On the power of imagination

February 18, 2008

After a long day at the library, something I am looking forward not to saying in the near future, I have come to realize or rather remember as it is something I have realized many times in my short life that there is a growing list of artistic expressions (I use as general a term as possible to emphasize the idea that there is no medium in particular by which this idea is communicated) that when interacted with (this list pertains only to me but I believe each of us has our own list) creates such a euphoric response like nothing else. Now what exactly do I mean by this, well I’ll tell yo through an anecdotal example.

As I mentioned before I spent today in the library reading some French and writing about Native Americans, interesting stuff I’ll admit but still there were many other places I would have rather been. Regardless this story is not about those other places.  I had my Ipod with me and was listening to an album, one specific album or rather soundtrack in particular. The soundtrack to Hook. A film that embodies both the early 90s and my childhood for me. And this happy thought as Williams would say in the movie did come from just that. The simple melody that played through my magnetically enhanced earphones blinded my vision from the dreary scene that was the library on a Sunday afternoon to that of home (New York) and toys, and a sense of imagination that one tries desperately to hold onto in life but only knows so purely as a child.

I was there again in that movie, believing in fairies and trying to fly. And though I have no specific memory with Hook (I don’t even remember seeing it in theaters though I am sure that I did) it brought a smile to my face. It made me happy. I didn’t need to explain it or understand it, it just made me smile and ultimately dance a little, perhaps throw a crow in there, I mean who really knows. The point is this. That list that holds that power should both never be written down or forgotten. Its active existence in our memories is what gives it its power.

I paused in the middle of writing this post to sit down and watch the movie. I smiled again.

Huysmans

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Mr. Magorium’s Imagination

November 20, 2007

I have a couple of extremely developed and elaborate comments to respond to and I promise to get to them soon, I have been busy with the whole finishing assignments before going home for Thanksgiving break but I couldn’t resist comment on a recent film I saw before leaving.

 

Last night I saw Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. A children’s film by all accounts and wonderful in that respect. But I am not bringing it up here for its childish qualities, I am bringing it into this discussion because despite those that see this as “low art” or “light art” or just “entertainment” or even those closer to myself who may be inclined to call this film “art” I was influenced by it and was capable from it to engage in a thoughtful discussion on imagination.

 

I love imagination and I love honoring it and playing with it. I am one of those who believe no one is ever too old to play pretend, and because of that I was really moved by the subtle dialogue and that not so subtle sentiments of this film, perhaps we as a society are too serious; we need to play pretend more.

Free Imagination!


Is Disney art?

November 16, 2007

Tonight I had the pleasure of hearing Neal Gabler talk about the life and times of Walt Disney and his animation career. Gabler has recently published a biography on Disney, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination. During his talk he described the artistic pursuits of Mr. Disney, how it was never about the money for him but about the goal of realism. This, he claims, explains why Walt was always on the verge of bankruptcy, if not there completely. It is truly an inspiring story about one man’s pursuit for the ultimate achievement in animation, to make it real.

But I am not writing about my childhood hero to talk about is inspiring nature. I am brining him up to talk about his artistic attributes. Does Walt’s creations stand as art? It can be very easy to say yes, but also very easy to say no. Yes, they represent artistic achievement in that their goal is for the creation of art, that object that has no other primary function but to interact with us on a purely aesthetic level. But also they are challenging in that they push the medium, that of a hybrid between film and painting/drawing, to its limits, to the fringes of its capabilities where it becomes truly a hybrid with film and later, speaking of today’s animation, a hybrid with technology itself.

But it also is not art in that its goal was not to challenge society. He wanted those same renaissance creations, just with the addition of movement. What he was doing was not expanding the ideas of aesthetics but rather limiting them to that which is expected, that which we see in a linear fashion. And it wasn’t for a long time before animation was freed from its linearly established reflection of reality.

But I don’t think I agree with this either. I would like now to connect to an older post of mine, First step towards... Here I described art not as an object but as an interaction. With this much freer definition I believe one like myself can easily call the experience I had with the Disney cartoons and theme parks as artistic. So with that being said I open it up to further comments and criticism. But for myself Disney remains an inspiration of mine and an artist/imagineer/entrepreneur I aspire to be.

Huysmans


First step towards understanding the end

November 13, 2007

Well now that I have a blog I may as well start a journal log of this rather confusing and complicated experience that is my last year in college. It’s a warm feeling, knowing that one has a place to share thoughts in such a manner as to receive feedback which can take the form of advice, support, concern, etc. What I would like to say on the eve of what promises to be a hell of a busy week is that I feel no fear what so ever in accomplishing that which I have set out to do. I know that I can achieve my goals.

But that is not all there is to it. Finding that balance between work and play, knowing when to take a break and when to buckle down and focus are hard. I don’t understand those concepts now in my 16th year of education. But I do know the journey, the struggle that is education that makes it all worth it in my mind. To be able to freely work on such an endeavor as to map out where blogs fit into our society is giving me such a purpose and a framework for this last year.

I didn’t start this post to talk about school yet it is very influential on my thoughts. I started this post to discuss the ramblings of me, because I can and want to. I want the internet world to know that I am extremely excited for the release of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. Why might you ask, or maybe not if the answer seems obvious, is that I love imagination, childhood, and toys. God how I miss those childhood days of FAO Schwarts and G.I.Joe toys. Though for the record I am well aware of the sexism and male stereotyping that took place in that cartoon show, the toys were just simply awesome. Anyway I believe in the Neverland in all of us, that eternal child that will never cease giving us unimaginable pleasures through our imaginations. That is why I focus my academic attentions on art. For art represents the expression of that imagination, because in the end that is the best way to describe art. It is not an object, person, place, or thing. It is NOT a genre, movement, manifesto, or museum. What art is, what art can only be is an interaction, something that exists not in one part of that relationship between interacted and interactor, but rather it is that relationship. See Duchamp I found a place for Fountain, which keeps the Mona Lisa and the Olympia in place.

But I do know what lies hidden in this definition of art, the transitory nature of an interaction, the nature that an interaction can and probably will end. Thus am I suggesting then that the Mona Lisa, the most revered and commercialized piece of art in history can become a non-art object? The answer is YES. But I doubt that that will ever happen. However perhaps it already has, because who is to say that what people are going to see is not it but the ownership of that statement “I saw it” well defenders of the traditional and high art, is that interaction, that voyage and documentation, those pictures and post-cards they brought back with them, is all that art?

But wait again I am misguided, because those same traditionalists would say that no, it isn’t, but the piece remains as art because its existence as art is unaltered by how our interaction with it evolves. Here is where a disagreement develops that probably has no resolution, but I will stick by my definition of art because I do believe that the Mona Lisa is beginning to decrease in artistic value and that one day it will cease being a work of art. But then again, maybe not.