we should do so, i believe? germaine?