When heart and the heart come together to spend one long night, not in bed though

February 15, 2008

I saw once a flash of hope that triggered an outflow of creative anthologies just waiting to organize through the meloncholy of distant thought in order to find some kind of order in an unordered discourse of angioplasty tPA. Common to the 4.18 joules that one should never just consume lies the 1st and 2nd laws of energirical output of a neruotransmition kind. One that causes the junctions and boutons to disperse aneurisms of an Ischemic nature. What we must look to do is dislocate the coronary trifugal elements and allocate all electrical output to the thrombosis inordial aortic valve of the upper semiautomatic neurological neuron. Despite the 5 watt recovery rate of a simple cardiac cycle at one second intervals, we cannot use strepokionace but rather should look to atrial ventriculation of an isovolumetric kind. Don’t be deceived by the difference in variance. The mechanical output of the SA node is by far electrical and chemical. We need sodium and chloride to help florinate the disjunction between the ganglia and the symphonic instruments. Fear the Diastasis and know that Windkessel will rapidly change the pressure of your dicrotic notch. I count four but hear 2 and only the E-wave can figure out the difference between Q, R, and T. S is dead. Go damn the A-wave, S is dead.

Aorta disorta and atrial ventricular malfunctions of the left sonic nodal centrifugal disfornication membrane.

Happy Valentine’s Day. and that is the creativity that lasted through the romantically festive environment of studying for a heart test on the day of hearts.

Good night and good luck,

Huysmans

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one of 17

February 14, 2008

This is one of seventeen posts published this second.


Maybe Partying Will Help

February 8, 2008

As the suspense of the U.S. presidential primaries continues on unbroken, I thought I’d just drop in to remind everyone that They are watching on in amusement as we vote on which of Their puppets They will string into the White House next.

Yes, I have been reading Pynchon. And no, I’m not serious, but the problem of co-opted resistance is one that has been bothering me lately. I am currently writing a thesis about the literature of the carnival, a time in which the norms and boundaries of society are temporarily removed in favor of universal hedonism, and I can’t decide what to think – is this really a form of transgression, or does it only reinforce the social norms that return once everyone goes back to work?

Mikhail Bakhtin, who wrote one of the classic studies of carnival (or at least of Rabelais, whose work was a large part of its culture in France), thinks that carnival cannot be co-opted. Laughter, he says, will always remain a free weapon in the hands of the people. But I can’t see how laugh tracks are in any way in the people’s hands. Theodore Adorno, to pick on a particularly sad curmudgeon, argues that television comedy makes light of social inequalities to distract from their seriousness, and to keep people from feeling outrage where they rightly should. Couldn’t the carnival be seen in the same way? As a way of quelling all the people’s rebellious and transgressive urges at once in, say, one week of utter revelry, so that the rest of the year they will be docile?

It has been. The debate has been swinging in that direction since the 90s or so. But it hasn’t exactly ended. The original arguments for carnival’s power got sort of abstract after Bakhtin – Julia Kristeva writes that carnival forms are different from modern forms like television because in their language they do not allow for binary distinctions, instead letting opposites coexist. There is truth to this – the forms of parody that occurred in medieval carnival were not unilaterally negative as modern forms often are, but instead tore down and elevated at once, like insults exchanged jokingly between friends – but the way that sort of argument goes is too structuralist for the present taste. Mine too, but I still tend to agree with the conclusion even if I don’t like the argument. True dissent is possible, or at least I’d like to think so so much that I’m going to think so regardless.

But even if it’s possible, it might not happen much anymore. Kristeva agrees with Adorno that the supposed boundary-breaking we see in modern forms of humor (like, say, Family Guy) is evidence of nothing but a “law anticipating its own transgression;” in such cases, the transgression comes from the same system that makes the laws. If we accept that there is one, unified “system,” then this is certainly true. There’s where Pynchon comes in. The whole basis of his novels is the belief that everything is controlled by the same, invisible Force – both the squares and the rebels, both the Allies and the Axis. If we accept this, there can be no real escape because all the means of escape that are open to you have been specially designed to lead you right back into Their clutches. Scary.

But Pynchon writes satire. As much as I think Pynchon’s novels reflect on his times, I don’t take all the elaborate paranoid systems he constructs as anything more than grotesque absurdities. He’s not advocating that sort of thought – he’s making fun of it. I imagine he’s a bit of a paranoid himself, but I’m sure he’s painfully aware that it’s a delusion. What he’s saying with all the paranoia has more to do with our unfulfilled need for structure than with the actual order of our society. It’s more about the lack of structure in our world than anything. Of course I don’t think there’s a Them.

Even so, dissent is often corralled into a fenced-off place by one institution or another, and that must weaken its power to some extent. The obvious example is those “free-speech zones,” but you can also think of television shows like South Park that break norms just to shock people – ultimately, this sort of comedy does nothing but underscore the norms that it breaks.

The solution, of course, is to avoid defining your new position in terms of the thing you’re trying to escape. This means that art must become ambivalent again. Art that leaves some of the thinking up to the reader can’t be filed away so easily as art that really, overtly attempts to tear things down – it’s better to let dissent flow than to crystallize it. And as for revelry, I’m all for it, but you shouldn’t just drink to forget.


An experiment in experimentation

February 7, 2008

What is this election?

can we see it from other points of view?

Let the revolution really begin here.


Politically art that drives me

February 6, 2008

Song & video by Will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas.
Inspired by Barack Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’ speech.

This inspires. I don’t mean to bring politics into my blog, well no, I do, but I bring this also as a work of art. Yes, you can call it propaganda and to many it probably is. But I believe it, I remember the speech, I’ll remember where I was when it was given (New York City) and I will look to it and this video when needing courage and hope in that better tomorrow for this country. I support Barack Obama!

Thank you Dipdive for giving this to the people.

YES WE CAN!

(I had to find it on youtube to be able to host it here. Does anyone know how to embed on wordpress from the original site, dipdive.com, so I don’t have to find it on youtube?)

Ps. what is of relative value to this blog is the artistic merit of such a video. Is this art? Is this just propaganda? Or better yet is it just an advertisement, and therefore should not even qualify to be art as its “purpose” is not artistic. But is that so true and furthermore who defines an “artistic” purpose. In looking at this (and I know it is very hard for me to separate my own political bias from it, so I do understand that that is in this next statement) I believe it is art. It is raw emotion, harnessed by the creators and yes it does support a politician but it also supports so much more. I see real heart in this and would argue that the emotional energy used to create and give this project to the world places it squarely in the realm of art, perhaps a subgenre of political art, but art none the less.

Happy Super Tuesday everyone!

Huysmans


Racine uses classics to teach in modernity

February 5, 2008

“The passions are portrayed merely in order to show the aberrations to which they give rise; and vice is painted throughout in colours which bring out its hideousness and hatefulness. That is really the objective which everyone working for the public should have in mind. And it is what the tragedians of early times aimed at above all else. Their theatre was a school in which virtue was taught not less well than in the schools of the philosophers. Hence it was that Aristotle was prepared to lay down rules for drama; and Socrates, the wisest of philosophers, did not disdain to lend a hand to the composition of Euripides’ tragedies. It would be greatly to be desired that modern writings were as sound and full of useful precepts as the works of these poets. This might perhaps provide a means of reconciling to tragedy a host of people famous for their piety and their doctrine who have recently condemned it and who would no doubt pass a more favourable judgement on it if writers were as keen to edify their spectators as to amuse them, thereby complying with the real purpose of tragedy.”

-Racine’s Preface to Phaedra (translated by John Cairncross, Penguin Group, London, 2004.)

As artists of the contemporary world, do you feel compelled to teach?


something introductory: Intermediality vs Multimedia

February 4, 2008

One hundred years ago the modernist tendency thrust itself upon western society through one keen shift in the way the act of creation was approached. Modernist artists discovered the uniqueness of the media in which they worked and exploited those differences in order to define their styles. With the trend of self-criticism, artist such as Pablo Picasso were able to approach three dimensional presentations through a lens that only a painting can recreate, cubism. Music saw composers like Igor Stravinsky who sought to redefine musical composition by experimenting with dissonance and narrative composition. Lastly in literature writers like Virginia Wolff and Franz Kafka used the narrative form of expression itself to aid their narrative styles of storytelling. From an observational point of view cubism and Kafka share very little, but when looking at how both Picasso and Kafka approached their work, they become similar in that they used what makes the medium unique. Medium specificity established the course of art for the twentieth century, paving the way for the convergence of media in the internet age of the twenty-first century.

The modernist course of art has evolved into the contemporary, postmodernist art world of today. Speaking generally, and utilizing postmodernist tendencies, the walls erected by modernism in exploring the specificity of media are being knocked down as the focus of exploration shifts from what is unique to what is shared. New works of art are exploring the relationship between media rather than the characteristics unique to each medium. Peter Greenaway’s The Pillow Book best emphasizes this new exploration. The film can be described as a visual representation of literature. The film uses literary tools to communicate while also transforming language into a visual art. The premise of the film revolves around a fledgling writer seeking to stake her claim in the publishing world. Frustrated by the rejection from her late father’s publisher, and lover, she seeks to use the publisher’s new lover in order to manipulate the publisher into publishing her work. She manipulates both the publisher and the lover by seducing the lover and using his body to transmit her text to the publisher. Thus the audience is given both a cinematic narrative between the three characters as well as secondary references to this literary narrative being created and distributed via a human body. The film uses, as its language of communication with the audience and with the characters, the written form in multiple languages. This form is presented visually, not aurally, and does not provide translation when presented in a foreign language. Ultimately the text in the film is not presented to be read by the audience but rather to be viewed. The characters, however, see the visual text as literature and seek to own it as quickly as possible. Were a text made cinematic it would not be interpreted for cinema like the multiple adaptations of classical literature currently popular in American cinematography, but rather it would be transformed into the cinematic image. Joy Sisley in an essay on the intermediality of The Pillow Book suggests “that as a radical mediation of writing The Pillow Book not only upsets a conventional separation of word and image as two separate entities and mutually exclusive media, but also figuratively closes the conceptual gap between word and image by reminding us that writing is a visual medium” (Literary Intermediality, 36).[1]  By closing the gap between word and image The Pillow Book skates the line between literature and film. Now it is very apparent as to which side of the line this “film” falls on, but nonetheless there are elements of the film that are more reflective of a literary narrative, such as the lack of any one character describing that which is written on numerous bodies throughout the film. The film’s inspiration is a real book written by Sei Shonagon at the end of the 10th century in imperial Japan. Shonagon’s pillow book was a journal of sorts where she kept detailed lists, comparisons, poetry and various other entries she felt a need to remember. The movie pays homage to this text through paying homage to the literary tradition. By emphasizing the visual aspects of literature, this film acknowledges the intermediality between the two forms of art. The essence of the book is preserved literally through the words on the body, while the film narrative seeks to create a relationship between text and image.

The late 20th century saw an increased focus in this intermediality with the rise of adaptations as well as new original works. It is very easy to brush off adaptations as unoriginal works of art reflective of a financially driven industry, but it is naïve to suggest that these reinterpreted narratives do not provide their own “original” elements. Take for example A Charlie Brown Christmas animated short, the first animated version of the famous Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. Today the film and its soundtrack, composed by Vince Guaraldi, are seen as synonymous with Charlie Brown himself. But the original Peanuts comic strip was only a comic with no musical accompaniment. Once the Peanuts characters were combined with Guaraldi’s music, a relationship formed that transformed the narrative for a new medium, television, giving it a whole new depth and perspective. This new version is not a stand alone television special however, its style of story telling is completely reflective of the comic strip character that originated the story, thus it is a hybrid animation created through the combined processes of comic narrative styles and animated. auditory elements. The idea of retelling a narrative through a new medium is not a new concept; artists have been visualizing mythical narratives for centuries. But the way in which these different medium interpretations are interacting is. For example when the NBC television drama, Heroes premiered in the fall of 2006 it was accompanied by an online graphic novel that was published once a week, with the airing of every new television episode. The comic described back stories to the characters featured in the series while foreshadowing events to come. The comic was not a retelling of the show but rather it added additional narratives to the ones featured on screen. While it helped to advance the narrative it also reflected the intermediality of the show itself, a cinematized comic strip. Though the show’s narrative was completely original, it was inspired by earlier comic strips such as Superman and X-Men. Thus in the late age of modernism or rather in the age of postmodernism, media are integrating to evolve the narratives they are telling; giving The Lord of the Rings trilogy a cinematic equivalent complete with theme music or showing the tragic hero behind the wicked witch of the west from The Wizard of Oz in Wicked.

On the other side of this push towards intermediality is the immersion of a new medium of artistic expression, the computer and more specifically the internet. Thus far the medium of the internet has been mostly used to present preexisting art to a wider audience. The medium specific art for such a tool is still be debated, the argument of the artistic merit of video games and websites has not come to a close just yet. But it is important to understand that too many who are exploring the artistic potential of blogs and the internet at large do believe to a certain extent that the creativity behind the creation of a webpage deserves the same kind of respect as the artists who use brushes and canvas to express themselves. What can be agreed upon is the artistic potential of such a tool. The internet, using the computer as its tool for communication, acts as a fully interactive virtual space where anything from a painting, song to even video clip can be transmitted. This versatility allows it to be extremely adaptable to our growing desire for intermediality. As mention above, the NBC television show, Heroes, used the internet to publish its graphic novel that accompanied the show’s weekly airing. This novel could have been put into print, in fact in its online form it used many of the signature characteristics of graphic novels in print, such as the thought bubbles and organizational structure, the latter of which does not aide an internet reader in following the narrative. Because they placed this graphic novel online there were able to present it in multiple forms: a printable version, an interactive version, and an animated version. Each version of the comic told the same story but used different attributes to tell it, attributes that before the internet would have been considered medium specific. The internet as it is being used in the year 2008 (this distinction is extremely important as the uses and design of the internet are very rapidly changing in its ever growing popularity) has defined the idea of multimedia. Therefore the concept of an internet based artwork utilizing multiple media to present the creative idea is neither unique to blogs nor does it originate from them. But as we will see blogs have served a crucial role in expanding the concept of the internet’s multimedia capabilities.


[1] Literary Intermediality, 36