Events and Being in Painting

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So this week I learned about Harold Rosenberg and Clement Greenberg, 20th century art critics. I already knew about Clement Greenberg and had read his work but I really did not understand. Someone said that an art movement needs three things an artist, a poet and a critic. I am just throwing that out there.

So Greenberg and Rosenberg were writing about the abstract expressionists, or that is what I am writing about what they are writing about. Rosenberg called it action painting. What the heck is an abstract painting?

For Rosenberg the painting is a record, it is the record of an event or a process. We can see how this leads to all sorts of things such as conceptual art, or happenings, or the archive as art, or even curator as artist. With this POV an abstract expressionist painting is different from say a Titian portrait. The Titian portrait is obviously in service of the final object, we look at the final object and it succeeds and fails based on the final object. An abstract expressionist painting, although can be visually successful or unsuccessful is a result of a process, that what is comprehensible.

You can see that perhaps Rosenberg is approaching art from an intellectual perspective, or a rational perpsective, rather than an aesthetic perspective. He is trying to understand the work rather than perceive the work. When I look at a titian painting I can understand it. I can engage in a sort of literary hermeneutics. It is a story in pictorial form. When I look at an abstract painting, it has meaning, but I cannot tell a a story about it. It is not narrative.

The only way to understand an abstract painting in this way is to create narrative, and the narrative becomes the result of a process. So the making of the art becomes the story and the end result is the record. Rosenberg was a marxist. Marx is all about other ways of understanding beyond reason – understanding via praxis – understanding via action. (also you can see what I have written about the hermeneutics of suspicion).

There is something very appealing about this. Praxis has meaning. Process has meaning. The narrative is action. But really conceptual art and process art -although it is clever and interesting and I do like it – is actually not revolutionary. It is still narrative. I see now what some of these writers were trying to do, Stein and Joyce, to break out of narrative with words… but we still try and find the hidden story.

But we have an opportunity to go beyond this with abstract art. What if art has no story. If the picture has no story.

It is what it is – the paint on the canvas. This is radical. This is radical presence. It is the result of a process as everything is, but it is not there to educate you on process on the narrative. We have already been through that. Instead it is to bring you into the present.

It is easy to dismiss this as product over process, ends justify the means, and we can reduce this to all sorts of commercialism and capitalism and corner cutting. But that is not what I mean. The question is what does abstract art do that other art does not do.

To say that it makes us think about process is to say that what is on the canvas is meaningless, it is so bad that we can only think about the process. This is a sort of nihilism.

To take the painting as it is, without a story… as perhaps source or “being” as Jean Gebser talks about is a more radical interpretation. An abstract painting in its true materiality shows us something about our source from which process flows not the end of process.

For Greenberg the painting is about the painting, it is about the paint, the canvas, the thing you see, not the thing you interpret or project or narrate.

EPO – the ever present origin – the first paragraph

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At the beginning of covid I read the book The Listening Society by Hanzi Freinacht. I really loved it. There were other people I had read that were referenced in this book, Ken Wilbur, Claire Graves, but I started reaching out… on the net to learn more about the author and these ideas… I came upon the world of integral. Which is really not considered serious for serious philosophers. And I am a serious person, but I am also frivolous and I enjoy these works.

Anway in my wanderings along the Integral dark web – I mean the integral left – I mean – you get the picture -maybe … I read Jean Gebser’s The Ever Present Origin (EPO). I liked it fine. But it was not my favorite, it did not impact me like some of the other books I had read, like perhaps the listening society, or other works – like this great small book I read on Cezanne by Roger Fry. So I am taking Jeremy Johnson’s class doing deep reading of EPO. What am I missing.

Today we did a deep reading of the first paragraph. The prompt was sort of how does the the passage make you feel. It reminded me of a philosophical discussion I participated in (during covid) where we all ready a line from some philosopher and talked about how it made us feel – It was a john Verbaeke exercise.

Cultivating Wisdom with John Vervaeke #6
Cultivating Wisdom with John Vervaeke #7

I was trying to be present with the paragraph but I am going to now tell you what my mind.

origin – donna haraway, here now – hegel, concretizing – simondon, continuous vs discrete, eternal, why the word origin, outside of time, bergson is inside time, what does it mean to be outside time – what does it mean to be a container that is not a container

system in g

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How does Meredith work? I make decisions from my body which means I move very fast, since the body moves faster than the mind.

When I am painting it comes from my spleen, how does my spleen feel – maybe a touch of purple. When I write poetry it comes from my spleen. When I code it comes from my spleen. If it comes from my mind, if any of it comes from my mind it is garbage.

This is just my process.

If something feels right in my body then I do it. I cannot always explain it. I think of myself as a massive neural net of all my organs and my hormones and my dendrites and all that biology. I read a book, practice tai chi, watch a movie, play with my kids, whatever I do – it all is processed and digested in my body. Then the outcome is the decision of the body – like use the word willow in this poem. What is the causal line from the input to the output? I have no idea! Can we even do that? Does causality work that way? This is the question with AI neural nets as well. How can we understand the architecture of the net.

I am not recommending this as a practice for you dear reader, unless you think it is your process or a process that works for you. Everyone needs to find their own process.

So I move fast. For many people this is disconcerting. For many people it brings up concerns, is what I am doing really thought out. But most of all for many people it does not make sense. Hell most of the time it does not make sense to me. But since I have started doing this, my life has fallen into place, my decisions feel good. Again this is my process, and the thing about the world today is everyone has to find their own process or system.

Lets call this a system not a process… because a system works in a particular way this is how my system works. I mean I do have a website systempoetics.com. I am experimenting with a concept – systeming or system in g (I have a domain). This was a happy accident since I was looking for systeming.

The G string on a 6 string guitar, of all the strings, is the most difficult to keep in tune. There are all these hacks to keep this string in tune. Why is this the case? There are many reasons.. but this is the edge of the system or the poetics of the system (or as rudy rucker would say the gnarl). The G note! So system in g… this is the beginning of something.

Performance Ritual and Slavery

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I am doing a reading group right now and we are reading texts around slavery

We read Debt by David Graber, Slavery And Social DeathBy Orlando Patterson and this week Scenes Of SubjectionBy Saidiya Hartman.

One thing the Patternson and Hartman have discuss is that making someone a slave involves a process,,,, it just does not happen by itself

Patternson focus on the ritual. That turning someone into a slave involves various rituals. It is as if this change in the social order from a human into a slave needs to be mediated by a ritual (because it is

Hartman focuses on performance. That the slave defines herself in terms of acting a certain artificial way. This could be in singing songs that occult terrible treatment, this could be in self harm, this could be work practices. This performance is to subvert the order imposed upon them by the dominant power.

So in one case order is a given, in another case order is constructed, in one case ritual creates order, in another performance subverts order or refines order. What is ritual, what is performance?

There is a relation between performance and ritual and society itself is performed or is a ritual … perhaps it is how we co construct our world.

Art and Music and Technology and Abstraction

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Another very seductive header. A few post ago I wrote about the diagonal with Mondrian and how diagonals do not work. What is going on?

I am thinking about the renaissance about the revolution in perspective. Perspective expressed visually an experience of space that people had BUT it is not the only expression of space.

What is abstract art doing?

Well it is the expression of what it is in someone’s mind, their body… BUT what IS that a representation of?

So here is a theory. Lets say we believe in some sort of kantian transcendentalism, that there are categories through which we perceive the world. These categories can be eternal structures ,they can evolve (a la Hegel), they can be co-created by us living in the world and with our instruments (phenomenology/post phenomenology) … but the main thing is that perception is mediated … there is an interface.

So what are we painting when we paint abstract? We are panting the interface. We are painting the medium. We are painting the transcendental categories of experience.

Also I had a very interesting discussion about K-Space & Gaussian is a way to break down the visual plane like FFTs break down the musical plane.

Art and Music And Technology

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This is a broad topic… let me tell you a story.

Yesterday I was binge listening to Hermitix podcasts. The episode with musician and theorist Francois Bonnet stuck in my head particularly. And I thought of a few things…

a) There has been a ton of technological innovation in music: phonograph, recording devices, electric instruments, midi, music synthesis. However all of this still falls under the header of music. There is something very broad about music… and unified. A symphony recorded and played back, a symphony played with an electric violin, with prepared piano, with midi, with a synth, is still a symphony.

2) There has also been a ton of technological innovation in the visual arts: the photograph, different printmaking technologies (silk screening), filmmaking, animation, compositing. But this this does not fall under the header of painting. A photograph of a painting is a photograph, a recording of a symphony is a symphony. Why is that?

Thomas Kuhn and Painting

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Today Thomas Kuhn came up in my painting crit group. One of the members said that our teacher could see beyond the current paradigm.

Who is Thomas Kuhn and what is a paradigm shift?

Thomas Kuhn was a 20th century philosopher of science. His seminal work was the structure of scientific revolutions. It presents the notion of the paradigm shift. A paradigm is the context within which science happens, like newtonian laws of physics. Within the newtonian universe many things dont make sense. We need to shift to a new paradigm – a quantum universe in order to create new laws. This sort of rupture is how science happens, not in continuous developments. How does our conception of the world frame our experiments and theories etc. This is the paradigm.

There is a relationship to painting. Paradigm shifts can perhaps be used to understand different cultural moments and painting eras, the cubists, the color field painters etc.

But there is something deeper!

Worlding!

The paradigm shift is about a world. The paradigm is really a world. I do think there is a relationship between phenomenology and post-phenomenology in particular and the notion of paradigm. Phenomenology has the notion of the life world, that we participate in the activity of creating a world by living in the world. But there are perhaps other worlds. The tools we construct create a framing for us to view the world, if we create a ruler with inches, objects have height and width in inches. The tools we have create our description of the world. Ok so with

Before Thomas Kuhn the idea was that science progressed continuously, or that there was a scientific revolution before which was no science and after which there was science. But now we have normal science, and normal science is science that exists within a particular paradigm. But there are other sciences better sciences larger sciences…. there are different color worlds different planar wolds … different representational worlds.

Pressure

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I have a bunch of things happening now that I associate with pressure: deadlines, checkins, milestones, and so forth. I am lucky in that I don’t have pressure around things like my health or fulfilling my basic needs. Should I not meet any of these “deadlines” nothing terrible will happen. But why do things in the first place? Sometime people have actual deadlines. This is really often not the case. But I do sometimes find deadlines helpful in setting a boundary around what I want to do. I imagine myself a soap bubble and the deadline is the membrane, the bubble membrane. How beautiful is that to be a bubble floating through the air. Maybe it is a fragrent bubble made of cotton candy or french fries, or nachos. That sounds a bit heavy and perhaps unappealing. Lets keep it a light fragrant bubble floating through the air filtering light reflecting refracting. I am connecting with my higher self right now. My higher self just wants to sit and play Italiana on the guitar all day. My higher self is improving tremendously on this piece and in certain points it is like the gears in the head of my higher self connect with the gears of this music with the bass and the treble and it is like all the gears of the universe and all the atomic spins and the subatomic spins and all the elements popping in and out of existence in the multiverse are playing the same song.

Now that the multiverse is a plot point in a spiderman blockbuster movie – it some how loses esoteric power, poetic power, even power of the laws of physics. Imagine a movie revolving around the crazy theory that the earth revolves around the sun. (I am being facetious – I am not a flat earther or a Ptolomist.

What is the mystery of the universe to unravel today? I am reminded of the lists in DaVinci’s notebooks things like: the origin of sand in rivers, tides, eddies, current, foam. What are the questions pressing for today?

It is difference not essence?

Why is there lack and abundance

why is there sickness and health

why is there death and life

why is the lethargy and energy

I am listening to the wind to find the questions

What have I learned from doing altMBA

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TLDR – I dont have to do the reading.

I am doing altMBA. I know a few people that have done it, one person who I love who loved it, one person I love who is mixed about it, one person I am mixed about it and I’m not sure how they feel about it – you get the picture. My experience of altmba is sort of like being in the Qdoba in the Dallas Fort Worth airport. I thought it would be more ALT but appears to be more MBA. I have a week left but just now I had an epiphany.

I do not have to do the readings!

I love reading, I love doing the work – I am like the anti tim ferriss. I am not trying to game anything – I am not optimizing anything – I am taking the long way – the way of junk dna. I take it all in because I like it like that. I don’t know how my digestion system works how my metabolic. I even sometimes eat at the Qdoba at the DFW airport and enjoy it.

Anyway I am writing this while in a book discussion for a book that I did not read and I’m like and yes I don’t have to do the reading.

Maybe you also don’t have to do the reading. I am talking about me because that is really the only experience I have – the experience of being me.

Its not that I am such a genius that I don’t have to do the reading – although who knows -maybe that is true too – but really it is because

a) I know more than I think I know

b) I can learn what I want or need to learn in other ways

c) its ok just to read the book review or the response – often this is enough for the spark in me

d) I can read what I want – I dont have to read like a stranded person in a desert looking for an oasis desperate for water.

People are just throwing water at me all the time. Maybe it is not clean, or tasty, or with high pH, but if I want a particular kind of water I can get it and responses to the prompt.

Anyway I dont have to do the reading – I’m liberated. Do you have to do the reading? Probably not?

What do you want to read? What reading do I want to do ?

Procedural Landsapes

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I am working on a poetry book, the poems are related in a fractal way, a self similar way. I have a book called An Interface for a fractal landscape. It is poetry about creating fake landscapes, procedural landscapes using fractal mathematics (I think). I am attracted to this sort of work – I have a certain fetish for code that is used in ways that code ought not be used. Poetry is language used in ways language ought not be used, or was not intended to be used. Poetry makes language more powerful. Code is powerful when it is run through a compiler. Code as poetry is less powerful, in the sense of performative, but can code as poetry be powerful in another way, can it be erotic? Can it be generative as a life force? Is code as poetry the true artificial intelligence, or artificial life.

I read Ulises Carrion‘s book on sonnets. It is the same sonnet by Dante Gabriel Rossetti written a number of times with slightly different perspectives, Germanic Sonnet, Musical Sonnet, Incomplete Sonnet. The world of the sonnet is expanded by parallel worlds, bubble worlds of the sonnet populated with permutations from the original sonnet. Carrion‘s original version apparently also had these drawings, which themselves appear procedural or algorithmic. My version of the text does not have this. Sonnet comes from the word song, stanza comes from the word room. These images of Carrion look like floor plants or midi diagrams.

I am looking at an interface for fractal landscape and I loved the images of fake geologies. What is fake granite? What is the molecular structure of fake granite? It is code. It is ascii. It is a hidden layer that a machine learning algorithm devices when ingesting images of granite. There is an insert of a black and white rock, and then ascii art waves or dots. Is this what the compiler sees? Is this what the computer agent sees? Does it matter? Does it only matter what the poet sees. I was thinking of Vija Clements who’s body of work includes both pictures or rocks and hyper realistic drawings of water and outerspace. This is a leaning in to the human visual perception of the eye, while “Fractal Landscape” leans into computer perception, what was left out of perception, what is reduced.

I think of Eros and Byung-Chul Han and a creative misreading. Here Eros is metaphysics, the cosmogenesis creating worlds. The models of Owen Barfield, the idols are not erotic they are not metaphysics they are the procedural generation -the fractal landscapes. I am writing a bunch of poems I originally said they were related in a fractal way, I then thought perhaps they were related in the aleatory way (chance, a throw of the dies mallarme style). But this is regressive. What is beyond fractal? I am looking ergodic noo