Sunday, March 1, 2009

Reading Responses + Notes

1.) What does the everyday imply? Of course this question prompts me to think about my
own life and what the everyday implies. I tried to observe some things that I have done
everyday for my entire life. I could only come up with eat, sleep and brush my teeth.
The rest of my daily actions are completely arbitrary.   There are cultural standards that come to mind when thinking about the everyday.  Wake up, brush teeth, shower, eat breakfast, go to work/school, eat lunch, work some more, go home, make dinner, clean up, brush teeth, go to sleep.  This is a typical routine families try to instill in their children in our society.  I have to say that I remember as young as 3 years old being an insomniac.  I also have never been a breakfast eater.  So many other aspects of the "everyday" come to mind that I don't participate in.  I agree with the notion that history dictates what the everyday is but I think it's doubtful that you can define a group of people through the everyday.  

Johnstone, Stephen, ed., The Everyday, MIT Press 2008
Henri Lefebvre, “Clearing the Ground” pp.26 - 34
  • everyday life does not exist as a generality.
  • what do the words mean? Whatever is repeate on a organic functions correspond to your definition.
  • Everyday life in art? In Politics?
  • What the words critique of everyday life actually mean?
  • It is a question of discovering what must and can change and be transformed in People’s lives, in Timbuktu, in Paris, in New York or in Moscow. It is a question of stating critically how people live or how badly they live, or how they do not live at all
  • It is the task of the critique to demons trate what these possibilities and this lack of fulfillment are. 
  • Frequently, and not for the last time, we have taken rhythms and cyclic time scales to be one of the contents of the everyday, with all that they organize and command, even when they are broken and fragmented by linear time scales. This is something which supersedes the everyday’ in its strictest sense. 
  • do you think that art is external and superior to real life, and that what the artist creates is on a transcendental plane?
  • Politics and the state are above everyday life adn external to society?Critique of everyday life encompasses a critique of art by the everyday and a critique of the everyday by art. 
  • Everyday life is an aspect of history, an interesting one, maybe, but minor. To study in itself and for itself entails certain dangers. Like it or not, aren’t you falling back on the anecdotal, on something external to events an their deep seated reasons and causes? Agreed on one major point: History is a fundamental science. The human being is historical an its historicity is inherent to it: it produces and is produced, it creates its world and creates itself.
  • There can be no history without a critique of history itself
  • There is not only history, but culture too, and civilization
  • rift between private and public life
  • the middle ages were an age of real dualism; the modern world is the age of abstract dualism
  • it is true that at certain moments institutions, culture, ideologies and the most important results of history are forcefully brought into the everyday life over which they formerly towered; there they find themselves accused, judged and condemned: grouped together, people declare that these institutions, these ideas, these forms of state and culture, these ‘representations’ are no longer acceptable and no longer represent them. Then, united in groups, in classes, in peoples, men are no longer prepared to live as before, and are no longer able to do so. They reject whatever ‘represented’, maintained and chained them to their previous everyday life. 
  • The stirrings of revolution. At this point, the everyday and the historical come together and even coincide, but in the active and violently negative critique which history makes of the everyday.
  • It is at the heart of the everyday that projects become works of creativity
  • sociology of the dustbin
  • in everyday life and starting from everyday life that genuine creations are achieved, those creations which produce the human and which men produce as part of the process of becoming human: works of creativity
  • These superior activities are born from seeds contained in everyday practice
  • Even, and above all, when exceptional activities have created them, they have to turn back towards everyday life to verify and confirm the validity of that creation. 
  • If we are to know and judge, we must start with a precise criterion and a centre of reference: the everyday
  • It is existence and the ‘lived’, revealed as they are before speculative thought has transcribed them: what must be changed and what is the hardest of all to change.

2.) Pull my Daisy was an interesting film that reinforces the importance of the ordinary.  The film isn't entirely long but is a good depiction of a day in the life kind of scenario.  You are able to understand where the people in the film live, how they live and who they come in to contact with.  These are basic derivatives from most films.  Pull my Daisy hi lights the mundane.  The cinematography makes the ordinary seem extraordinary because of the fact it was important enough to be filmed.  Art had been considered exclusive before the late 50's and the contemporary artists were trying to accentuate the availability of art to the average person.  Pull My Daisy is just one of these examples to bring the average to the exclusive. 

Sally Barnes, “Equality Celebrates the Ordinary” pp. 113-119
  • The recuperation of the ordinary was crucial to the 1960’s ethos
  • By the 1960s, however, attention to the everyday had been democratized. It had become a symbol of egalitarianism, and it was the standard stuff of avant-garde artworks and performances. 
  • Tomkins credits the Duchamp boom with stimulating the use of banal subject matter by Pop artists.
  • The use of the ordinary in Joseph Cornell’s surrealist boxes and collages and his montage films was different from Beckett of Cage’s practice. Such use assumed a lyrical, symbolic bent. Rather than employing the familiar as a Cageian window through which to see more of life -as-it-is, Cornell’s framing and juxtaposition of mundane objects and actions released a sense of mystery, of imagination, of transcendent beauty - a surrealist technique that was influential on several members of the 1960s generation
  • Pull My Daisy reminds us again of that sense of reality and immediacy that is cinema’s first property.
  • The embrace of the ordinary was not a monolithic project. It encompassed various styles, programmes and projects - from an almost biblical, mystical injunction humbbly to love the world around one to an irreverent, transgressive embrace of schlock culture; from a lyrical appreciation of the small, simple and ephemeral things in life to a deliberate strategy of boredom; from a desire to expand perception to a refusal of Aristotelian catharsis, Additionally, the mundane itself migh t be defined differently according to each artist - from the untrained voice, the unpolished pace, and the sounds and sights of unsullied nature to the images and goods disseminated by radios, television, movies, advertising and other media of mass consumer culture
  • The activity of art-making had been opened wide by the artists’ assertion that anyone could make art. They were living proof. They were ordinary people, some of whom had gone to college for free on the GI BIll, some of whom had not gone to college at all. Many were from working - class families, and some were the children of immigrant parents.
  • These artists were ordinary people, and in turn, they made art that putatively anyone could understand.
  • In their very banality, these activities became charged with meaning for in examing them- activities which everyone engages in, but does differently - the simultaneous variety and unity of human life seemed evident. And this in itself seemed a form of equal representation
  • Arthur Danto argues that the point of these perplexing artworks, like the point of Duchamp’s Fountain, was not to engage the spectator’s aesthetic sense - to call attention to the sensuous values of the carton (or the urinal) - but to propose a theory about art. 
3.) There is a long list of what would appear to be pet names because of the use of the possessive "my."  I felt like this should be read aloud, so I did.  My cat wasn't very impressed but I enjoyed this first piece better saying it than just reading it.  The other journal entries felt contrived.  I didn't feel a genuine experience happening like you might had you been reading an actual journal.  It could possibly be the vehicle for the writing that made me feel this way.  After reading some academic writing I felt that this piece was amongst the same feeling of the other readings in the course packet.  
DeRoo's interpretation of Messager's works liken them to a feminist piece.  Once the location and time period were expanded upon, it was easier to "feel" the journal entries.  To realize that you are being patronized for your work, based on your gender is enough to make you scrutinize the way people talk to you in a condescending manner.  I definitely understood the Messager sample works with further explanation.  
Annette Messager, “Album” pp. 160 - 164
  • Poetry and Journal Entries
Rebecca DeRoo, “ Annette Messager’s Images of the Everday” pp. 164 - 170
  • Messager’s mechanical repetition of the tasks implied utter immersion in daily routine and clearly related to the strand of feminist thinking that denounced the ways the curriculum trained women into domestic roles. 
  • Messager’s work, in contrast not only enacted the rationalization of behaviour that Boltanski noted, but also showed how women’s training shaped their subjectivity. Messager represented the ways in which the behaviours taught in school were internalized at the level of the indicidual woman and despite the reality of class differences, became common to some degree
  • by selecting statements such as ‘I must take a shower each day’ or labels such as ‘my needlework’, Messager isolated the moments at which educational directives were absorbed and expressed in the behaviour of the individual. 
  • Messager collected mass-media representations of women and catalogued them by activities or emotional states - on the telephone, at the beach, fatique, sadness, fear, jealousy, happiness, and so forth. The series tears, for example, contains highly staged representations of women in distress: one woman holds her head in her hands, another leans her head on folded arms, and another covers her face. In the centre of the page, Messager drew herself in a similarly cliche pose - with her eyes closed, her head thrust back, and one hand held to her forehead. 
  • Yet her drawn activities appear exaggerated and highly unnatural, providing a parody of the stereotypes and rising above the media immersion, signalling a critical perspective that Lefebvre would have thought women could not attain.
4.) This piece resonates in my mind everyday when I walk to school.  Even after we, as a class, did a writing experiment using our streets.  I notice that none of my strolls down the street are ever the same, everything changes on the street from the weathering to the patrons.  I also can't help thinking about how Perec's street observances had changed over the years.  I have always considered myself a very observant person and after reading this piece I feel I have become even more so.   
Perec, Georges, Species of Space and Other Pieces, Penguine Books 1997
“The Street” pp. 46 - 56
  • Note down what you can see
  • Nothing strikes you. You don’t know how to see
  • Try to describe the street, what it’s made of , what it’s used for. The people in the street. The cars. What sort of cars” The buildings: note that they’re on the comfortable, well - heeled side. Distinguish residential from the official buildings.
  • Begin these descriptions over again each year.
5.) Commercial designers are artists in their own right.  However, they are creating for mass consumption.  I would like to use apple products as an example of items we may use in the "everyday" and are "customizable" to your individual personality.  Consumers are drawn to the individuality of a product and by making different color ipods and customizable computers, Apple is tapped into the need of the individual and can pigeon hole a certain demographic.  The iphone is something that is geared to the executive and the itouch is projected towards the student demographic.  I think this is what Martha Rosler is referring to when she talks about the different class of people and the art they are drawn to and through the individuality of the product people are finding or expressing their own individuality.

Rosler, Martha, Decoys and Disruptions, MIT Press 2004 “For an Art Against the Mythology of Everyday Life” pp3-8

  • and arrayed against us now aren’t just an escalating right - wing reaction against our demands for equality with men and deceitful attacks on our bodily self determination but also the marketing of new commodifications of our lives, resting on the language of liberation. 
  • Again the desire for self -determination is drowned in a shower of substitutions and repressions,
  • The rootedness in an I, the most seductive encoding of convincingness suggests an absolute inability to transcend the individual consciousness
  • A character who speaks in contradiction or who fails to manage the socially necessary sequence of behaviors can eloquently index the unresolvable social contradictions - starvation in the midst of plenty, fourmetism and form of imperialism, rampant inflation and impoverishment alongside bounding corporate profits - that underlie ideological confusion, and make them stand out clearly
  • people’s thoughts and interests can be related to their social positions
  • Using these forms provides an element of familiarity and also signals my interest in real - world concerns, as well as giving me the chance to take on those cultural forms, to interrogate them, so to speak, about their meaning within society. 
  • avoided the naturalism...locks narrative into an almost inevitably uncritical relation to culture
  • an emotional recognition coupled with a critical, intellectual understanding of the systematic meaning of the work its meaning in relation to common issues
  • Cultural products can never bring about substantive changes in society, yet they are indispensable to any movement that is working to bring about such changes. 

6.) Replacing the Author with the Artist in this piece makes the point a little more conceivable.  The Author does have a voice because their creation is words and words are technically language, hence "the voice."  However, the Artist does not necessarily need a voice because their creation is visual, not confined to any language, practically universal.  Besides cultural boundaries, an artist can express an image better visually rather than in literary terms.  In the case of visual arts, the artist is not especially pertinent unless the artwork is of political content.  If there are political connotations it is important to discern the position of the artist and the content of the art.  Take for example, a painting of a Man in a power position, the same painting could be viewed differently depending on the artist.  What does the image say when it is painted by a woman, a woman of color, a man, a man of color?  Only recently in the past 3 centuries has the Artist become important to the pieces.  Prior to that artwork was anonymous with the exception of the patron.  

Bishop, Claire, ed., participation, MIT Press 2006

Roland Barthes, “Death of the Author” pp. 41 - 45

  • a work’s meaning is not dependent on authorial intention but on the individual point of active reception
  • writting is the destruction of every voice, of every point of origin. Writing is that neutral, composite, oblique space where our subject slips away; the negative where all identity is lost, starting with the very identity of the body writing
  • The author is a modern figure, a product of our society in so far as, emerging from the Middle Ages with English empiricism, French rationalism and the personal faith of the Reformation, it discovered the prestige of the individual, of, as it is more nobly put, the human person
  • Criticism still consists for the most part in saying that Baudelaire’s work is the failure of Baudelaire the man, Van Gogh’s his madness, Tchaikovsky’s his vice. The explanation of a work is always sought in the man or woman who produced it, as if it were always in the end, through the more or less transparent allegory of the fiction, the voice of a single person the author confiding in us.
  • it is language which speaks, not the author; to write is, through a prerequisite impersonality (not at all to be confused with the castrating objectivity of the realist novelist), to reach that point where only language acts, ‘performs’, and not ‘me’.
  • Leaving aside literature itself, linguistics has recently provided the destruction of the Author with a valuable analytical tool by showing that the whole of the enunciation is an empty process, functioning perfectly without there being any need for it to be filled with the person of the interlocutors.
  • The Author, when believed in, is always conceived as the past of his own book: book and author stand automatically on a single line divided into a before and an after. The Author is thought to nourish the book, which is to say that he exists before it, thinks, suffers,lives for it, is in the same relation of antecedence to his work as a father to his child, the modern scriptor is born simultaneously with the text, is in no way equipped with a being preceding or exceeding the writing, is not the subject with the book as predicate; there is no other time than that of the enunciation and every text is eternally written here and now.
  • Similar to Bouvard and Pecuchet, those eternal copyist, at once sublime and comic and whose profound ridiculousness indicates precisely the truth, of writing, the writer can only imitate a gesture that is always anterior, never original.
  • Once the Author is removed the claim to decipher a text becomes quite futile. To give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing. Such a conception suits criticism very well, the latter then allotting itself the important task of discovering the Author beneath the work: when the Author has been found, the text is ‘explained’ - victory to the critic. Hence there is no surprise in the fact that, historically, the reign of the Author has also been that of the Critic, nor again in the fact that criticism is today undermined along with the Author.
  • No one, no person, say it: its source, its voice, is not the true place of the writing, which is reading. Another - very precise - example will help to make this clear: recent research has demonstrated the constructively ambiguous nature of Greek tragedy, its texts being woven from words with double meanings that each character understands unilaterally; there is, however, someone who understands each word in its duplicity and who, in addition, hears the very deafness of the characters speaking in front of him - this someone being precisely the reader
  • we are now beginning to let ourselves be fooled no longer by the arrogant antiphrastical recriminations of good society in favour of the very thing it sets aside, ignores, smothers or destroys; we know that to give writing its future, it is necessary to overthrow the myth: the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author
7.) Uck!  This was such an uncomfortable piece to read.  I couldn't help visualize the content of this apartment and even though the "junk" was organized and documented, it still felt dirty.  I kept thinking about houses I have visited and just wanted to start cleaning once I had entered the home.  It was interesting the way this person had documented every detail of their life but it seemed very wasteful, even though he was saving everything, the space, and time it took to do all of the documentation is wasted.  

Merewether, Charles, ed., The Archive, MIT Press 2006

Ilya Kabakov, “The Man Who Thew Nothing Away” pp. 32 - 37
  • Short descriptive story on documentation of the everyday life
8.) Certainly, photography is an art.  Especially with the addition of graphic art as a concentration of study.  Even before digital photography, photographers had found ways to enhance photographs while taking the picture and in the darkroom.  People are drawn to art they identify with.  Photographs are the most realistic of any medium when it comes to producing images.  The more realistic an artwork is, the more easily identifiable it becomes.  I think people are drawn to photographs because they can extract elements from their own lives from them, where they may not be able to with a painting.  This goes for cinematography too, even more so because the images are animated giving the image a more authentic aura.  

Walter Benjamin, “ A Short History of Photography” pp. 58 - 64

  • the pictures, if they last do so only as testimony to the art of the painter. With photography, however, we encounter something new and strange
  • fills you with an unruly desire to know what her name was, the woman who was alive there, who even now is still real and will never consent to be wholly absorbed in art
  • most precise technology can give its products a magical value, such as a painte picture can never again have for us
  • photography reveals in this material the physiognomic aspects of visual worlds which dwell in the smallest things, meaningful yet convert enough to find a hiding place in waking dreams, but which, enlarged and capable of formulation, make the difference between technology and magic visible as a thoroughly historical variable
  • we were abashed by the distinctness of these human images, and believed that the little tiny faces in the picture could see us, so powerfully was everyone affected by the unaccustomed clarity and the unaccustomed truth to nature of the first daguerrotypes.
  • drawing and colouring, for the painter, correspond to the violinist’s production of sound; the photographer, like the pianist, has the advantage of a mechanical device that is subject to restrictive laws, while the violinist is under no such restraint
  • he initiates the emancipation of object from aura
  • what is aura? a strange weave of space and time: the unique appearance or semblance of distance, no matter how close the object may be
  • Uniqueness and duration are as intimately conjoined in the latter as are transience and reproducibility in the former. The stripping bare of the object, the destruction of the aura, is the mark of a perception whose sense of the sameness of things has grown to the point where even the singular, the unique, is divested of its uniqueness - by means of its reproduction
  • It is indeed significant that the debate has raged most fiercely around the aesthetics of photography as art, where as the far less questionable social fact of art as photography was given scarcely a glace
  • mechanical reproduction is a technique of diminution that helps men to achieve a control over works of art without whose aid they could no longer be used.
9.) This article should be titled, How to Create Propaganda.  Every element about the practices of looking could be a step by step guide or check list to be able to create an image to portray a particular message.   It takes away from the Art for Art's sake theory.  This was a little creepy to think about the elements to use to manipulate a viewer's experience.  I suppose it is insightful but I don't really like to approach art in this way but rather to create and then reflect on what was made.  I suppose on a more positive note, this could be a check list for the viewer.  The representation, ideology, images and icons, etc. should be noted while looking at art.  
Sturken and Cartwright, Practices of Looking, Oxford 2001

Practices of Looking: Images, Power and Politics” pp. 10-43

  • Representation - refers to the use of language and images to create meaning about the world around us. We use words to understand, describe and define the world as we see it, and we also use images to do this
  • allusions and symbolism, as well as philosophical ideas
  • The myth of photographic truth - no matter what social role an image plays, the creation of an image through a camera lens always involves some degree of subjective choice through selection, framing, and personalization. It is true that some types of image recording seem to take place without human intervention
  • Images and ideology - when people think of ideologies, they often think in terms of propaganda - the crude process of using false representations to lure people into holding beliefs that may compromise their own interests. This understanding of ideology assumes that to act ideologically is to act out of ignorance
  • How we negotiate the meaning of images - the capacity of images to affect us as viewers and consumers is dependent on the larger cultural meanings they invoke and the social, political and cultural contexts in which they are viewed
  • The image and its meaning together form the sign
  • The value of images - images do not have value in and of themselves, they are awarded different kinds of value - monetary, social, and political - in particular social contexts
  • Image Icons - an icon is an image that refers to something outside of its individual components, something that has great symbolic meaning for many people, Icons are often perceived to represent universal concepts, emotions and meanings. Thus, an image produced in a specific culture, time, and place might be interpreted as having universal meaning and the capacity to evoke similar responses across all cultures and in all viewers
10.) Dada and Surrealism were happening at the same time Freud was developing his psycho-analytic theories.  The dream theories especially were portrayed in the contemporary artworks of that time.  Because they were reading Freud, they were analyzing themselves and the images shown through in the artworks.  Another psycho-analyst, Jung was studying around the same time with opposing dream theory.  Something interesting pertaining to this article is that it was found that Freudians dream in Freudian and Jungians dream in Jungian.  I believe that what your mind is ingesting has everything to do with how your mind processes thoughts and the way you interpret images.  
The gaze is also an interesting aspect of the spectator.  I am very aware of my presence around town because I can see most of the city from my house, so I know that no matter where I am downtown, someone can probably see me.  The gaze also goes back to how a person identifies with an image.  If the image represents themselves they will feel differently than if it does not.  
Spectatorship, Power and Knowledge” pp.72 - 107
  • role of the spectator of the image, and the ways that the gaze - of images, subjects and institutions - is a fundamental aspect of the practice of looking 
  • Spectatorship theory emphasizes the role of the psyche - particularly the unconscious, desire and fantasy - in the practice of looking.  
  • Spectator does not refer to a flesh and blood individual viewer or a member of a particular viewing audience, rather, when psychoanalytic theory talks of the spectator, it treats it as an ideal subject
  • allows us to see the ways in which images can be understood as a language with codes and conventions that can be subject to textual analysis.
  • beneath our conscious, daily social interaction there exists a dynamic, active realm of forces of desire that is inaccessible to our rational and logical selves.  The unconscious often motivates us in ways which we are unaware of, and according to psychoanalysis, is active in our dreams
  • The mirror phase provides infants with a sense of their existence as a separate body in relationship to another body, but it also provides a basis for anlienation
  • mirror phase is also about recognition and misrecognition
  • the viewer undergoes a temporary loss of ego as he or she identifies with the powerful position of apprehending the world on the screen, much as the infant apprehended the mirror image.
  • viewing circumstances are influenced by the psychic structures that inform our formation as gendered subjects.  This intervention in questions of desire and the image led to a focus on the gaze
  • the gaze is not the act of looking itself, but the viewing relationship characteristic of a particular set of social circumstances
  • used psychoanalysis to propose that the conventions of popular narrative cinema are structured by a patriarchal unconscious, positioning women represented in films as objects of a male gaze
  • the concept of the gaze is fundamentally about the relationship of pleasure and images
  • the idea of the camera as a mechanism for voyeurism has been often discussed, since, for instance, the position of viewers of cinema can be seen as voyeurisic - they sit in a darkened room , where they cannot be seen, in order to watch the film, the camera is used as a tool of voyeurism and sadism, disempowering those before its gaze
  • rear window is a quintessential example of the male gaze in relationship to female objects of visual pleasure
  • Jeffries gains power by looking but he is emasculated by his confined state, and must rely on the eyes and legs of a woman to gain access to knowledge
  • since the owner of a painting was understood to be male its spectator was also defined as such
  • the implication of a male gaze was often depicted quite literally in the history of painting with a woman whose body is turned toward the viewer, but whose head is turned to gaze into a mirror
  • alienation that results from the split between seeing the image as oneself and also as an ideal - as both the same and not the same as oneself.  This can also be understood as the split that results from being simultaneously the surveyor and the surveyed, in looking at oneself through the implied gaze of others
  • women can identify with the male position of mastery or exercise voyeuristic tendencies, and men can be looked upon with pleasure and desire
  • need to recognize that spectators are real people, and that audiences need to be studied to learn how they actually respond to film texts
  • they suggest that we find a critique of the gaze of dominant cinema in films produced by lesbian directors who appropriate images of women and re-stitch them together in films that function as analyses of representation of women and sexuality
  • contemporary visual culture involves not only a highly complex array of images and spectators but also of gazes
  • some may be voyeuristic, sadistic, assaultive, loving, passionate, policing, normalizing or inspecting
  • the spectator was always perceived to have more power than the object of the gaze
  • the idea of powerful or disempowering gaze is often the source of a joke or counter gaze
  • this woman's active stance and defiant words are resistant to the traditional power dynamic of the gaze
  • It is important to note the ways that images are not only factors in interpersonal power relationship, such as the relation between those who look and those who are gazed upon, but are also elements in the functioning of institutional power
  • it is only within a particular discourse that it is made a meaningful and intelligible construct.  discourses produce certain kinds of subjects and knowledge, and that we occupy to varying degrees the subject positions defined within a broad array of discourses
  • the versatility of the photographic image thus spawned a broad array of image making activities for the purpose of surveillance, regulation, and categorization.  Photographs thus often function to establish difference, through which that which is defined as other is posited as that which is not the norm or the primary subject
  • there are similar styles in images of criminals and medical patients throughout history
  • foucault argued that these institutional practices create knowledge of the body.  They force the body to emit signs, that is to signify its relation to social norms
  • this happens in the vast array of media images that produce homogeneous images for us of the perfect look, the perfect body, and the perfect pose
  • the panopticon is an architectural model, originally for a prison, that can be seen as a metaphor for the way in which power works.  In the panopticon model, a central guard tower looks out on a circular set of prison cells, with the activities of each cell in full view of the tower
  • images operate within the binary oppositions of civilization/nature, white/other, and male/female, establishing the women in them as exotic, different, and other to both the painter and the viewer
  • the subjects of the photographs are not named as individuals, rather they are identified as a particular category of people, established as other.  They cannot speak in this context, nor do they have any control over the way in which they are represented
  • the photograph is a central tool in establishing difference
  • all binary oppositions are encoded with values and concepts of power, superiority and worth
  • by examining the power that underlies these exchanges of looks, we can better understand the ways they affect cultural norms about gender, race, sexuality, and ethnicity, and the ways they may impact our lives
11.) I have heard in many art classes, when you are walking along a picket fence and one of the posts are broken, your mind will automatically complete the post because it had processed the image of a complete post and will conclude a repetitive image before it can process a new image.  This is also like a suspenseful story, our brain can conceive the danger to come and prepares us for the conclusion before it happens.  This is why when we see a series of pictures we can conclude a sequence of events and a conclusion.  Our mind wants to predict. 

McQuilln, Martin, ed., The Narrative Reader, Routledge 2000

John Berger, “Stories” pp.170 - 174
  • the reportage photo-story.  these certainly narrate but they narrate descriptively from the outsider's point of view
  • in reports ambiguities are unacceptable; in stories they are inevitable
  • that the most complete pictures are formed in our minds of the things that have been conveyed to them and imprinted on them by the senses, but that the keenest of all our senses is the sense of sight, and that consequently perceptions received by the ears or by reflections can be most easily retained if they are also conveyed to our minds by the mediation of the eyes
  • the muse of photography is not one of Memory's daughters, but Memory herself
  • one may tend to overestimate the role of suspense, the waiting for the end, in story telling
  • you were in the story. you were in the words of the story teller, you were no longer your single self; you were, thanks to the story, everyone it concerned
  • the essential relation between teller, listener and protagonist may still be possible with an arrangement of photographs
  • the teller becomes less present, less insistent, for he no longer employs words of his own; he speaks only through quotations, through his choice and placing of the photographs
  • every kind of narrative situates its reflecting subject differently
  • a montage of attractions, by this he meant that what precedes the film cut should attract what follows in, and vice versa
  • the sequence has become a field of coexistence like the field of memory
  • the world they reveal, frozen, becomes tractable.  The information they contain becomes permeated by feeling.  Appearances become the language of a lived life.
12.) Beauty is not dead.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a bit cliche', I know.  However, it is true of the human experience.  Every person has a unique cultural experience, this is based on location, sequence of events, and types of relationships a person values.  Beauty is picked apart by critics because that's their job.  The critic is in the position to dissect an artwork to rationalize the experience or relationship between the artwork and the viewer.  
Beauty and attraction are synonymous in the emotions they evoke from a viewer.  If an object is attractive it is beautiful and the reverse is true as well.  There is no beauty formula per se, however there is an ability in most human beings to discern what their taste in beauty is.  

Alexander Alberro “Beauty Knows No Pain” Art Journal, Summer

  • whatever happened to beauty? Why and how has it been disparaged?  Who denigrated it? and why do so many art critics and historians no longer consider the judgment of beauty to be a valid exercise?
  • the idea of the beautiful has been suppressed either by the incursion of the sublime or the dimension of the political
  • beauty was indeed problematized in the early twentieth century by the avantgarde in its various attempts to reveal the production and reception of art as based on historical conditions
  • in the presence of the formal order, proportion and harmony of the beautiful the human subject experiences a pleasurable sense of alignment between the faculties of the mind and the mind's experience of reality, whereas before the turmoil of the sublime -- which exceeds sense, measure and order--the subject is powerfully made aware of its own limitations
  • hailed the sublime, including its tendencies to buttress various aesthetics of power, in order to reduce the characteristics or features of the beautiful to a diminutive status
  • the beautiful with the feminine and the sublime with the masculine, read and reevaluate their historical competition through the lenses of historical feminism
  • perfect symmetry in art not only produces shared aesthetic experience, but also effects a shared sense of ethical fairness, truth and justice.
  • hypostatize the beautiful as the sole, undisputed and universal bearer of a better society
  • beautiful art sells
  • beauty's impressive sales record over time testifies to the universal pleasure that it offers and vindicates its continued viability
  • placed within and displaced by a framework of the familiar, domesticating its unique features and denying its radical difference from what was previously known
  • in the aesthetic and only in the aesthetic - that humans are seen to be able to come together in keeping with one another

13.) I spoke recently to a curator at a local college and asked her how she holds a group show successfully and incorporate the different artists into one show.  She told me that she seeks out the artist first and has a loose concept at first, nature, film, drawings, etc.  and once the work is decided upon then comes up with a name for the show.  She also said that she had been in the same position for the past 30 years and can name a show by intuition.   The curator is an artist, there is an authorship to putting a show together.  There is a time and place for the curator to be acknowledged in the show itself, this happens when the show is highly conceptual or takes place over an extended period of time and the effort should be noted.  Curators are also trained artists, they went to school to study aesthetics and also, some have studio experience.  There is no way to say whether or not the art is overshadowed by the curator's vision.  Only a mention from a critic or viewer would be able to convey that experience.  

The Role of the Curator Handouts

JJ Charlesworth, “Curating Doubt” Art Monthly no294 1-4 MR 2006

  • we are becoming so self-reflective that exhibitions often end up as nothing more or less than art exhibitions curated by curators curating curators, curating artists, curating artworks, curating exhibitions.
  • when is the moment curatorial position expands into the broader field and when is the moment that the artistic one expands and vice versa, that is, where do they compress?
  • growing acceptance of socially-engaged art, in both its state-sponsored and politicaly oppositional guises, and what emerges in a picture of a wide section of artistic practice whose terms of legitimacy rely on a critical opposition to orthodox formulations of gallery-bound, commercialized and institutionalized forms of artistic production and presentation.
  • It’s not a question of being against the institution: We are the institution. It is a question of what kind of institution we are, what kind of values we institutionalize what forms of practice we reward, and what kinds of rewards we aspire to
  • The argument regarding curating as art, or the ubercurator as author, stems from the lack of definition regarding the limits of curating. The reverse of this, the artist as curator, similarly emerges from the collapse of any useful distinction between the work of artists and the work of curators
  • preoccupation with the authorial aspect of curating might in this sense be ... independent curator should be the main source of expression of an individuated and personalized form of curating
  • curating, however much it choses to think critically about the institutional norms of art work and exhibition, nevertheless still has to function practically, institutionally and bureaucratically, eventually making choices about what should and should not be shown, what is and is no t worth the public’s attention. In short, value judgements articulated through the continued power of the institution
  • cultural freedom and artistic value is necessary
14.) The role of the curator is an essential fixture to a gallery or institution.  It is an effective way to see to art being displayed properly in a space.  The curator could be replaced by an artist's assistant or the artist themselves, however if he or she is not familiar with the location they are installing their work in, it could be an arduous process.  There are many problems that can be solved by the collaboration of the artist and curator.  Where and how the artwork is installed is pertinent to the artist's vision and it is the role of the curator to apply the vision to the space they are responsible for.  

Michelle Kasprzak, “For What and For Whom?” October 4, 2008
  • a singular act of temporary deputisation as a curator
  • activity is a crowd-generated model
  • why select, edit and group things together? Collections and curated exhibitions are about creating links, developing narratives, and composing responses to perennial questions and ideas
  • The larger role of the curator encompasses the creation of links to other creative dialogues, writing and contextualising work, developing the physical exhibition sequencing and flow, and perhaps most important of all, nurturing a relationship with the practitioners who make the work and understanding the narrative inherent in the career trajectory
  • building larger cultural narratives, and developing clear intentions towards an audience are functions too important to ignore
  • only a certain group of people to have their work seen
  • institution characterises the crowd mode of curating as allowing people to act less as curators and more as participants
  • exhibition might undermine the educational aspect of a museum’s mandate
  • a new form of art curating. the pace is faster, you don’t need a physical gallery or museum, and you don’t need to worry about crossing arbitrary boundaries of style or media
  • identify and clarify what the purpose of singular or collaborative methods of filtering are, and refine how to make these methods more useful and meaningful to the participants
15.) I really liked this article.  There was something very genuine about the ideas Harrell Fletcher has to approach the pieces he created.  I fully agree with the idea of small talk being a deadening experience.  I personally have a cue when the conversation turns to the topic of the weather, either the conversation has come to an end or it's time to change the subject.  I also have no problem talking to random people about whatever is on my mind at the time.  I feel I am being sincere and have made some really great friends from randomly sparked conversations.  I grew up all over the world and was constantly moving.  This is a really good method to meet people when you are unfamiliar with your environment and the people within it. 

Harrell Fletcher “Towards a tender society of thoughtful questions and answers” 2002
  • sincerely be interested in fact nothing else will work
  • small talk had always made me feel dead inside
  • sometimes this was perceived as invasive, but I tried to be very sensitive
  • Try asking these people what they really care about. Show them that you are truly interested
16.) Sloppy craft seems like an oxymoron.  Craft implies a way of finishing a project/product.  The idea of being intrigued and not appalled by sloppy craft seems like one of those fluke incidences, like outsider art.   The idea of something different is more appealing than more of the same.  
The emphasis on community and gratification implies that craft can be theraputic.  The finished product isn't as important as the process and the involvement in a group.  
Glenn Adamson "When Craft Gets Sloppy" Crafts (London, England) no 211 36- 41 Mr/Ap 2008
  • intrigued not appalled
  • student's sloppy craft
  • the concept is the goal
  • calculated sloppiness
  • domestic hysteria at play
  • unprotected those moments are in the history of art-through-craft
  • sloppy sculpture that is billed as conversational, provisional, and un-heroic
  • necessary for a contemporary artist to be amateurish
  • ignore how things look, and what they are supposedly about and instead focus on how they are made.
  • proliferation of the sloppy isn't about concept at all
  • response to the economics of art making
  • we most want out of our craft is something like perfection
  • value craft's irregularity - its human, indeed humane, character
  • craft to stand in opposition to the slick and soulless products of systematised industrial production
  • matter of form
  • emphasis on community and gratification often results in a casual attitude to technique
17.) To me, craft is functional if it isn't functional it's art.   There is such a thing as being artfully crafted.  An example might be highly designed furniture, a piece that may not look like a chair but is a fully functioning seat and is intended as such.  So if you can artfully craft, can you Create art in a craft like medium? I think this is also relevant.  Tapestries, glass sculptures and wood block prints are all examples of craft applied to art.  
On the issue of labor, I think that craft is also established by the work or the craftsmanship.  Every craft has evidence of the creator but not all art carries the hand of its creator.  This in no way sullies the integrity of either practice but may enhance the integrity of craft.  The integrity is enhanced by the emotional attraction for the appreciation of the labor behind the art.  

Investing in the Object, Artist Malia Jensen Talks on Art V. Craft
  • What is art? What is Craft? Is one better than the other?
  • craft tradition is based in work that's functional, maybe socially driven or economically driven
  • issue involves a historical prejudice that values the labor of ideas over the labor of handcraftsmanship
  • to say the labor is the meaning, that makes it almost seem conceptual
  • the amount of work, there is a punishing aspect to that.  It's a commentary on labor in a very self-conscious, stylistic way.
  • woodworking and glass blowing and weaving on some level came out of an anticosumerist impulse itself
  • anti-academic effort that came out of an intellectual position, it was a political position
  • it's the establishment of a tradition
  • conceptual but not inaccessible, it's intuitive. 


  1. 人自幼就應該通過完美的教育,去建立一種好的習慣。 ..................................................

  2. 你可以從外表的美來評論一朵花或一隻蝴蝶,但你不能這樣來評論一個人........................................

  3. 要像鐵鎚和釘子一樣,永遠向著定點努力。..................................................

  4. 格主的部落格內容真豐富~~看得很開心..................................................

  5. 美麗的事物是永恆的快樂,它的可愛日有增加,不會消逝而去........................................

  6. 失去金錢的人,失去很多;失去朋友的人,失去更多;失去信心的人,失去所有。..................................................................

  7. 生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。.................................................................

  8. 知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。......................................................................

  9. 人有兩眼一舌,是為了觀察倍於說話的緣故。............................................................

  10. 人有兩眼一舌,是為了觀察倍於說話的緣故。............................................................

  11. 卡爾.桑得柏:「除非先有夢,否則一切皆不成。」共勉!..................................................................

  12. 耐心是一株很苦的植物,但果實卻很甜美。..................................................

  13. 人應該做自己認為對的事,而不是一味跟著群眾的建議走。..................................................

  14. 生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。..................................................

  15. 在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」..................................................

  16. 在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」............................................................