Eagle and serpent

explorations and philosophy: in the world, of the world

Tag: art

This is not…

One of the most often heard outcries in art galleries, universities, and conferences starts: “This is not…”

Be it ‘art’, ‘philosophy’ or ‘science’, each has their very own guardians devoting time and effort on the assessment, fulfillment and reproduction of the criteria of their precious doctrine. As if the ‘art’ would disappear if the linguistic conventions surrounding it would (and they inevitably are) be structured and re-structured.

And I’m not talking about the underlying theory of truth shaping the world-view of the guardian, but rather the need for ontological security through departmentalist smothering.

Acclaimed French sociologist/anthropologist/philosopher Pierre Bourdieu noted (in his famous Distinction) that different tastes emerge from fundamentally negative positioning. Someone is not to be associated with something–the definition being absence rather than presence.

This puts the current departmentalisation of knowledge and even scholarship into a questionable light, in the very ‘scientific’ terms that it outspokenly embraces. How is it possible that (at least in my mind) most fundamentally new insights emerge from the ranks of talented generalists refusing to take a tag of one camp or another?

Moments of clarity

It’s always as intriguing to come up with ideas between sleeping and being awake. Given the abstraction capabilities of the human mind, one can not but wonder the role of consciousness on the creativity of ideas one gets. I’ve gotten many of my personally most captivating thoughts either just about to wake up or fall asleep. This is, of course, not to speak of a collection of much much fuzzier moments…

Taking the notion of ‘consciousness being sleep guided by the senses’ seriously, what are the consequences? Instead of trying to deliberately come up with theories of creativity, should we rather concentrate on sleeping more, spending more time with the activities and people that enrich our lives and finding meaning in subtleties? It might be too radical to the industries of knowledge (management consulting among others) to start selling ‘insights emerging from laid-backedness’, but on a more personal level, should we start to be just a bit more greedy in this sense?

Also, in terms of much serious matters–such as ‘decision making’– should one more readily rely on one’s gut instead of seemingly-sophisticated-but-helplessly-bogus models?

In other words, ‘avant-garde art’ or ‘serious science’?!

Couple in the cabin

Lars von Trier’s newest is a disturbing one. Careful with the reviews though, discussions of Antichrist’s disturbance often become spoilers.

The flick has absolutely stunning cinematography. Slow motions and art-like colours are combined throughout the film with an eerie soundtrack. Depending on the viewer, it might also be viewed either as a feminist or a misogynistic film. Beauty/ugliness, inside/outside, bliss/pain, life/death, you name it. Lars likes to disturb. In a way, this play with contrasts is an old one.

One likable feature in von Trier’s story-telling is his habit of dropping hints along the journey. On the other hand, these traces, picked up and followed, can lead to an underlined use of symbolism. What he discusses nicely is man’s relationship with nature, fear, the forest around him and how it gazes him from within himself.

The cabin becomes the self.

Brussels, open air toilet

Trying to overcome one’s prejudices can be disappointing. A gave Brussels a second chance, as some eight years since my last visit already passed. At the moment of departure, St. Pancras International was beautiful, modern and well-functioning. Capital to capital high speed train is something worth trying… Au revoir!

The smell of urine welcomed me already at Brussels Midi. Still something was missing… Oh yes, cigarette smoke! There it was again, genuine Belgium experience. Getting out of the metro to the chilling, damp air, I tried to find my way to the hostel. No nameplates of the streets, every fifth (or so) stone missing from the pavement, every other corner filled with stinking heaps of rubbish, every other with stinking, aggressive idlers… Ah, beautiful.

And the funniest part was yet to come. I was going to see Mental Finland, Kristian Smeds’ new production. Walking past ‘hey, handsomes’ and ‘pss pss, smoke misters’ to the theatre, I was already prepared for the coming super-relativist dose of culture. Or so I thought.

Well, you can read the reviews if you’re interested in the play itself. It takes a tough stomach to digest boundaries crossing art. Beauty and ugliness is hard to combine and still keep it credible. But, it’s really about stomach, since some cowards couldn’t take it and went out before full time!

Anyway, Brussels is the place to see this kind of theatre. The contrast between sh*t+blood and sh*t+blood isn’t too great. In the evening, when consuming one out of two good Belgian things (beer), it suddenly appeared to me! The place is a combination of French untidiness and German kitsch! Music is Schlager and chanson together, interiors are plastic, neon lights and cigarette smoke combined and drink is beer as strong as wine… You name it! Lacking the good sides of either, French elégance and German Organisation, Brussels is the worst of both worlds!

Essence of message

As often said, the content of the message is only as good as its delivery. If one could always tell one’s thoughts with the same intensity and passion than one late Layne… The ignorant in a ‘hurry’ can ff to 5:00.

Just slightly mending the classic: “What we cannot speak about we must pass over in…?”

Bacon’s baboon

After a Sunday breakfast in Soho, it was time for get the culture portion of the week. Visiting Tate Britain to see the works of a famous Soho-dweller, Francis Bacon, can be something to remember. Not only the stunning carnality of his works, but the meta-style itself – combining ghostly and carnal, spiritual and essential – stays before one’s eyes even after leaving the exhibition.

Going beyond impressions, metaphysical agony can be sometimes found even in our everyday organisations. Or what do you think of his post-cc-taxpayer?

A subtlety that caught my eye was that Bacon named many of his works as ‘studies’. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the most ruthless of Bacon’s critics was Francis himself?