Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thoughts, Questions

I don't know a whole lot about art.  But, I can remember defining it in a course once, as "a creative act of representation". 
  • how does this conflict (or not) with the idea of 'found art'
  • is 'found art' really art
  • if so, then how does definition get reconciled...since 'found art' doesn't (on its face...) seem creative or representative
  • (can you represent a thing with itself?)
  • (where does the creativity come from?)
  • maybe a thing loses its original identity or function when it is given a new function as art?  as such, it represents its former self, sort of like animals in a zoo
  • which brings up....the frame.  maybe the creativity is found in how the thing is framed

Also, something the director of Pan's Labyrinth said in the director's commentary.... about symbols.  He said, symbols have to be ambiguous, because otherwise, they become ciphers, and the movie becomes a formula.  This sort of touches, I think, on how people with no experience with art approach it....
  • commonly, people seek the meaning, the answer, the artist's message
  • artists are asked, "what do you mean by this?"  and they respond cryptically, or not at all, or ....
  • is it art, if it has a deliverable message?
  • because if there is a direct answer to "what is the meaning of this painting?", well, there's not really any mystery left is there.  it becomes a cipher, or a puzzle to be solved...
  • ...or not even that, perhaps it's a portrait.  it could be admired for its technical skill or the fineness of the representation.... is there more to it?*
  • does art hate objectivity?  (note to this)
  • whatever you want in a work of art.  look for function, look for answers, look for questions, look for asthetics.  look for yourself. 

How is the constraint of so much work being done via keyboard and mouse changing human thinking as a whole?  Is there more cognitive freedom in a blank sheet of paper and a pen(cil)?  What if we had invented a different way to record knowledge, how would that have changed us?

I watched Volver tonight and liked it.  I liked the way Raimunda gets approached at the restaurant and rejects the guy, and how he graciously accepts this.  I struggle to picture this in American film.  I also really liked the scene of 4 women heaving a refrigerator (with a dead body inside) into a truck.

* Yes:
"There are two ways to think about this existence we have. One of them is that it's Wednesday and it's three fifteen and we're talking here in my home, and at four o'clock I have to leave for another meeting. Now, that's a reality. But there's another reality. We're in the solar system of a second-rate star, three quarters of the way out on a spiral arm of an average galaxy in a thing called the Local Group. And ours is only one of billions of galaxies, each of which has billions of stars. Some star systems are binary, and there could be a planet that revolves around a center of gravity between two binary stars. So you'd have two sunrises and two sunsets every day. One could be a red giant, the other a white dwarf; two different-sized, -shaped, and -colored suns in the sky. And there might be other planets and comets. In other words, fuck Wednesday, fuck three fifteen, fuck four o'clock, fuck the United States, fuck the earth. It's all temporal bullshit. I like thinking about being out there and not thinking about the corporate structure, not worrying about freedom, and not worrying about guns. I chose a life of ideas. That entertains me. That nourishes me."  - George Carlin


K said...

About found art - you completely disregarded the act of 'finding' it as a means of creative representation. When Duchamp took the urinal out of the men's room, he decontextualized it. By calling it art, he further decontextualized it. Isn't that enough to make it a representation? I mean, it's no longer serving its original function, so really, it's representing a urinal.

And also: YES! Wasn't 'Volver' woooonderful? I love that Almodovar keeps making the same film over and over - a lesser director could never get away with that.

Think Mps said...

I feel like I suggested that in my question and thought list. ie framing and new function as art and representing itself. But decontextualization is a new word for me and I will slowly digest it during the slow points of my family reunion weekend and see where it leads :-)

So, can art be functional (beyond its 'art' function)?

re: Almodovar...thank you! I was wondering if something like that was going on, haha. Any further recommendations?

K said...

Sure I think art can be functional beyond its function as art. Art doesn't serve just to challenge or rattle us, or make us see things in a different way, it can also serve for the sole purpose of giving us pleasure. And there are things that are functional (like, say, a cheese slicer or a pillowcase) that are also beautiful.

And Almodovar: I made you watch "All About my Mother," right? If not, watch that, I think you'd love it, but "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" is also pretty fantastic. "Jamon, Jamon" was one of his earlier films, and it has Penelope Cruz when she's like, 16. And I need to re-watch "Bad Education," because I saw it in Spain with no subtitles and I think I may have missed some crucial plot element.

On that note, since you loved "El Labertino del Fauno," you need to check out "El Espinazo del Diablo," or "The Devil's Backbone." Same director, and it's the creepiest movie I've ever seen.

Think Mps said...

do you have a good definition of art i can borrow?

i'm trying to think.... can art exist on its own/in a vaccuum? (h/t pullman?) or does it have to have its identity given to it in some way? created art is easy, it wasn't there before and now it is. it's art. unless it's lost, loses its frame. found art? is sort of recreated as art, yes?