Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Agnes Martin Interview

She was a very nice lady.  She had found the perfect peace which can usually only be found in the minds of lobotomy patients and those with downs syndrome.  The peace of the vacant mind is a profoundly tempting peace.  It was a manifestation of the old adage "ignorance is bliss."  I think there is merit in the statement, and for those that choose it, I wish them all the best.  I feel that it is a bliss that must be constantly maintained to work.  A person must always remind themselves that they are happier off not knowing to be happy.  It is in the end a blanket they must constantly pull over themselves.  Unfortunately, I think all who follow that, in the end realize it was an exercise in self-deception.  There is built in to every human a desire to know.  To analyze the world and our place in it.  But she is right that being certain is also a lie.  I think the middle ground of always looking for answers and never being content with the answers that are found is the best route.  Learning, unlearning, and relearning show us the greatest truths.  It is up to time to tell if we were right or wrong, but in the process we find validation.

Against Interpretation

Susan Sontag

I find it interesting that over the course of the last four years that this same idea has cropped up.  The amusing part is that it tends to crop up when the artist is standing before their work and have gone on the defensive, having a lack of substance to back up the work.  I believe that this idea of "just let the work be, it, itself" is fine if you have no desire to know anything more.  There is no reason a person cannot live life and make art based on the surface of themselves, never gaining any true revelation into who and what they really are.  Ignorance is a choice, and one people make every day.  The immutable fact is that the deeper content IS there, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not.  A piece is NEVER just about the surface.  The human existence cannot help but place what it is into everything it does.  It is fine to say "I only want you to see the surface of my work" but the fact remains that there is always something underneath.  I don't think the author ever denied this fact as I have heard others do, but articles such as this paved a delusional path for the self-imposed ignorance of the modern flippant artist.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Challenging The Literal

David Chandler
Semiotics: The Basics

I really did not enjoy this reading.  The author seemed to confirm my theory that a person willing to write an entire book on verbal meaning and understanding is themselves afraid of being misunderstood.  The length to which he went to break down, analyze, reanalyze, word, and reword his thoughts took repetition into the absurd.  The biggest problem I had with his initial theories was that he never took into account that most people speak with MULTIPLE meanings in mind, both consciously and subconsciously.  His ideas on base meaning were undeniable, if only by merit of their over exhaustive browbeating.  But it never took into account that people hardly ever choose words with the intent of only saying one thing.  It is the way they say a thing which can not just mean another thing but can ALSO mean another thing.  The breakdowns of the different forms of allusion was well stated, if overstated.