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Monthly Archives: April 2012

So what are we attempting to do here?

We are considering models of resistance which go beyond duality and focus on dealienation. Dualism, the division of something conceptually into two opposed or contrasted aspects, or the state of being so divided, is the foundation of our current world, product of the cartesian model. The separation of mind and body as too distinct entities, the view of a universe consisting of stelar systems noted by disconnectedness, or self containment. This is not an ideal foundation of our future but the present is slow to change. Systems of thought are beginning to merge and combine in ways that are infinitely more enlightened than the lens which seeks difference. Commonality is the way forward and interconnectedness the key.

How do we resist and focus on dealienation? John Halloway writes about changing the world without taking power, Habermas develops a life world in which interpersonal relations are brought into a more open, more generous space. Considering the need for privacy and publicness is perhaps vital here and has been totally usurped by a media choosing one over the other. It is never the medium alone though is it? Resistance comes into play after the fact much of the time. For example people have, en mass, become involved in the phenomena that is facebook and beginning to realize, late in the day, the extent of the hidden motives and agendas at play behind the scenes. Blind following, whether of religion, self-help gurus, new technologies, the effect is the same, potential problems will have developed to near chronic levels by the time adequate resistance is shown.

Blindness such as this is part of the cartesian model. It allows implosion. This is fueled by language and reinforced by value ….An understanding of actions in isolation. In effect, a lack of acceptance of the connectedness of all things, whether the keyboard to the oil rig, the toothbrush to the island of plastic in the Pacific, and the negative attitude to the cancer diagnosis, understanding a holistic model is resistance. So then, dealientation? How do we dealienate families in their homes, workers at their stations, dreamers in their dreams? Much is assumed in this instance but it is my understanding, speaking from personal experience, that it initially takes disengagement. I have observed behavioral changes in myself and people around me disengaging with contemporary mass media. For example, a family with two young children who is not exposed to several hours of television everyday, leads a very different life than one which views television as a normal part of everyday life. The children in the first example (noting that television was not replaced by the internet of video games) are more engaged in physical activity, arts and crafts, music, reading, talking, and expressing themselves. The parents are much more aware of the states of emotion and mind of each other and their children. This decision not to part take in an activity which removes them from themselves consequently dealientates them.

There is enough information on the effects of television, media, technology and so on, with a list of medical conditions to match, schizophonia is my current favorite, but the point is, that generally speaking the problem arrises out of dualism. Social discourse is still very divided perhaps partly because most humans are overworked and now favor being presented with an experience over actually having an experience. Awareness and mindfulness solve many problems and empower distinctly.

[Distinction being essential and division (dualism) unnecessary].

influence and inspiration……..

Jenny Holzer:

“It’s women who’ve been doing the most challenging art in the last decade. Psychologically seen, their work is much more extreme than men’s”

Employing the medium of the word, Jenny Holzer gives expression to messages, statements, theses and antitheses on the subject of taboos, sex, violence, love, war and death. While she was a student, she was oriented towards abstract painting, but her aim was none the less to convey content and present her themes to the public eye. Initially, therefore, she wrote explicit texts on abstract pictures. In 1977, she moved to New York and has since concentrated on the medium of language. In the same year she began her first series called Truisms, printing one-liners in capitals on t-shirts and posters that she fly-posted throughout the city. Almost unnoticed, she attached her messages to telephone boxes, parking meters and house walls. The 40 to 60 sentences contained in each work were arranged alphabetically. They read like truisms or gawky statements about social conditions, politics, everyday life, violence and sexuality, and brought the reader up short, prompting him to reflect. The Anglo-American tradition of Speakers Corner, the specifically American narrative tradition, and superficial Reader’s digest-style opinion-forming were as much Holze’s model as the conceptual art of Lawrence Weiner or Joseph Kossuth. But first of all she did not feel she was an artist, seeing her creativity instead as part of agitprop tradition.

The way in which Holzer views her work and did not, for a long time at least, class herself as artist, rings true with my own approach my my creativity as something which was initially a personal development tool and second a means of communicating societal short-comings or faults to the greater populous. Agitation or provocation of thought were, are my main motivation.

Between 1979 and 1982, Holzer created her own series of posters. However unlike Truisms, the texts of Inflammatory Essays were no longer a series of successive statements, but pamphlets or aphorisms _ short structured texts consisting of just  a few sentences inspired by the writings of Hitler, Lenin, Mao and Trotsky as well as other political figures and philosophers.

In 1980, Holzer began a series of text panels made of bronze whose inscriptions were executed in large lettering. She put up the panels beside the brass plates of doctor’s surgeries or even gallery signs. This Living Series, up to 1982, was not much of a pursuit of ‘great political ideas’ but scattered everyday first person messages an instructions or advice aimed at an unspecified ‘you’. Thanks to the inconspicuousness of her medium, noticed casually en passant, combined with the violence of the worlds, Holzer momentarily caught the attention of the passers-by with her message. She was exploiting advertising methods in the urban environment both to counter sanitised phraseology and ut across her own message. At first, she made no use of artistic settings for this. Her real breakthrough came in 1982, when she presented her sentences to the public in the form of constantly changing messages on an LED display in New York’s Times Square. Borrowing from Truisms, one statement followed another, the best-remembered being “Protect me from what I want”

Her work is particularly pertinent when I consider my own as I find this kind of social engagement fascinating and much more intriguing than the more direct approach of attaining a community of interest based on specificity. I feel that people, despite their busy lives and rushed movements, notice things on the street and would respond to finding similar in the form of workshop for example. The kind of work I am engaged in now is similar in approach although I intend to run a workshop to begin the dialogue. The messages and communication that is sent out by advertising the workshop will speak to certain people and will be ignored by others, the poster is an extremely valuable way to initiate contact and speak to wide potential community.

Tag lines and phrases will prompt motivations and aspirations so that the viewer can decide to join or not on the basis of what is presented. 

Posters should be posted in unusual locations to emphasize a break with the everyday.

Barbara Kruger:

“Making art is about objectifying your experience of the world, transforming the flow of moments into something visual, or textual of musical. Art creates a kind of commentary”.

Why are we shown one picture and not another? runs one of the slogans that have made the American artist Barbara Kruger known since the early 1980’s. The provocative question addressed directly to the viewer indicates the subject area that Kruger treats in her text + image combinations. She looks at the way violence, power and sexuality are produced and rendered visible by mass media images in our society. Kruger’s position assumes a priori that our view of reality, ideas and normality, stable gender roles, and acceptance of everyday violence are constantly recreated and influenced by images and language. Her grainy black-and-white photos reproduce models which are in turn reproductions and mass distributed. They chiefly involve 1940s and 1950s photo albums, prospectuses and user instructions which spread conservative social clichés and stereotypes in an especially succinct fashion. We find the established tole models revived particularly in the Regan era, for example, there was not just a repressive discussion of AIDS but the achievements of the women’s movement, especially women’s right of disposal over her own body and their reproductive functions, were once more scrutinised. Kruger investigates the voices behind the pictures. Her appeals against the massive anti-abortion campaign of these years are an example of her role as activist, which takes the form of conspicuous slogans and critical questioning of the way females are depicted in images, such as the declaration Your body’s a Battleground, 1989.

That Kruger’s striking worlds in the public and institutional spaces, her billboards, wall installations, pictorial objects and even shopping bags borrow aesthetic strategies from advertising and can be explained by her profession development. She grew up in Newmark and, in 1964, began to study art at Syracuse University. From 1965, she attended courses at the Parsons School of Design, where her work was particularly influenced by the photographer Diane Arbus and the graphic designer and artist Marvin Israel, a former art director of Harpers Bazaar. Her studies completed she worked at an agency, then for the fashion periodical Mademoiselle. Kruger has been an active artist since 1969. When she moved into her loft in New York in 1970, he came into contact with the feminist group at local exhibitions. She was particularly impressed by the large textile wall piece by Magdalena Abbakanovicz, who incorporates explicitly “female” production methods in her artistic practice.

Kruger also began to write poetic texts, presenting them at poetry readings at, for example, the New York Artists Space, here she had her first solo show in 1974.

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“I shop therefore I am”.

“When I hear the word culture I get out my cheque book”.

Kruger also writes for Artforum.

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Reflection…..

The most obvious bridge between art and design is language. Word + Image combinations are accepted as both, art and design, as both artists and designers have employed this method. Therefore can we explore another method? I am very fond of maintaining a purely graphic form of communication but placing this within the context of fine art or the newly developed area of socially engaged art. Having developed graphic notation for example, is a purely graphic approach but placing this element of my practice into a workshop methodology creates a newer, more current dialogue?

– Not sure…everything has been done.

I do feel though that the text image stuff was at its best in the late 70’s and 80’s…..not that I think we have gotten over the cultural shock that was the period between 1930 and 1950 and that mass media material created during this era which spawned the language and interactions of the 21st century is obsolete but it has been done to death…..now is an age in which sloganist approaches are widely seen as stating the obvious as well as being a methodology which is  lacking in pro activity. It is no longer ok to just pass comment.

People are crying out to be engaged….or are they just following the trend?…feeding the machine that is the art/design world? How do we find an authentic experience and can we trust our instincts when we think we are experienceing one?

Ultimately experiences must be made real again, to create something with ones hands in the real world in real time as a group. Personally I feel such experiences ground us and make us more stable and perhas even better humans.

So the aim is to create such situations…leading with a graphic approach but focusing on collective creating.

It is possible to simply invent our own language to express certain, all too abstract visions and emotions. I have been bending language to poetic means in order to find a truer connection to the thing that is expressed and the thing that is felt or experienced. These considerations have at all times been purely linguistic, today they are acoustic.

This graphic notation is my latest work and research into the structures of expressed emotion, desire, need. This is my contribution to the notion of universal connectedness. The mandala and other archaic notions of awareness. This is an experiment to test the interpretive power of those willing to test it and the suggestive power of symbols. Graphic scores have a long and interesting history written by people like Harry Partch and John Cage who began the journey back to the origin of music in order to imagine for it a different destination.

I see graphic scores as as an attempt to develop a notation which more closely resembles the nuances of music and intricacies of human perception. It is a more open system and an egalitarian attempt at making the experience of sound creation both, more personal and  reflective as it requires the player to intuitively navigate a system of symbols and extrapolate meaning individual to him or her.

This score is the first of a series of increasingly intricate structures.

I look forward to getting feedback on this.

 

The flaneur, a peripatetic life…..Aristotolian, Harry Partch too and LeCorbusier to boot. Strands of thought are coming together and suddenly it seems we are all after the same thing. I feel weak at the face of it though. As though there has always been a weight and no end to the uncertainty brought about by most if not all endeavors. Pushing an idea, sharing thoughts, finding the route of least resistance and insisting on a space to be. This is all terrifying and I can only try to stand behind myself. True, real, honest, meaningful expression seems to be a struggle. Such resistance to bare my soul and exposing whatever it is that I find so shameful or secretive or terrible or inadequate, none of that really makes sense to the other part of me that is so eager and open to finding freeness in others. I was of the conviction that we grow stronger with age, it seems I am regressing bit by bit.

Was the pain LeCorbusier expressed when feeling miss-understood by his clients and the general public a purely ego driven construct or did he indeed have a vision few dared to seek out. There is a method for everything, whether you insist that architecture should be viewed while moving past it, slowly turning ones head to appreciate the interplay of light on the planes, or whether one must at times accept that the work flow and structures one calls one’s own are at odds with the general other. There are no answers, then of course there are answers but the final answer makes the question seem absurd. We are always at a cusp it seems, there are always excuses thus there are always things we leave undone. Refuse and resist comes to minds but takes the metaphor into the realm of evolution this time. Fear is a terrible thing.

 

Time moves so slowly.

Time, a meaningful construct immediately associated with the individual is it not? Time spent in different ways reaps different durational results. There seems nothing rational therefore about representing time in the  constant manner that we do. Time thought about in generational terms seems to continually repeating itself through constructs of actions and manifestations of humanness. What is it that we assume to know about time? Why is it valued as a tool of development and evolution…time heals, time tells, time creates distance between action and reaction in an effort to maintain an amicable state of interaction? Who is measuring the perfect amount of time in these intervals? And if the human instinctive genius is such that it can manage such intricate behaviors why do we trust it so little when it takes charge in other areas? There is a fire in our belly and we need to put it to good use.

Perhaps the answer lies with our close relatives the birds….Behaviour patterns regarded as instinctive range from simple reflexes to complex sequences of actions covering extended amounts of time. Occurrence can be spontaneous or selective in response to external stimuli. For example, the territorial defense behaviour of three-spined sticklebacks and of European robins can be triggered by simple patches of red, despite the fact that these animals have visual capacities comparable to that of humans. Maybe our instinctive perception of events is a little short of precise and in need of a regulator. Out of the jungle we are still after all this time unable to really adapt to the “new” environmental conditions and illusions. The race towards whatever has left us short circuited, dumb founded, applying instinctive constructs to hyper-functional scenarios which have long cut their ties with innateness.

Disjointed as the world seems most of the time, we may find solace in the way we view time, using it as a measure of individualness rather than universal truth.

  

Here is a picture of Edward Leedskalnin’s “device” which he used to move the gigantic coral stones from place to place in his coral castle. The Coral Castle (eighth wonder of the world), originally dubbed Rock Gate Park by Leedskalnin, is perhaps the most mysterious of all the world’s self built castles. After his heartbreak, Ed moved to the US and eventually to Florida where he began working on his home and great monument to lost love. Born in 1887 to a family of Latvian stone masons, the 5 foot 100 pound Ed used his inherited skills to move blocks of Oolitic Limestone (fossilized coral) over 25 feet tall and weighing over 30 tons. This makes some of the stones in the Coral castle taller than in Stonehenge and heavier than the heaviest stone in the great pyramid of Giza.

The castle contains many wonders including a sundial, a rocking stone, a 500 pound heart-shaped stone table (a “Valentine” for his lost love), and a 9 ton gate made to spin with just a light touch. Ed was secretive, working on the castle mostly at night, and keeping to a policy of letting no one see his working methods. This led to much speculation that Ledeskalnin used some magical or ancient power to move the giant stones. Perhaps what is more impressive than imagined powers is that this small Latvian man spent his entire life cutting and moving these massive stones as a monument to his lost “Sweet Sixteen.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqyH8ueCAsY&feature=player_embedded#!

The apparatus he used to move the coral used magnets to create an anti-gravity field. Ed knew the secret of magnetic currents. He often said that modern science doesn’t really know how magnetic currents work.

Each major human epoch gives rise to truths and more myth. The very foundations of our strongly held beliefs can and should be questioned and our chronic insistence on the very idea of firmly held belief should perhaps be abandoned. The planet as we know it seems still alien and perhaps even inferior when we consider some of the advanced civilizations that have gone before us. All too obsessed with the regulation and organization of everyday life, are we missing a trick by not simply focusing on the practicality of living? The process, the methodology, the accountability, all seem to feed the capitalist machine and forget to question the actual worth of our activities. There is an element of subjectivity involved in actual worth when we speak of monetary value but I think we can all say for certain that the instinctive value we place on human life (dignified life), preservation of the environment and development of meaningful human bonds is of universal significance and constance.

All too often we deny the development of the alternative in favor of not siding with the obscure, why is this the case? The herd instinct seem to override all sense in this instance in which we continue to participate in systems which counter humanness to preserve the conservative estimate of survival instead of giving the extraordinary opportunity of excellence a chance.

Have you seen the light today?

09:45 (am needless to say), it has been three and a half hours since daylight broke and the sun is gracing us with an outing not usual for this time of year.  All we can think to do is attempt to compete with its luminance.

Over-illumination is responsible for approximately two million barrels of oil per day in energy wasted. This is based upon U.S. consumption of equivalent of 50 million barrels per day (7,900,000 m3/d) of petroleum.(http://www.eia.gov/) It is further noted in the same U.S. Department of Energy source that over 30% of all energy is consumed by commercial, industrial and residential sectors. Energy audits of existing buildings demonstrate that the lighting component of residential, commercial and industrial uses consumes about 20–40% of those land uses, variable with region and land use. (Residential use lighting consumes only 10–30% of the energy bill while commercial buildings major use is lighting. Thus lighting energy accounts for about four or five million barrels of oil (equivalent) per day. Again energy audit data demonstrates that about 30–60% of energy consumed in lighting is unneeded or gratuitous.

Darkness is not our friend, strangers are lurking and possibly malicious, perhaps even feeling like murdering a few passers by….one cannot be too careful these days. Stay at home, lock the doors, keep the place well lit and ask others to do the same. Many such mantras have polluted our social structure for some time now, most likely there has always been someone to gain from fear mongering. What seems a little too bizarre  to me though is that we have now taken to lighting the daytime as well. It seems the people in charge of setting the timers are from different time zones. I am of course hoping that it is as innocent as that and not a spy tactic by fuel companies to hike up consumption/profit. Note I am also discounting that this phenomena is down to human stupidity as I, as a member of this race am not currently inclined to accept such utter lack of cognition in persons holding positions which require a certain degree of consciousness.

Perhaps we are all to blame. When was the last time I went to a town meeting or even knew when such meetings are held, do we still hold them? It seems the only voicing of public discontent occurs in the form of organized demonstrations or disorderly protests. Does anybody care about energy consumption on the ground? Does the general populous maintain an opinion on energy saving measures which are confined to the international scale, seeing it as a global rather than local problem?Or perhaps nobody else has noticed that the lights are frequently left on during the day. Maybe just maybe if I do not tell the authorities now, it will come back to me later when we are all forced to take lie detector tests during the inquest into social disengagement and why all the energy has disappeared and nobody knows where it went. I will know where it went and I did not warn them in due course.

How would I go about letting “them” know? The poor people at the County/City Council offices seem so ill at ease with the idea that their jobs are secure in an ever declining economy that they have been given raises and guaranteed their pensions but still one cannot get the information one requires. The main point of contact is now the internet, I guess we do not have to look at their bored faces anymore. Now we just have to ignore the dark spaces between the lines. Is contemporary bureaucracy so engineered that our only valid form of engagement is to file formal complaints via e-mail so that we can be tracked and identified as antagonists?

Yes, the Vagons in Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy spring to mind.

The world has, it seems always operated on the notion of opposites, the idea that there must be an  antagonist to keep things moving, developing, changing -(for the better; no doubt a human adage with no baring in reality whatsoever). There seems a definite resistance to change. Are things not then meant to improve? Is the left always going to be just short of the right and generation after generation nothing binds us but hopeless hope?

Many questions in this which I do not expect an answer for but, for goodness sake

TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS DURING THE DAY!