Something black in the road, something that wasn’t a tree. Something big and black and ropy, just squatting there, waiting, with ropy arms squirming and reaching. . . It came crawling up the hillside. . . and it was the black thing of my dreams – that black, ropy, slime jelly tree-thing out of the woods. It crawled up and it flowed up on its hoofs and mouths and snaky arms.
Art is a lens through which the artist sees a world. The process of creating art is an experiment by which the artist constructs a viewing apparatus for other people to view a portion of a world visible to the artist. Just as there is a scientific method, there is (or should be) an artistic method.
- Define a question
- Gather information and resources (observe)
- Form an explanatory hypothesis
- Test the hypothesis by creating a work of art and collecting data in a reproducible manner (Create and show)
- Analyze the data (What did people see through your art?)
- Interpret the data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypotheses (Did you properly convey your vision?)
- Publish results (“My audience “gets” me!”)
Human consciousness has evolved along survival lines. Our senses exist primarily to warn us of imminent danger, and our brain is primarily wired to process this sensory input in a manner that prioritizes threats. Humor, beauty, sensuality, pleasure and even raw emotion are learned, imprinted on us after birth. They certainly do exist, but they are far outside the “natural” blank slate state we’re born with. They’re all matters of perception.
When we re-wire our brains, whether its through the introduction of entheogenic substances (drugs) or guided self examination (meditation), we radically alter the way in which perceive the universe around us. When we become bogged down in endlessly striving for that which is “real,” we’re simply trying to go back to that emotionless, survivalist form of our newly-born mind. We can’t go back. We can’t kill off our hunger for beauty, wonder and magic. When we force our minds to stop working in the threat assessment mode and similarly force it to rewire itself, we are perceiving reality in a new manner. Sounds may indeed have “tastes” in this new perception of reality because we’ve forced our brain to process the signals in a manner in which they are not traditionally routed.
Venetian Snares and Aphex Twin have already demonstrated this.
Art is context and intent. Art exists to evoke an emotion. If we can assume that the intent of the artist is to evoke a specific emotion in the viewer, a work of art can be considered effective if the evoked emotions roughly match with those intended by the artist. Even if the artist’s intent is simply to createsome thingthat only satisfies a deep, as yet unidentified urge within the artist, the work still has an intent, a context and set of emotional responses it is expected to invoke.
From this, we can indeed infer that art iseverywhere— and the act of creating a work of art does not necessarily require a skill set like those possessed by skilled laborers, outside of those skills necessary to achieve the vision of the creator. The primary job of the artist is not to know how to operate a bead-blasting machine or to finish a block of wood– but to assign meaning, purpose and life to aspects of our physical reality. Whether this is done by the skilled act of blending various objects together in a smooth, seamless, well-crafted object or by invoking an emotion in a large group of people, “art” is being created. Even if we took the post modern route– that is, attempting to create a work of art that lacks context, intent and emotion– we’d still have a work of art that had context (why it is being shown, why people are aware of it, the background of the artist), intent (the intent being to create a work of art without intent) and whatever emotional (or lack thereof) response on the part of the viewer. Indeed, in this scenario, the most effective way of creating art that has no context, intent or emotion would be to not create anything at all, and instead use the money to be spent on procuring materials on food, rent or taxes.
Art fails when its intent, context and desired emotional response are gone or forgotten; it is important to point out that “failed art” also possesses the potential for the reassignment of context, intent and emotion. Thus, the cycle of art continues on.
Now with broken shutter! And it happened at the worst time, too: right in the middle of a roll of very nicely composed landscape shots of anincrediblymoody and evil looking morning sky. It had a touchy film advance timing too, as most Yashicamat’s do, apparently– this one flubbed advancing from frames five through seven. Still, it made some astonishing and clear images in its time– and for two hundred dollars, it was a splendid way to start working with medium format film.
I think this may finally be the end of it, if I can’t find anyone to repair it. Now, the camera shopdidhave a pretty nice looking 4×5 view camera for only a thousand….
No! Fuck that! I’ll to save my pennies and get an 8×10 view camera! GO BIG OR GO HOME!
You may have noticed that I don’t have an equipment list anywhere on this page. This is not without good reason:
-The Yashica LM’s shutter broke.
-The Nikkormat’s film winder snapped off
-The Ricoh’s main lens threw all of its bearings and refuses to focus
-The Nikon’s SD card door snapped off and one of the rubber buttons on the outside of the external flash fell off
Despite this, the Nikon and its flash still work, the Nikkormat still works (rewinding the film is a little tedious) and the Ricoh’s body still works– but the only lens I have for it is an ungainly, baseball bat-sized telephoto. The Yashica is probably going to be junked, and I’ll probably keep the D40 around for a backup.
So, I’m going to bite the bullet and get a Canon EOS5D Mk2. I know, everyone keeps saying to wait until the Mk3 comes out, but there are two problems with this:
Newer models don’t necessarily make the older models go down in price
The Mk3 has been promised to come out for TWO BLOODY YEARS and it hasn’t. Everyone who’s waiting for a Mk3 can thank me, then– because I’m positive the very picosecond I press the “buy” button, Canon will announce the arrival of the Mk3.
Once I get the Mk2, though… I’m gonna need some folks to pose for me. Heh.
I tend to perceive noise music much in the same vein as abstract impressionist painting. Noise presents the listener with an imposing, seemingly impenetrable wall of chaos, but like any Jackson Pollack or Franz Kline, these pieces aren’t meant to be immediately consumed, digested and understood by a casual audience. Instead, they utilize the intimidating power of their cursory uniformity as a lens to discover intricacies within the piece.
Consider the use of samples in noise works much in the same way an artist would use magazine cut-outs or shredded photographs in their art. Also, consider what separates noise artists from people who make rote, unimaginative copies of pre-existing works in a vain attempt to score a quick buck or further a political cause.
You know, how every other nazi skinhead with an amp, a distortion pedal and a shitty tape recorder thinks they’re the next Masami Akita?
Wintertime wants you to think it has sucked all of the life out of the air. It wants you to think it’s a harsh, unlovable beast that only serves to thin the ranks of the sick and weak. Winter is depressed. Winter has to carry out the unpleasant, unenviable task of stopping life, stopping growth and placing everything into a forced dormancy where a certain percentage of hibernators will not reawaken. It strips the peeling paint from the creaking, tired walls of the forest and primes them to be refinished come spring.
The voice of the forest is silent. The chorus of agitated rustling has broken for a seasonal intermission. Now, naught but the pure, quiet song of the sky fills our waiting ears.