Friday, August 08, 2003

From: drew
Time: 2:55 PM
i am struggling to find any artist who really accomplishes this.....and if he or she does....i believe it is so personal that the effect is only internal and the viewer can only identify with it (i.e/ with pollock)....which is misinterpretted as 'feeling' those emotions and pains that it references because to really feel those details, one must actually execute the work. the final product is nothing more than a stain of the true experience. which is the concept of craft, meaning the creation of something so personal that it adorns part of the creator and personalizes how that person interacts with the world. i am not talking about embroidering a nice pattern around a hem line...but creating a musical instrument so intimate, that only you play it and it is buried with you, or a mask that will help you fly to the moon or to face death. even when this expression of craft is adornment it is really something much more....like the creation of a festive suit that will be used for courting a mate for the first time. the kind of artwork which we have discussed, maybe schiele for example, reminds me very much of kafka's quote about affectionate correspondence....that if you are writing love letters, something is wrong....something is missing. i feel that western art, in it's prime, was missing something. to revive the arts can only be done internally as an artist, as a creator of music and imagery...this is obvious if you look at places in the world, like the mountains of poland, where every villager was an artist of sorts, even during communism...what killed this lifestyle was television and markets full of cheap goods. western art lends itself to consumerism and materialism, it defines itself with a handful of artists who we should honor and depend on to express what we feel inside. michelangelo was a commissioned artist, frustrated with the labour of his work, there is nothing in him i find expressive of love and passion or transcendence.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

From: Michael
Time: 10:17 AM
The possibility of art to liberate us from this mundane existence cannot be given up on with such quickness, my dear friend. If anything, the it provides us with what the German philosopher Ernst Bloch called "anticipatory illumination." The idea here is that art can provide us with that utopian moment through which we can judge the present and seek to transcend it.

Now, for me, I think this is one of the two ways that art can operate. The first is through direct confrontation with the world. Schoenberg's dissonance, Beckett's deconstruction of theater, dialogue and character, or Celan's twisted syntax, to the point of breaking, all point to that attempt to show the effects of modernity on the listener or observer. Think of Beckmann's canvases or Lang's moving images, let alone Welles' imagery something like "The Trial." The other is escape through this utopian function: Titian, Bach, Ovid, Milton, Dante, so many others. All are conceptualizing through their art an ideal, a beauty mixed with pain and sometimes sordidness that reflects the heightened experience of human sensitivity. It is almost as if our senses had been "turned up" and the possibility of being full and complete is dangling in front of in their various and beautiful representations of perfection. What else is the concept of god, after all, but that ideal of unity and perfection? Of course, in the god concept--it is better to look at the Stoic conception of god rather than the truly crude and rather imperfect Hebrew god for this purpose--this is mixed with science, nature and ethics. Art is less ambitous, but all the more efficient in its functioning.

Anyway, I would argue that these are the two alternatives in front of us. I can see no other way that art can have any real use to us and our predicament.

Friday, July 25, 2003

From: drew
Time: 3:40 PM
unfortunately I think literature has no chance...any visit to a Barnes & Noble shows where the medium is devolving to and any good works have short lives. the general public wants literature to be easier to read/understand, more visual because reading is no longer a type of work to achieve an end...it is no longer an exercise. film has a chance in the sense that the more you watch the quicker you exhuast what is produced and the more you want something new. but you are right, the critical perspective is lost although with mini DV more people attempt to make films and to react to the industry. one trend which is interesting in DVD is the extra materials which include director commentary. there seems to be a greater desire from the public to understand how films are made and what the director was striving for...much like you mentioned this morning with Spike Lee's Jungle Fever.
From: Michael
Time: 10:14 AM
Ok, now that we were able to discuss this morning on the train our previous conversation about the connection between aesthetics and science, I wanted to turn to the function of art itself. As I was saying earlier, there is only one real important function of modern art: to be critical of what we see and experience around us, and that means this exhausted, superficial, bourgeois existence that surrounds us. It is really as simple as that. Science has liberatory aspects, without doubt, but the real issue is that science and technology are becoming more and more the tools of capital and, in this respect, the tools of the oppressive aspects of life that we both seem to despise.

Working in this terrible office environment among others and their quotidian, mundane and mediocre concerns and aspirations, is their any wonder why my frustration with the incapacity of modern art is so intense? I said before that literature--because it deals with the world conceptually--is the only real way out of this morass; but even their and in film, the critical perspective is lost.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

From: drew
Time: 3:32 PM
sorry...my wings are spread now...no holding back...blogging away here...naked thoughts for all to see. i think our meetings are very interesting because we propose to meet to discuss our differences/interpretations on the limits of aesthetics, i.e. but then when we do meet, face to face...we are like two old retired guys talking about how good the hummus it...this is the result of meeting face to face...after chatting electronically...especially because one's own mood can flavour an incoming message...just bare text all of a sudden is given a new tone...maybe a message is interpretted as hostile, then you meet a few minutes later and you see that was not the intention. speaking of hummus, i am afraid my intake is excessive....what was the story/play (german- i believe by Brecht) about the poor man who was consigned to eat only green peas for someone's experiment to see what would happen if one were to only eat green peas? ...not very Hippocratic, i might add.
From: Michael
Time: 3:02 PM
From Drew: (not Michael)

i ironed a bit last night (one of my calming/domestic pleasures and excuses to watch a movie) and saw most of Before Night Falls about the struggle of poets/the arts in Cuba at the time of the revolution. it had some interesting comments on art and regimes....very much in line with Goethe....or maybe the opposite...that art is the window...and it is the power of escapism that power has to destroy. getting back to our back-burner art/sci conversation...i think science provides this same sense of escapism...i guess the difference is that the proof of art is immediate but science requires logic....the escapism is a theory that you strive to prove to create a new world....but for the duration of theory it is fantasy. i have not read Sci. Amer. for years but looked at it for a second last night. there was a bit about the structure of the universe that was very interesting. it spoke about mass and energy being merely a byproduct of information. it is this kind of thinking that artists react to.

is the (hackenyed) example of DaVinci being the perfect union of art and sci only possible because at that time the concept of aesthetics was isolated to the arts?

From: Michael
Time: 2:55 PM
Got your message yesterday. Thanks for the lunch and of course I would be interested in doing this on a more consistent basis. I think next week sometime I will give a call and we can perhaps meet once again. I hope the train ride in has been more relaxing--since you are, it is assumed, more well-rested--and quicker. However, we are still being taken into the same daily hell, day in and out. I suppose that art is perhaps the one way out of this pathetic morass. I mean, our lives--I mean, the lives of those around us and those that we interact with at all levels--have become so quotidian, so mundane. The modern world is thoroughly disenchanted.

Do you know what Goethe said about poetry: Dichter sind gemalte Fensterscheiben! (poems are painted windows) and I think this applies to all the arts.

Whatever, more on all of this depressing stuff later.

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