Friday, September 14, 2007

text, image, and sound relationships

When thinking of illustrated stories, or music videos based on songs, or animated poems, what is the relationship between the various media?

Should or do illustrations merely or only serve the text of a book? I guess it depends on the book, is it a comic book, novel, or picture book.

Should the visual seek to be unintrusive, humbly self-sacrificial in serving the text?

Should one medium self-consciously contrast or harmonize with it's opposite medium producing some sort of synesthetic polyphony?

Should the visuals of a music video merely be an advertisement for the song or publicity/notoriety of the singer? (here is a good counter-example, on the right side of the page)

This is similar to the form/content discussion, but the textual,visual, and audible all have their respective contents. "Form is the shape of content"
If this is so, perhaps the images, words, and sounds are simply mediated shapes of the same 'content', though this seems too platonic. Visuals aren't simple containers for the message or meaning of a piece of artwork.

This is also similar to the form/function discussion. I like Tim Smith's “Form REJOICES in function” rather then "Form follows function."

How does this relate to film?

In film, I think we have more unity of text/image/sound then say a music video. Where do comic books, graphic novels, and children's story books lie on the spectrum?

It would also be interesting to think about the relationship of text and sound in various musical genres. For example, Country being on the content/text side of things and say, Electronica being on the sound/form side.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Speaking of Beauty

"Kansas can't be the only place in which a heterosexual man never uses the word beauty except to refer to a dead deer, a new pickup, or Lee Harvey Oswald's prowess with a rifle."

-Denis Donoghue, in Speaking of Beauty*

Donoghue continues:

"Even in polite society, beauty is difficult to talk about, if only because the words nearest to it are gestures, though not necessarily empty ones."

Perhaps architectural theorist Christopher Alexander knows why: "Because you cannot use the word beauty without getting actually somewhere close to the idea of God. I mean, you can use it, but not really, because you sort of shake inside when you do it and realize your at the edge of something dangerous."
-Alexander in this interview.

*If you live near a Half Price Books store, this seems to be making the clearance racks around now.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Notes from John Sloan's Gist of Art

"If you don't want to be serious about playing, do something of no account. Go into banking. Buy collar buttons at five cents a dozen and sell them for five cents a piece."
-John Sloan's Gist of Art

That may sound harsh, but I think he was getting at something similar to something Tom Peters(author of Leadership) said: "Any company that exists purely for the purpose of making money is likely to fail."

But back to John Sloan:

"A negative, anti-thing can't be great. Anti-bad art, anti-liquor for instance.The kind of art made for anti-reason, anti-war, anti-humanity, and so forth, can't be great art. It can be important propaganda, satire, but not great art."
Would that many a garage band took this to heart.

"No great poet, no great artist ever allows facts to interfere with the truth. Facts are not necessarily truth. Poetry can convey truth more than a statement of fact.The history of the Civil War has more meaning through the book, John Brown's body, then it has through the facts of history."
I think perhaps this has to do with a rationalistic, enlightenment view of history as a non-story, if we think of, and approach, history as an impersonal collection of sequential facts instead of a divinely told story then it will have a sour taste. Stories are personal, art is personal.

"Work for your self first. You can paint best the things you like or the things you hate. You cannot paint well when indifferent. Express a mental opinion about something you are sensitive to in life around you. There is a profound difference between sensitivity and sentimentality."
Indifference. I believe the world was created to demand a response, to be neutral (that quest of scientism) to the created order is to be jaded. This is why nihilist art is not often good, it's indifferent, by definition. The best scientists were never 'neutral', but awe-struck.

"Paintings must have some stimulus. Keep the mainspring of life which gives you the creative urge. Keep your humanity."
Art is about life, art is not about art. Art is about the world, not the 'art world'.

"There is such a thing as looking at nature too calmly, without any excitement." I don't know if he knew why, but I do, nature is all about the Glory of God, and the Glory of God demands a weighty excitement, a heavy awe.

"The artist must get a kick out of something in nature before he can create. If you only get kick out of other works of art you should not be an artist. You should be a connoisseur, or a buyer or a consumer of art." Might I add: Anime fanboy to the list?

All this from the first few pages!

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