2004/05/31

Playing god creating your own universe.

"Was our universe created? That is, was it brought into being by an entity with a mind? ... It is the fundamental issue that separates religious believers, ranging from Deists to Gnostics to Southern Baptists, from nonbelievers."
Read the amazing creationist theory of Andrei Linde, physicist at Stanford University but attach your neuronal seatbelts... and discover that nonbelievers can also be creationists.

playing god

2004/05/28

Painting is back

Here is an excellent article about painting. It goes around the arguments developed in this blog.

"We're living in an extremely fruitful and exciting time for those captivated by contemporary art," says Dan Cameron, senior curator at New York's New Museum of Contemporary Art. "I've been in the trenches for 20 years, and there's more good art being produced in more places than I can remember at any one time. We're in a sort of Golden Age."

Yes that's it. We seem to enter the first marches of an artistic renaissance. Painting again is at the forefront of "making sense out of it".
I'am presently deeply engaged in the painting of 30 works and I can't thus spend much time writing but I'll be back at it intensively sometime during the coming fall. My project is to terminate a book based on what I have written as of today in this blog, a book that will act as an introduction to the paintings I'am working on presently.

Can an art form that's been around for centuries still express the zeitgeist? Or "Is it a vampire, feeding off the blood of its history?" as John Weber, curator of education and public programs at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, puts it.
In other words, is the new painting more about nostalgia - a throwback to a time of greater stability - or is it vital and original, shaking up one's assumptions and forcing the viewer to feel and think about the present?


This question is of the uttermost importance and is the reason why this blog is titled "Crucial talk". It makes absolutely no doubt to me that human perception is foremost visual. In one of the last articles that I recommended a scientist was expressing how scientific thought was as flowing along visual representations in the head of the scientist. Visual representations are behind the values and thinking of all of us, most generally unconsciently for sure. Thus goes my personal thinking: visual arts are about making or giving sense to our reality. Presently, to grasp some sense out of our reality, the brush has to follow a brain that is aware simultaneously of 2 forms of knowledge: traditional philosophies and modern sciences of complexity, there is no escaping this in painting. And this is the secret to leap over the following observations:
"They are not tackling very difficult issues, although they are first-rate stylists," Robert Storr, professor of modern art at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts, says of the new painters.
Professor Storr sees none of the younger generation attacking social injustice like the established painters Gerhard Richter or Leon Golub. "New narrative paintings by younger artists are not addressed to large world problems. The new work is much more antiheroic or deliberately modest in ambition."


In the meantime, see the following article.

Painting is back

2004/05/27

About anarchy.

Take away all the rules and let people behave.
"This surprises many people, although mathematically it's not surprising," Hamilton-Baillie says. "The reason for this is that your speed of journey, the ability of traffic to move smoothly through the built environment, depends on performance of your intersections, not on your speed of flow between intersections." And intersections, he says, work much more efficiently at lower speeds. "At 30 miles per hour, you frequently need control systems like traffic signals, which themselves mean that the intersection is not in use for significant periods of time. Whereas at slower speeds vehicles can move much more closely together and drivers can use eye contact to engage and make decisions. So you get much higher capacity."
Well it seems to me that anarchy is nice when few people are present but becomes a headhache when you are among a crowd. If you want to experience what I'am speaking about, no need to refer to mathematics, go to Beijing and drive a car...

"Woonerf" - Anarchy the Key to Safe Streets?

2004/05/23

Where to Get a Good Idea: Steal It Outside Your Group

Creativity, creation are becoming fashion subjects for sociolologists nowadays. A few days ago I gave a link to an article about MIT's take on invention versus innovation. This time it's a link to an article by Ronald S. Burt, a sociologist at the University of Chicago about innovation through stealing the ideas present in other groups.

Where to Get a Good Idea: Steal It Outside Your Group

About cubism and the new look at reality that cubist artists brought to their societies. "Habits of perception and assumptions about the nature of things that had been stable since the 17th century were falling away. ... Picasso was a very physical, emotional man, and his cubism is not an attempt scientifically to account for the world so much as to experience it more fully."

Fragments of the universe

2004/05/21

Debates about art.

Realism versus conceptual, an old debate that still rages.
In the 20 May 2004 edition of the Independant Tom Lubbock addresses the question of Real Painting at the occasion of an exhibition by eight young British artists who persist in painting from life. Lubbock's central argument goes as follows: "this kind of figurative painting is indeed old hat, and what old hat means is that not only has someone done it before, but that someone has done it much better before and there really is no point in doing it again worse. And whenever someone speaks up for Real Painting it always means painting that's a pale and wonky imitation of something else".
The argument is right I guess but what a pale reasoning.
The real point of debate is not realism versus conceptual but what is art: content + technique. Content is the subject of an art work. Is a portrait or a landscape still worth the act of painting in the 21st century? Honestly I don't believe. Other techniques are better adapted to this kind of content than the brush. Also portraits and landscapes as message of a painter about his vision of reality, well a pale vision indeed. The 21st century is all about knowledge, understanding of reality. Science and philosophy are at the forefront of our understanding and they analyse our reality as being a global and complex system reaching from the macroscopic to the microscopic. Portraits and landscapes seem vain for the least in such a complex system.

Is The Tide Turning Against Conceptual Art?

Are the very well to do out of opportunities in the world of business? Or is art part of their business?

Irrational Exuberance

2004/05/17

The impact of technological change upon our response towards visual arts.

An article that illustrates the impact of technological change upon our response towards visual arts.
"It gives consumers access to a wide number of images from around the world that would otherwise only be available on their screen [on a museum's Web site] or in a book. It engages the viewer directly by giving them something they can make their own."

Having a famous painting at home might be as simple as hitting `print'

2004/05/11

Invention versus innovation.

The May issue of MIT Technology Review is all about invention and the distinstion between "invention" and "innovation".
" 'invention' is the creation of radical new ways of saying and ways of seeing; 'innovation' is the preparation and packaging of those ideas to connect to an audience; 'diffusion' is the final delivery of that innovation and the economic models that keep it flowing. "

Invention, innovation, and the arts

2004/05/10

Remembrance about what this blog is all about.

Art is the expression of one's understanding and vision of reality in a technique of his choice (technique that he masters). Technique and content are thus the two components of whatever art form. This was true in the past, remains true today and shall remain true in the future.

Mastering a technique does not mean having been schooled, mastering a technique means virtuosity in the practice of a technique. Schooling can help someone to master a technique but it is the individual who in the last instance will exercise and as such, the exercise, the practice of a technique is what after some time will give the individual the mastery.

Speaking of art, we know for a sure fact that technique and content are inseparable. Good technique with poor content results in shallowness and poor technique with interesting content results at best in unfinished works. Thus technical mastery + rich content is what gives art works.

With the 20th century came an accelerating rhythm of technical changes that led to an overflow of information. Humans were gradually plunged into a maelstrom of noise and images. Total confusion resulted, art lost its meaning and we humans lost our way.

Observing this reality is not enough, we have to understand it to be able to orient ourselves in order to find back our way.

This blog is about my understanding of our human reality (total confusion) and my own search for our human WAY. Surely enough my thinking centers on visual arts, to be more precise painting for this is what I spend the most time at. In my first sentence I wrote "Art is the expression of one's understanding and vision of reality in a technique of his choice". So my work centers on my understanding and vision of reality. But this is not given by the movement of the brush or by my painting technique. My vision of reality comes from the effort that I consciously make at understanding this reality through reading and searching for answers and this passes through the study of history, culture, economics, politics and science.

Our human reality is made of total confusion and thus it is only natural that the arts have been for some time now mired in confusion. But when it is clearly established that confusion reigns what becomes paramount is the search for a way out of this confusion. Knowledge of the confusion is not enough, we have to give sense to our lives and this is only feasible through knowledge of our human histories and civilizations. Modern sciences do not bring sense they only make sense when they come as an extension of historical and civilizational understanding.

In other words, I believe that the artists' mission in the 21st century is to bring sense to our reality and thus it ensues that artists have to be thinkers and philosophers.

2004/05/09

Creativity versus borrowing and rearranging.

Forget the hard-won solitary labors of the artist who doesn't pirate or sample. That model just doesn't fit anymore. Lessig considers culture itself to evolve through variants on piracy.
(Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law School, in his new book, "Free Culture: How Bad Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity" Penguin)
This is a thought provoking article that artists and thinkers need absolutely to read.

Liberty, Technology, Duty: Where Peace Overlaps War