Monday, April 25, 2011

Tarkovsky and Nietzsche - Robbie's Article

The first bit was a clip featuring Andrei Tarkovsky as he speaks about art. He talks about how art cannot exists without strife. In a perfect world, artists would not feel compelled to make work. Art would be useless in a perfect world because man would live in an ideal world without having to put the effort into creating it. Also, he discusses that a man must make his own experience; he cannot inherit his experience from another. The excerpts of Nietzsche's philosophies included where those of The madman and The meaning of our cheerfulness. The former excerpt tells of a madman who lights a lanturn in the bright morning hours and cries out for God. When spectators {supposedly though who don't believe in him} start to laugh, the man attacks one of them and pierces them with his eyes, claiming that man has killed God. How does one do it, he questions, and how does one wash their hands of it and recover? He leaves them all in astonishment as he walks away, speculating that churches are now but tombs of God. The later excerpt speaks of the idea of 'God's death' and how it came to pass, after many years of changes wrought from destruction and ruin, and how its distance from the now--far removed and relying heavily on faith alone--is starting to become its own weakness. Nietzsche sees this as an encouraging event for philosophers, as he claims it is only natural that human beings bring everything to question and this 'death of God' allows them a freedom to venture out again into other possibilities. 

I don't believe there ever could be a perfect world in our current state of mind. Humans are problematic. I know it's just a movie, but in The Matrix, Mr. Smith discusses the prototype of the Matrix to Morpheus, telling him of how they first attempted to create a utopia for humanity to keep them complacent, but it was a disaster. No one in the system could agree with it--no one could accept it as reality and outright rejected it. It needed strife to be believable. It needed pain and suffering and misery to be life. I simply can't believe that any one of us could even believe in a perfect world. It'd be the biggest cop-out heaven could ever be. I once heard someone say that she hoped heaven wasn't all white like it was in the movies. Unless our minds were manipulated into adapting to it, then it simply can't be perfect, and that would end up bringing into question whether or not we actually can ever exist in a pristine world as human beings and not as robots or zombies. Still...if we were as happy as we could ever get, we'd still make art. There is always strife. Always. As for the part on experiences, I totally agree. Our own experiences must be made. Yet...what about false experience? What about detached experience? Have you ever heard of the way modern warfare is now being fought with computers and drones? Not completely--it's still in its toddler stages, but there were actually records of the operators of these drones having PTSD, and they're hundreds of miles away from the actual site. I simply find that to be pretty sick. 

As for the excerpts, I'm not sure what to say. They were interesting and all, but I'm seriously drawing blanks.

1. Not really. I mean, the video talks about how art cannot be made without strife and the importance of getting your own experience, but the readings are talking about a madman who claims man killed God and how a dead God allows people to be more free to philosophize. It's kind of a long shot, but I suppose the idea that destruction and corruption breeds ideas could be a common link between the both of them. Oh. And the Christian/Catholic themes in the both of them {not so much in the dialogue of the video, but the images}.

2. It helps, but whether it's important or harmful depends on what tenets you're attempting to remove. I do agree that we are often held back from our full potential by old sacraments and moral codes put down years and years ago, but that could be for the better in some cases. Though humans are capable of making very tremendous advancements, they're also just as capable of causing tremendous destruction. 

3. Um...I can only really think of examples from movies, if that's not utterly pathetic. But I can't think of any specific examples from history. I /know/ there are quite a few. I'm sure about half of what we work with every day was considered by some fellow in the 19th or 18th century that everyone thought to be completely mad. 

4. Yes. When you create art, it is better and best to use your own experiences then to try and mimic those of others. For instance, wouldn't it be completely idiotic, or unethical, for me to try and make a piece about being a soldier in Vietnam based solely on the stories I remember a family member telling me when I was a kid? Maybe one or the other--unless that story kept me from sleeping for many nights and the art wasn't really about Vietnam but about the emotions I felt second hand. Overall, its much better to think of your own point of view than to assume the point of view of others.

5. Like I said in my opening statements, I don't believe there could ever be a perfect world, I can't imagine one, and so I can't imagine whether or not people will make art there. I'll lean towards 'no'--not because of the favor to live in the ideal world versus creating it--but because the only way I can imagine a human being totally content is if they have some sort of lobotomy.

6. Sort of. Like that 'Everything is going to be okay' piece you have? It can only really function in a world where no, everything is NOT okay. Or else what's the point of the statement? What's the point of making it art? So it kind of pertains to the video. I'm not sure how it pertains to the excerpts.

7. Meh. I'm not sure. I make my work because I like to keep myself busy because maybe, just maybe, I'd prefer to forget about real life for a while. So yeah, maybe I make art because of strife. But I know I've made art without it too. I've sat down at restaurants I really like, chipper as hell because I'm going to get a burger or something, and I'm drawing faces on all of the food on the paper place mat in front of me. I draw or create things whenever I feel like it, and sometimes it's far more pleasing than just having it. Like toys. I'll make things out of clay on occasion even if they already exist as toys or dolls. Why? Because I have a greater satisfaction in making my own stuff. It's not because I'm miserable. Not all the time.

8. I hope so.

Art Therapy Has Many Faces - Georgie's Video

Georgie provided us with a video on art therapy and how it can help those with disabilities and illnesses express their fear, pain, dreams, and longings through painting, drawing, and crafting. There were a few testimonials; one given by a woman who drew the moment she was conscious to make sure she still could and a boy who thought it was the best way to deal with his frustration caused by his health situation. Art therapy can be a great subconscious release, allowing the artist to express things they normally keep pent up inside.

I've always found this kind of therapy very interesting. I've known about those tests they give children sometimes--the ones in which they ask you to draw your family and the positioning and size of certain family members can reflect their living situation. It's an effective way of seeking the root of one's problems. Though I'm not sure that all art done as therapy is 'art' {by even my loosely fitting definition}, I don't think it's impossible to make art that is therapeutic. I find art therapy, in the context of expressing and discovering one's true anxieties, is not so much like the studio art we make but more as a visual map of the mind. It's a recollection, or a sensation, or some trial. It doesn't make it any less valuable than 'art', but it puts it in a completely different category. 

1. I guess art therapy would entail the process of making something, whether it's a painting, drawing, or craft, that expresses your deeper anxieties or dreams to either yourself or the person who is attempting to get to the root of your more troubling issues. Yet it can just as well provide a busy, mediative, and focused task that takes one's mind off their current strife.

2. Sometimes. Mainly when it comes to rendering my pieces, either as sketches or as drawings, I am at my most reflective. I'm at the base, primordial pool of some idea and hashing it out to make it work as an image, and during this process I can forget about all my problems pertaining to anything else other than what I'm working on and the work tends to carry on more subconscious influences reflected in either the stroke of my hand or the energy in my drawing. When I get angry I tend to draw lots of contorted things, like monsters. When I'm content, there's a lot more humor in my work.

3. It can help them to express what might trouble them and what the more ideal situations they would prefer might be. Also, there's always a very strong sense of satisfaction and pride when someone swings along and tells you how great your work looks, which can give that someone the boost in self-esteem they probably need. Art therapy is a great method for this because just about anyone can pick up a tool and draw with it, whether they have use of their hands, feet, or mouth--just about anyone can artistically express themselves. There are so many psychological factors in art as well, even down to the very use of certain colors. A painting, drawing, or object can tell a lot about the person who made it, which will make it easier for people who don't have special needs to understand those with them.

4. Yes. When I was very displeased with things going on back home, I started to make plushies. I wanted something to hug and something cute to look at that would be yet another thing to help me forget about a less than ideal situation going on hundreds of miles away. I tend to craft/sculpt more when I'm upset as well as draw monsters or characters sympathizing with me. When I'm happier, I don't tend to make a whole lot of art.

5. Eh...sort of. I mean, I sort of do. I think if helping others get over their issues with art works well enough, I ought to do something for it. But it's not everyone's bag.

6. I guess...I mean, I can see a relationship between this video and how everyone makes their work. Most if not all of us can't quite make work about something we don't care about {or we'd be in Illustration--no offense; what I mean is that they'll take commissions to do work they often don't care about at all}. But even so, other than the 90% skill that goes into our work, at least about a solid 5% reflects how you're feeling in some fashion. It could be something as subtle as the way or the speed in which you made something and not so much the final piece. 

7. To you, perhaps. With me, it's hit and miss. When you had your more atmospheric paintings, I did feel a certain calm when I looked upon them. But some others didn't have much an effect on me. Other than me trying to remember where they might be from, I'm only paying attention to how it's rendered. 

8. Yeah. I'm pretty sure all of us might start taking different directions right away, since about half of us are probably just submitting to academic standards. But if it doesn't happen right away, I know it will happen eventually. Very few artists in the past, in fact none that I can think of now, continued to make the same work after they left their educative roots for the rest of their lives. Things change, inspiration changes, skills grow, new things are learned, and old things may be forgotten.

My artwork is somewhat therapeutic. I have to admit, a year ago when I made my stop-motion piece, I found the process to be harrowing yet engaging. Now I'm beginning to suspect the last one I made might be the last for a long time. I move on from one medium to another quite often. It's not that I can't find something I like to do, but I love discovering new ways to make things. And through experience, that discovery is better made when you take a break from one media and return to it later. I still draw to occupy myself through boredom, and I make things to take my mind off of stress.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Susan Sontag and 'Le sang d'un poete' - Brittney's Contribution

So here we have an excerpt perhaps? I'm not sure. A passage written by Susan Sontag for the first  half of this discussion and a video for the second.

The passage was on photography--and boy was it pretty magical {not in a campy way}. Photographs are likened to language, allowing the collectors to own little pieces of the world. It appropriates objects the moment it's taken, like a miniature slice of reality. They manipulate the scale of things, age, reproduce, and deteriorate. They can be put anywhere, into anything. When put in books they don't lose as much quality as paintings do. They provide evidence {though these days now that we know they can be easily doctored}. They can be just as selective as paintings can, as a photographer can take images by changing the lighting, the angle, the frame, and so on. They can discard images they don't like and reach an ideal over time. The methods of taking photographs have simplified over time, changing the subject of images and the technique. With time, photography as art developed as a counter to the industrial culture, which made it possible for anyone to take a picture.

'Le Sang d'un Poete', or 'The Blood of a Poet', is a film made by Jean Cocteau in 1930. I'm not entirely sure about the overall plot. It starts with a guy who makes a drawing of a woman's face, but he smudges out her mouth when it starts to move on its own. The hand ends up on his mouth, he freaks about a bit, touches himself some {I called it--I was amused}, and then falls asleep. He wakes up and puts his hand on a statue and it comes to life, effectively ridding himself of the mouth. The statue starts to talk in French, a chair appears, and he gets on it and goes through a mirror. He falls into it, ends up in a hall of a hotel, and looks through keyholes and sees strange things like some guy getting shot over and over, some shadow hands on a stick of some sort {I couldn't recognize it}, and he's really peeking into as many keyholes as he can, holding on to the doors like he's fighting gravity. At this point I know it's experimental film but this guy had to be trippin' balls. Anyways, he's handed a gun by a disembodied arm and I guess he's being told to shoot himself or he just decides 'fuck it, this shit's wack'. But he just gets magically dressed up and comes back to life and really decides this bassackwards world is really pissing him off. He gets out of mirrorworld and gives the statue the French equivalent of 'the finger' {I think} before smashing her to bits. Suddenly the film moves outside where kids are playing in the snow and these older looking kids sit idly by. One of the kids got injured on the knee and lead away and some French is spoken. A kid is being strangled or something by some other kids and no one's doing anything bout it, really. Finally, a kid throws a damn iron ball at this other kid's face, either knocking him out or killing him. More French is spoken, the kid wakes up long enough to spit up some blood and die. Suddenly a table appears next to him with a few people at it. Some people get ready in some opera seats {you know, the really fancy overhead ones} and some alarm bell is chiming. They go back to the table and I can't stop staring at the man with the mask until he takes it off. Everyone is oblivious to the dead kid. Well, not enough to hide cards under his coat. Alarm bells chime again when we see the opera people. The lady at the poker table starts fanning herself. A man descends from the staircase and covers the dead boy up, some inverted filter is drawn over them, and they disappear. People in the stands look confused and chatty. The man comes back and takes the Ace card from the man who took it out of the boy's coat before he leaves the way he came. When the man's heart beats, his shirt twitches. He takes a gun out of his coat and shoots himself through the head and there was much rejoicing from the people in the opera stands. I think there was a man in a dress up there. I couldn't stop staring at him. Anyways, the lady who was playing cards with the dead cheater throws her cards, gets up, and takes the creepy quiet guy's coat before she walks away.

I had to describe the movie word for word because I couldn't tell what the plot was all about if there was one. I've never been keen on the insights, symbols, and meanings behind pieces like these; I just like to determine how they achieved certain techniques and effects. I've always been more into the technical aspects of things. As for the passage by Sontag, it was nice. I mean, it wasn't different from what I've already known about film--she just takes what I know and organizes it in a neat and lovely fashion. Props to her.

I think I'll go on and answer the questions now.

1. The similarities between painting/drawing and photograph revolve around subject, composition, the choice of lighting, position, and command. They both beget images and they can both be manipulated by the standards of the artist/photographer who brings the image into being. The differences may of course be attributed to speed, quality, and material. What I think of a photograph depends on its presentation. For instance, as a polaroid or in its flatter, two-dimensional form, I tend to lean towards the format of a painting or drawing--other 2d forms. But if presented in a group, in a book, in a stack, stitched together, dangling off the ceiling--essentially fitted for a three-dimensional presentation--then I can consider photographs as sculpture.

2. Doesn't that depend on the image? I'm not sure I understand what you mean. A record of experiences perhaps? Of growth? Of discovery?

3. could be? If amateurism in this case refers to an artist who cannot draw photo-realistically or has yet to reach that level, then I consider it to be nothing disadvantageous or otherwise. It depends on how inexperienced they are. If someone really can't get the anatomy down on a figure, then yeah, they're at a disadvantage. I think it's important to understand the mechanics of life enough to draw them. But it can get in the way of your inspiration if you start to think that being able to draw with ultimate precision is so important that it must be implemented in everything you make. It can consume you if you're a perfectionist, never satisfied with 'okay' and always going for 'exceptional'.

4. Oh! Well, does the part when the guy has a mouth on his hand and he's touching himself counts? I think it did end with a palm to crotch bj, but it cut out before anyone could really come to that conclusion without assuming so beforehand. Then there was the peeking through keyholes in the hotel hall locked in some kind of Gravi-tron. I'm not sure if anything sexual was going on there, but he was definitely interested in peeking through each one. I thought the movie itself {and not just the parts afore mentioned} had a relationship to photography. Hell, most movies do. Now as to appropriation...I don't know. Maybe? What was the movie appropriating, because the imagery was mostly from life, but the events were surely staged. 

5. When I saw it, I remembered something. I'm not sure if it was something we talked about in class or something I heard someone say in a movie. But I remembered that it had been pointed out before that in theater, when someone dies at the end of a play and the curtains start to close, the audience applauds. That, or a character no one really likes ends up getting killed in some ironic/comic fashion and the audience laughs. But it's really quite grim. You're laughing/applauding at death. Sure, it's just an act, but actors are emulating real life. It's a strange reaction, albeit a product of civilization; it's polite to clap after a good round of acting and expected to laugh when the annoying blonde dies in an otherwise humiliating fashion. But in this film, I expected it, so it didn't really effect me. I thought it was a nod to the whole irony of what I had mentioned before.

6. When the artistic voice is being drowned out by overstimulating images, sounds, and movements, then it starts to become spectacle. I didn't find much of this movie dipping into that territory, so I can't really think of a proper example.

7. The people in your images are people you know, so I think. They refer back to you when they present people you know--images taken from your vantage. And what these people are wearing, or what's included around them, if anything at all can refer to your time period. Then there's the media you're using, the technology you use to create it, the quality of the image, what it's printed on, how it's presented, etc. It could all provide evidence of the time it hails from.

8. Digital format is hard, pointy, edgy, and dotty. I claim to see the pixels because I've blown up one too many digital images  on my computer and I have seen them for what they are. Sometimes it bothers me. When it seems like they're trying too hard. Other times they embrace the fact that they are indeed a cluster of digital information that makes up the image they present. The film format is fuzzy, soft, smooth, and true. It's light being reflected, and it just seems more natural, yet chemical. It's not as simple to handle as the digital image and it might not even pay off at the end if mishandled. It suffers from a few more limitations but that keeps it a little farther from harm's way. 

9. It's your thing and you seem to enjoy it. The art world doesn't seem to be adverse to it either. You have the choice of whether or not you want to take it fast or take it intimately. 

10. I'd do her and I'm not even into women. xD

I have no problem with photography. I have to keep repeating that to my printmaking instructor when he notices my disdain towards making digital prints. I just like the intimacy of drawing far more than I like taking pictures. I'm not saying that photography can't be intimate--it just takes a different brand of patience. A brand I don't have and can't afford. I only take pictures when I need references, and these days I pull a good many from the internet, which is like the holy source of images ever bottomless. All I have to do is make sure they're not copyrighted. 

Why Art Cannot be Taught - Danielle's Reading

Danielle provided us with an excerpt from Elkin's book, Why Art Cannot be Taught. In this excerpt, a full chapter of his theory gives a thorough argument on why art cannot by taught {if it wasn't already pretty obvious by the title alone}. He first gives us a description of what teaching is, since it's easier than trying to describe what art is, and compares it to how teaching in an art school environment doesn't fit the definition. He offers a few different positions on the matter from both sides, favoring the later end of the group and particular theories while finding faults in them as well. He then proposes what can be taught, if not art, offering up a few ideas in that respect.  Finally he reviews the claims he made earlier in order to clarify his position and admit to a hesitation in his proposition for an ideal teaching method out of the fear that changing the current curriculum might make matters even worse than they already supposedly are.

I really like his approach to this argument because he reviews both sides of it--actually, he does one better--he reviews multiple variations of it. That makes it all seem a lot less black and white. He is very thorough yet succinct {at least in my opinion, because personally I think an argument like this could go on for the entire length of your average book}. He has this defeatist attitude towards the end however that kind of kills it, like someone who might have a really good idea but throws in the towel because he has his doubts. He made some pretty good points. But he does recognize that even though the current structure has its imperfections, it does well enough to deserve the remainder of its life. Like all methods of teaching and the knowledge that is imparted, I believe it is constantly changing. We might not see it, but hell, do you really think the classroom environment we have now is anything like it was just ten years ago? Elkin's putting himself down without mentioning this very important bit of info. Art schools have changed over the years at a rate that can only be fully comprehended in hindsight.

1. I do, though I believe the system they have here, at Ringling, is good enough. I don't think art can be taught, but I do believe that school is indeed like a bed of bacterial cultures growing with little control from instructors. It can be influenced though, like the fetus example, but it isn't heavily guided by cause and effect in the classroom. 

2. I understood that teaching happens when knowledge and information, true, false, or biased, is imparted intentionally to a student. 

3. It can foster the creation of art by providing the necessary tools, environment, culture, and inspiration required for making art, but it can inhibit it by bias, restrictions, and coddling from the outside world.

4. I don't think it can. But when it comes to teaching, I believe you can teach someone as long as their interested in the information you're giving them. If they aren't--if they're disengaged like the students mentioned near the start of the chapter--then they might not retain any of what they've learned. 

5. Sort of. I still don't feel adequately prepared for the outside world, but it's mostly my fault. They provide opportunities but I simply haven't taken any.

6. Probably not. I don't think you would have made the same work to begin with. It wouldn't have occurred to you unless you've been thinking about that body of work since before you entered that teaching environment. If you were stubborn and/or brave, you might try, but depending on how you take grades and criticism you might change just to save your own skin from bad reviews. And yes. I do believe more innovative teaching leads to non-traditional work. Sometimes. It depends on how comfortable the student is with experiments and change.

7. No. Even if they like what I make, I don't even know who I'm making it for anymore. I was making it for myself...once upon a time. Then I started making work to satisfy others, but my ideas aren't groundbreaking or anything, so galleries are probably going to laugh in my face. As for you, I'd have to say that part of it could have been your instructors, general inspiration, and the freedom thesis allows. We've also had raves for student projects that would have been frowned upon less than a decade ago, so I'm sure that was a little inspiring.

8. It probably helped. I'm a firm believer in the idea that what you learn about one thing can help you with another, whether it's obvious to you or not. 

And the second part of question 8 can be my conclusion, since it has to do with my art and this article. My art has definitely been helped by the materials we've structured our programs on. Hell, look at all the prints I've made. And the videos? I wouldn't have known dick about AfterEffects if I hadn't taken Dee Hood's class in Sophomore year. And that other guy. I feel bad about forgetting his name, but I actually had him in Freshmen year by some fluke and I made some cool vids back then. Even my stop-motion projects came from the influence of being taught how to use AfterEffects, Photoshop, and Flash. As for what I'd like to alter, I'm not sure. Like Elkin, I am a bit of a defeatist and I agree with him. I think trying to drastically change something would just make a big mess and that these sort of things just happen slowly over time. We're still an imperfect race, so we'll have our imperfect teaching methods to match.

What's Wrong with Contemporary Art? - Paul's Reading

From Peter Timms's book, What's Wrong with Contemporary Art?, we were asked to read from pages 28-33. Here, Timms discusses art and institution--focusing on the flaws of the academic approach to 'making' artists. According to Timms, universities tend to be putting more focus in art theory based in cultural studies rather than art history. Any sort of art history is geared to back up more recent artwork in order to reinforce the idea that art is about social issues, leading to a more analytical approach to all work. This strips away much of the intimacy that individual artworks might have. Timms argues on why it is important for students to be taught on what theory was because nowadays many students are graduating with a limited understanding of their own discipline's development. This restrains the artist and often sets them on the path of repeating what has already been done. He goes on to explain how students are being set up for failure, since the art world isn't as easy to get into as getting a PhD. He even argues on the validity of such paperwork, since the final thesis requires an academic approach that leaves many of the more spontaneous artists at their mercy. 

I guess I kind of agree with a few things and disagree with others. In this school, I've had to take two semesters of art history--and though it didn't feel like it was enough--I did see the works of various artists from the earliest periods to the more contemporary times. But I've always believed, especially when it comes to our subject of study, that it takes ambition on the part of the student in order for success to be a possibility. I know the art world is exclusive. I know that about 25% of it is luck, 25% percent of it is the work you make, and 50% of it is the networking you create. I might even be simplifying way too much. But I know for a fact that networking is the biggest deal, and that takes a concentrated, enthusiastic effort on part of the artist. If history is important, a student will not only take the classes, but do additional research. A school can only push you so far. Their job isn't to coddle you; and I've had instructors tell me that part of our success will be based on what we research, study, and accomplish on our own free time while the resources are readily available to us. Now I know all this, but I've never been all that ambitious. I may be one of the majority Timms speaks of that ends up graduating without much of a clue and a very introspective body of work that only I could ever care about. I still don't think art school's necessarily a waste of time. They can't be this realistic with every prospective student because it might scare them off--in that sense, it's a little bit of a hoax. But schools still provide opportunities. It's just up to the students to grasp them.

I'll start answering some questions now.

1. I don't think he's being overly simplistic, but I do believe he needs to explain himself a little more thoroughly. It's not enough to give an example or two of what you mean to say. He needs to explain why it won't work, why it hasn't worked, why it worked for some people, and why it won't work for others. He does seem to go over the first two, but not the rest. In any argument you're making against something, you should explore the arguments made for it and propose your reasoning as to why your argument is superior. 

2. Maybe. Like I said before, he doesn't give a single success story and focuses harder on the failing aspect of universities and examples of such. He strikes me as a guy who either did waste his money in an art school or knew someone closely that did.

3. Yeah, you can, but your credit will constantly be in question which will defeat your argument before you can make it half the time. Unless you can make a really good argument and appeal to people who didn't know you were paranoid and cynical before. Then they can pass it on and help you attain some form of respect.

4. I think it would be beneficial to have an assignment like that actually. We tend to think of 'group think' as something negative because of its use in Orwell's 1984 as a device that accentuates the ignorance of the people as individuals, but 'group think' creates a society based on similar ideas. It could lead to total disaster, and it often does, but it is a step closer to a social symbiosis. Something concepts of utopia are based around. It's a double-edged sword, which I believe is important to wield at least once for the experience. Humans learn best through it. Having an assignment of such a nature in a controlled environment could allow them to understand the benefits and dangers of it, ultimately leading them to a final, sound assessment.

5. I don't know, but I'll have to go with 'I don't think so'. This environment does a lot more encouraging and possesses more understanding while promoting guidance. I don't think the art world does a whole lot of that.

6. Yes. Visual expression should have more precedence.

7. Yes and no. Until the very end of the year, where thesis is demanded in the form of a solitary, pre-conceived notion, automatism is actually encouraged so that an artist may discover their individual approach to image making and/or expression.

8. It depends on what you do while you're here. Your art style and means of expression hasn't changed a whole lot visually since I first saw it. You might have already discovered your means, but that would then leave you to learning and seizing opportunities. If you aren't doing those things, then you're probably wasting your money.

9. Yeah. But I don't see nothing wrong with that.

10. You should embrace it. It's better to make work you care about than work on things you can't stand or care less about.

11. A bit. I'll have to admit, when you do work about yourself {and I'm saying this about me and anyone else who works for themselves} there are many elements that people will miss out on because everyone's individual experiences are extremely different.

I wouldn't be making the sort of art I make now if I didn't go to art school. I wouldn't have discovered the joys and trials of printmaking and I would have either been drawing or sculpting instead. That's probably the only opportunity I made an effort to seize. But I don't think it was enough--not for what I've been paying. But it's my fault, really. I still get about an e-mail every couple of days with a new scholarship or job opportunity. I have resources to tap into in order to learn everything I want to learn about art, as well as instructors I can talk to in order to bounce ideas and theories back and forth with. Bit I just haven't really done it. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Graham Hancock - Trevor's Article

This was a video, which was more of an audio recording, of Graham Hancock explaining DNA and theory that altered states of mind are actually other worlds we transcend to. He brings up Crick, the Nobel Prize winner who discovered the double helix, and how he believed that DNA was sent to the planet rather than accidentally created by a race of intelligent beings from some place or another due to its complexity. 97% of our DNA, considered 'junk DNA', are not involved in our basic genetics and in fact cannot be linked with any certainty to anything. So Graham believes that this junk DNA is actually a series of messages that we are meant to decode someday, left to us by otherworldly beings, as well as portals to alternate planes. 

I'll have to admit, I bought very little of this. If it is true--that DNA is simply too complex to happen by accident--I'd sooner believe that God made man. Bringing an otherworldly intelligence into the picture, as well as spaceships sending out bacteria and little messages encoded in out DNA left to us by super scientists from across the universe, it all just brings up even more to question. How did /they/ get created? When did it all begin? Why does it matter? I kept thinking of The Guide while I listened to this. If these theories are correct we might very well be that super computer designed by Deep Thought to determine the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. 

I'll...just start answering questions now.

1.  Er...maybe a couple? I'll willingly accept that there is a lot to our DNA we have yet to understand. It is complex and we are still figuring it out; I watch enough videos on the subject to be aware of this. But it's pretty difficult for me to believe anything else he's saying. I still think you're just reliving a ton of repressed  and unrepressed memories when you're tripping balls--not entering a different plane of existence. If you run out into the street and get hit by a car you were trying to shake hands with because in your LSD-tripped mind you thought it was the ambassador of planet Shawnface, you're still going to be very injured or very dead when/if you wake up.

2. I tend to mellow out and focus on my work. Listen to some music. I don't really consider being calm to be an alternate reality or anything, but yeah. It's a different state of mind than my usual. I sort of tune everything else out.

3. Different. I don't know. It depends on their technology and what their worlds look like. If we saw each other's art, I'm sure we wouldn't be able to tell whether or not it is art at first. 

4. I believe its possible for them to go hand in hand if you're open minded. Quantum physics and spirituality must exist on the same plane if people are willing to go the extreme either way.

!. Maybe? Have you ever tripped out? If so, I do believe thinking about his ideas and experiencing these altered states would provide some insight that you can choose to use or not.

@. It hasn't crossed my mind before, so not that I can think of.

#. Sometimes. You know. I was there. 

$. Sort of, now that you mention it. But drawings don't possess nearly as much information as DNA does.

The Singularity of Ray Kurzweil - Rachel's Article

I decided to go with the video rather than the book.

In this video Ray Kurzwiel, a well-known futurist who made many accurate predictions in the past, discusses his belief that by 2045, humans will become one with machines. He calls this Singularity. He shows off a few graphs, and explains that this sort of change would take place slowly. He discusses virtual reality, and how the singularity wouldn't necessarily make us robots, but rather enhanced by computers and technology. Human longevity is likely to be increased according to his statistics. He believes it's important to stay healthy until people have discovered ways to keep humans alive for a much longer time. He doesn't think the current recession in the economy will effect the rate of development of technology. 

Well, they make it very obvious throughout the video that Kurzweil is pretty qualified to make these predictions by showing off his awards and accomplishments. I'm not regarding this with sarcasm--it's just an observation. I understand what he's getting at, though it's hard to believe something that isn't. People are far more programed to engage life as it happens rather than a future that sounds so vastly different and far ahead. I expected cars to be flying by now. People were predicting this sort of thing since the seventies. But how qualified were they? And how could we expect to discover something without fully understanding the problems we may encounter? I always thought it was interesting that scientists have broken down the human being into the elements it's composed of and have about a fraction of a percent that's still unaccounted for. Without it, you can't make a person. But it's still something to think about. 

I'll answer some questions now.

1. That'd be nice, but I'd like to be able to change my answer given certain circumstances. I don't want to get old. I don't want to be wrinkly, and wracked with pain and disease. I'd rather die unexpectedly, with minimal suffering. 

2. Eh...maybe. I don't think it'll be actual consciousness, but I'm sure a computer with simulated consciousness might exist around the time Kurzweil suggested. I believe the difference between humans and machines that will always be maintained is the chaotic nature of the human mind. Whereas computers always arrive to the most logical conclusion, humans do not. Even if a computer is created to randomize once in a while, it's all in the programing. It's always following orders. 

3. I think his predictions are valid, but that doesn't mean I believe him. I'll think about it, and be more aware of the changes, but I won't take his predictions too seriously.

4. Yeah. I think it's important. I'd love to see how far technology goes.

5. Yeah. It's a part of my world, so I even include that communication in my art. Hell, I use technology to make my art all the time.

6. Of course. You're making machines all the time now, and you look up these specs for these things on the computer, I'd bet. I'm not sure if you're necessarily helping the technology of the now become the technology of tomorrow, but if you continue down this route you might bring more technology and art together in the future. The same sort of thing happened with video art. 

7. I think it's important to think of the future, and predictions help to fuel the creative imagination of some. I'm not sure if artwork based on this would effect the outcome of the future. It might enlighten just the right people, if they ever get around to seeing it.

8. It is. I like to see what kind of proof people have to back up their claims and predictions of the future, and the futures they predict often keep my attention. But I like thinking of the unlikely far more than what I might find to be more likely.

In my work, I reflect on the past more than I reflect on the future, despite my thesis being what it is. I'm not predicting when the apocalypse will happen, or what exactly will happen. I'm fantasizing. I've always been that type of person. I remember all the things I like, love, and experienced and I imagine different scenarios of theatrical and personal interest to keep myself entertained. It's like I'm creating television shows in my head, and I'm the main character. It comes from my heavy exposure from movies, television, and music videos. Ever seen the video for Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden? It still haunts my memories. :c 

In a good way.