The Goldfish Look Up (part one)

"When premessage expectations are disconfirmed (as in the case of a person or a software product admitting a bias or a shortcoming), the receiver of the message (in this case, the user) perceives the sender (in this case, the software) as unbiased (discussed in Stiff 1994, p. 96), which is a key contributor to credibility..." B.J. Fogg "The vulgar crowd always is taken by appearances, and the world consists chiefly of the vulgar.” Niccolò Machiavelli "In 1977, state district judge, Jack Love, noticed two items in a local Albuquerque, New Mexico, newspaper. The first was an article about an electronic identification tag, invented at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. The tag was … [Read more...]

Two Films and a TV Show, or…The Eminence of Our Decay

"The dominant feature of psychological realism is its determination to be anti-bourgeois." Francois Truffaut "...the human skin of things, the epidermis of reality, that is the primary raw material of cinema." Artaud "Through style one infuses a film with a soul, and that is what makes it art..." Carl Theodore Dreyer I find that with the ubiquitous presence of screen media today, the paradoxical and ambiguous nature of acting and performance to be worth examining. And this ties in with questions of taste I posted about last time. Martin McDonagh's latest film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri was released over the holidays. It is McDonagh's third film (feature length … [Read more...]

I See You Thinking

"I wonder if it is possible to give an intelligible explanation to the passage from principles to action without employing myths." George Sorel "Well, a lot of art has become a version of show business entertainment, so what strikes me as significant is that you have the Whitney giving a show to Jeff Koons, you have Damien Hirst as the star of it all, the man who says he has no integrity, explicitly. You have two pseudo gurus, Marina Abramovic, who I think is very dangerous, and Yoko Ono at the Museum of Modern Art. So you have what you might call celebrity art. To me it’s “non-art..." Donald Kuspit "Pen in hand, he wasn't a had fellow; but he was not, and could never heve been, even … [Read more...]

Ever the Same

“But to the degree that this left seeks to change the world without taking power, so an increasingly consolidated plutocratic capitalist class remains unchallenged in its ability to dominate the world without constraint. This new ruling class is aided by a security and surveillance state that is by no means loath to use its police powers to quell all forms of dissent in the name of anti-terrorism.” David Harvey "A painting can help us to think something that goes beyond this senseless existence. That’s something art can do." Gerhard Richter "...that people on the Left find increasingly that they have lost faith in the traditional diagnosis or in some part of the traditional … [Read more...]

The Desire of No Desire

"Accusations of serious criminality, especially alleged sexual wrongdoing, are often their own convictions in the high court of public opinion because the stigma is so severe, and because definitively proving innocence in a disputed sex case often is impossible." Community of the Falsely Accused "It may be that innocent people are being convicted, but we ought to be more worried about the guilty who might get away." Sir William Utting Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Social Work "Here we have a penal system that was racist in many respects, discriminatory arrests and sentences, conditions of work, modes of punishment. The persistence of the prison as the main form of punishment, … [Read more...]

Blunt Force Trauma

"Because of the particularities of German culture, according to Adorno, National Socialism could pose as a substitute for the sense of belonging lost through the capitalism driven rationalization of society. But it is a freakish social world. The coldness is not overcome, and togetherness is achieved through exclusionary myths. If we take the broadly Aristotelian picture as some kind of baseline, the life that Adorno describes is about as damaged as life can be." Brian O'Connor "Life, as we find it, is too hard for us; it brings us too many pains, disappointments, and impossible tasks." Freud "...the utopians realized that profit was becoming the driving force of history in the … [Read more...]

The Forest is a Devil

"What poet will give us the metaphors of this new language?" Gaston Bachelard "And what next? Armaments piling up like an accumulating catastrophe, mass neurosis, nations like mad dogs. All this seems gratuitous, horrible, cosmic to such people, unaware of the causes. How can the bourgeois still pretend to be free, to find salvation individually? Only by sinking himself in still cruder illusions, by denying art, science, emotion, even ultimately life itself. Humanism, the creation of bourgeois culture, finally separates from it. Against the sky stands Capitalism without a rag to cover it, naked in its terror." Christopher Caudwell "My paintings are, in fact, a confrontation with … [Read more...]

The Unreturned Gaze

"In the Middle Ages visual communication was, for the masses, more important than writing. But Chartres Cathedral was not culturally inferior to the Imago mundi by Honorius of Autun. Cathedrals were the TV of their times, and the difference with our TV was that the directors of the medieval TV read good books, had a lot of imagination and worked for the public good." Umberto Eco "There is gold paint, but Rembrandt didn't use it to paint a golden helmet." Wittgenstein "Now fashion, as we know, is a language: through it, through the system of signs it sets up, no matter how fragile this may seem, our society—and not just that of women—exhibits, communicates its being, says what it … [Read more...]