Guston on Painting

art

A few years ago a friend mentioned the artist Philip Guston.  Go check out his images on google.  I personally like his black and white line drawings or markings like this one.

Philip Guston - 1966 Faith hope and impossibility

Philip Guston – 1966 Faith hope and impossibility

But lets not talk about like or not like. I read a book of his collected writings and interviews about art. What is art these days? Who is entitled to make art? Why make a painting?  I was drawn to a few of Guston’s ideas (and then of course rejected others).

  1. The plane – the plane is not the plane of the canvas but the imaginary plane. This is where you create an illusion. You put two lines together or two colors, and something happens. It is like alchemy (my analogy not his).  I love this idea that the plane of the canvas is the imaginary plane, or maybe like Jung, the imaginal plane… the starting off point for active imagining.
  2. The first civilized man – or the first civilized man in eden. This is related to the idea in the image at the top of this blog post. That the artist is at the vanguard. Art is tied with a transformation of consciousness, or spirit.  The artist is the next step in the evolution, she is creating the next ‘reality’ or maybe we should call it the environment or milieu. I used to think that the artist was creating a new way of perceiving the world. But this is reductive. In the above quotation, the artist is re-enchanting the world. The artist is worlding within the world. Not creating an adjacent world but rebirthing the world.  (Also what would it be like to be the first painter, how do you paint without knowing what a painting is, what is painting from first principles).
  3. Diagram vs life- Lets move beyond a diagram (representation) to something that is vitally alive – that has its own life.
  4. I disagree with the critique of Duchamp and Cage. These figures to me are the star children of art. What is the artist when she moves beyond mediums or through mediums? This is the digitization of everything that brings in the recombination or fluidity of representation. Otherwise we fetishize a particular medium, becoming locked in it rather than transforming ourselves. (Again this leads to Guston’s meditation on Kafka and superconsciousness, the ability for the eye to see itself, for consciousness to observe itself. How can painting paint itself? How can art art itself?

I have been painting this winter at the art students league. I general procedure is that I sketch the sitter, sometimes with charcoal, sometimes with a blue acrylic wash. Then I will over draw a diagram, or glyph or sigil. Finally I will color in with solid (or as solid as I can get) colors. I have stuck with monochrome or one color in some instances. I try not to think, I try to surprise myself with my paintings,  They are not precious. I paint them on newsprint with cheap student acrylic and sometimes the paintings stick together if I am hasty and they have not finished drying.  Am I getting beyond myself? Am I super conscious? Am I creating something that is alive? Am I creating something that is between human and divine, beyond both or a child of both?

Capital and Information

capitalism, marx

I was listening to a podcast this morning and it was talking about the rise of the Rothschilds and modern finance. One of the points that stuck with me was a comment that the Rothschilds had the most capital and the most sophisticated information network.

Capital and Information

Lets just sit with that for a moment.

I have been involved in various Marx reading groups lately, which I definitely recommend to other people. I am not ideological. I am not a marxist. But I am fascinated by systems thinkers and by architects of systems people that come to min are Freud, Marx, Hegel, to name a few.

It is hard not to use, and in most cases, misuse concepts from Marx. I myself am guilty of this all the time. So these reading groups are an opportunity to return to Marxist first principles.

So lets talk about commodities. For Marx the commodity has a vary particular meaning. It is something that only exists in a capitalist structure – where you exchange goods for one another through the medium of money. This money exchange means that all commodities have two parts: the exchange value (the value that we talk about with money), and the use value (what you use the item for).  So for example, when I buy an apple at the farmers market it has a use value (eating), and an exchange value ($1 or whatever I paid).

That is the foundation of capitalism the transformation of goods into commodities.

Now we have this thing called information. I wonder if information did not co-eval with commodities in the creation of capitalism.  Information in many respects to the concept of the commodity but it is not analyzed by Marx.

We could say that information is a commodity.  That it has a use value and an exchange value. But I would not agree with this, or that if we did say information was a commodity we would have to change the definition of commodity.

Question – does information have use value beyond exchange value? I posit that information’s use value derives from its exchange value. Outside of a capitalist system that lacks exchange value, information has no use and therefore is not a commodity.

But, you might say, what about literature. I might have a use for it for pleasure, or to learn something that will help my career.  In this case it does have a use pleasure. But is this the same thing has information? Is knowledge the same thing as information? Am I just quibbling. The transformation of knowledge into information is a similar transformation from a product into a commodity.  Isn’t it the same thing? Knowledge being the use value of information?

Well, right there this is different than a commodity.  A commodity is not split between product and exchange value, but between two types of value.  Information seems related to knowledge in a different way then the way a product is related to a product. A large reason for this is that knowledge is immaterial. If knowledge does have use value how do we realize this. An apple has roughly the same use value for everyone, although some people may enjoy eating an apple more than others. (Is this pleasure a fetish?) A law book though will have different use value for a lawyer than a doctor, or for someone being sued than someone not being sued. Again there are those deranged individuals that perhaps derive pleasure from reading about torts. What is this use value? If the law book helps or does not help in my legal case, will this then retroactively give a use value to the law book?

You see the difficulties here.

Some things I want to explore:

What was information, did it exist, before capitalism?

What is the relationship between information and exchange?

What is the relationship between knowledge and information?

What is the relationship between information and commodities?

 

 

Answer to Job – CG Jung

book, consciousness, jung

I read a commentary on jungian psychology a few months ago that referenced the Answer to Job, Jung’s analysis of the biblical book of Job and then other theological issues such as the Virgin Mary, the holy spirit, prophetic visions and what not.

All my reading now is filtered through a particular subjective lens.  Perhaps all reading everywhere is done through this sort of lens.

There is the general discussion of the idea of God’s unconscious. How he is blind or unconscious to his omniscience. This is not super interesting to me. What is most interesting to me about the depth psychology that Jung explores is the opportunity of human ‘evolution’ by integrating possibilities that lay in the unconscious.

Lets get the banalities out of the way. God is unconscious, or god has an unconscious. He is not aware of his omniscience while he is focused on his omnipotence. Why make Job jump through these hoops – when God knows that Job will ‘pass’? Why is God duped by Satan (his creation or son)?  Ok – the unconscious.

There is also a discussion of the feminine principle/Sophia and the lack thereof in contemporary protestantism, as well as an analysis of visions in the Bible.

But, what resonated most with me is the discussion of the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Holy Spirit (Paraclete), what are these things.  First, I never understood what son of man, son of god meant. And here, I might have misinterpreted it again, but at least I have a touch stone, a definition, that resonates with me. Son of man, that is the next incarnation of man.  If we think of consciousness as something that can evolve, the son of man would be the next evolution of consciousness.

Is divine consciousness qualitatively different from human consciousness? Both consciousnesses are creations of human consciousness and of particular human consciousnesses. The discussion in the book of Job is a product of Jung’s consciousness.  And this blog post here is a product of my particular human consciousness. But let’s look at Book of Job. God’s consciousness is not different than human consciousness in that they both possess an unconscious.  However this is this Paraclete -the holy spirit.

Lets say consciousness is spirit: psychology is the logos of the spirit (psuches) Mind is nous – that is what they do over in cognitive science or neuroscience – noosology. Is the noosophere of Teilhard de Chardin mind or spirit?  But I digress.

Consciousness is spirit.  There is this qualitatively different thing, holy spirit, that when a son of man possesses it, it makes him God. This is the son of god. Then next incarnation of God.

There is a split between man and god, as split put into relief by the book of Job, Job is more just than God, Job is abiding by the laws that God has created but himself does not follow.  We could analyze this with regards to Agamben, the state of exception, and the position of the sovereign.

The creator of the rule is not subject to the rule. But I prefer Jung’s analysis, or my analysis of Jung’s perhaps, that this represents a schism in consciousness that must be reconciled in by a third way, or a dialect process – an evolution, a spiral. The amorality of god and the morality of man must create a new being partaking of each – the son of man and the son of god.

The son of god arises from partaking in the soul stuff of god (the paraclete). The son of man arises by man acting with more consciousness than god, or by exposing the unconscious of god. God does not come into contact with his unconscious through the talking cure, but through the works and deeds of his creation.These could be also called the product of his active imagining.  God’s creation is a massive active imagining.

We still have the split, the son of god and the son of man. How do we reconcile these things? How do we reconcile the false dichotomy of the holy spirit and the human spirit? What makes a spirit holy vs human? Is it mere otherness? There always be an otherness that the human must integrate into his own spirit that accounts for his continued evolution  – ie individuation. Is this just the dialectic restated?

http://www.cs4fn.org/psychophysics/speedondancefloor.php

Requests for Dances! Art of Python! April 17 in Pittsburgh

art

I am down here in Dallas getting ready to teach another amazing CI/CD Dojo! I just binge read two management books on the airplane and feel up on the latest terminology. I might post something later. I was fascinated by a section on culture while reading Accelerate. There is a discussion of how to measure culture and how this feeds into productivity. I am interested in the construction of culture at the moment, however this seems slightly nefarious. But that is nothing new. Plato also wanted to manufacture culture — and keep the poets out of The Republic

In any case, I would love to see a dance piece at art of python. I have been meditating on this.  I would love to see a dance pieces that interpret CI/CD pipelines, build processes, Make files, even Docker containers. Art of Python is April 17th. There is still time! I think this is beautiful, how to perform a DAG.  We could even expand this to be dances inspired by different types of computational processes / theory of complexity/computation. I am thinking here of Scott Aaronson’s book Quantum Computing Since Democritus.

I know there are inspired dancers and choreographers out there that want to bring humanity to computation.

The Journalist and the murderer - Janet Malcolm

True Crime!

reading

Real people seem relatively uninteresting in comparison [to characters in novels], because they are so much more complex, ambiguous, unpredictable, and particular than people in novels. The therapy of psychoanalysis attempts to restore to the neurotic patient the freedom to be uninteresting that he lost somewhere along the way. (p. 122-3)

I am reading a series of books by Janet Malcolm my good friend Elliott lent me. I just finished one of the books, The Journalist and the Murderer and it was both a gripping reading and completely thought provoking on a matter that I thought I would have no interest in – Journalism. The whole book is about the subject-writer relationship. If I thought about writers at all (non-fiction, fiction, journalistic, and otherwise) I never considered a writer in relation to anything, but instead sort of like a monad isolated from the rest of existence – floating it her own constructed reality.

How much richer my experience is now!

So this book is really about exploring this dyad.  What are the responsibilities that one has to another in the writer-subject relationship.  What are the psychologies of each that propels them into the relationship, what are the structures of each particular writer-subject relationship.

But, I have not all together given up my earlier monadology.  When a writer writes a book she enters into relation with a subject. This could be a journalistic/non-fiction subject or a fictional/purely imaginary subject.  As this relation comes into being, there is a third thing that happens, and that is the creation of the milieu, or what we could alternately call the environment, or ecology, or WORLD of the relationship.

It is the construction of this world that will ultimately be the book, or from which the book will derive. The construction of this world cause other relations to appear, such as the relationship, between witnesses and friends, or relations from shared experiences.  A network structure arises, but from the point of view of this original writer-subject relationship. However as the physics of this created world unfold, it is possible that this original relationship changes, or that it becomes less primary.

What is the role of psychology to this?  I opened this blog post with a quote about psychology, and the next book by Janet Malcolm in my pile from Elliott, is about Freud (and which echos the libel lawsuit between Jeff and Joe). There is this manifest, present thing, in the creation of the story. But then there is this hidden world that gives dynamism to the whole thing and creates a certain vitality. This is perhaps the difference between a good book and a bad book, a story with a certain dunamis and a story with a certain stasis. So what gives rise to this vitality, what turns the relations that create this world (of the story) into a humming vibrating thing?  It is that each node in the relation map have their own psychology, in the original greek meaning of the word: psūkhā́ or soul, or desire.  This is the physics of the story, but it is not a psychology in the way we normally mean it – as some mental explanation for an action.

This book as a whole was vital. And completely different from most, if anything, that I read today of contemporary non-fiction (because it is so static).

It was written with such vitality and search for a truth that does not exist, or for a deeper understanding that does,  is missing in long form journalism today, or in books that arise from long form journalism.   There is something so formulaic and camera ready about journalistic non-fiction these days. Perhaps this was the case when this book was written as well  (1990), and Janet Malcolm is just a welcome anomaly. But it does seem related to a pervasive risk aversion that pervades our culture. It also seems to be related to the rise of mediation, as people package themselves (commodify) for consumption on various social media channels.

Writing a review

Uncategorized

I am writing a review of a book.  IMHO – the best reviews are reviews that use a book as a starting off point for a discussion of ideas. It is a discussion between the author of the review and the author of the book. I am not even sure we should call this a review then.  Most recently, I read (and blogged) about Ray Brassier’s The Hermeneutics of Suspicion, 

I am writing a review on Spinal Catastrophism.  First I was thinking why do I want to write a review on it? It is messy.  In form, it is part lit crit, theory fiction, philosophy, analysis. But also I am viewing it through my own lens of the edifice of mega metaphysics crumbling – think Kant and Hegel and in place of ideologies – the concept of worlding. What is the philosophical status of worlding, what is the role of justification in philosophy? What is the difference between philosophy and art (theory fiction)?  What is the difference between philosophy and science. Philosophy is like the marble of the Roman Empire left in Rome. It was all used by other people for other purposes until there was nothing left of the original. Is there nothing left of philosophy? Perhaps. But if so, why? What need did it fill, and what is it now replaced by.

Maintenance

Uncategorized

Last week and this week I proceeded with my annual exams and checkups (except for dentist – maybe I’ll do that in March)…

I was late for most of these checkups. 2019 was wonderful in many ways, I did lose 10 pounds (and then put it back on in the first month of 2020). However, I found it difficult to do some of these basic health checks.  I felt an enormous amount of guilt about this. Should something appear on my mammography, it would some how be my fault since I was 7 months late to my screening. This, of course, is ludicrous – but it is how we psychologize illness (or metaphorize it).

One of my major anxieties with all these checkups is that I am constantly getting my blood pressure checked. High blood pressure, among a few other manageable things, run in my family, so I am waiting for the moment when estrogen no longer protects me and my hot bloodedness becomes pathology.

I mentioned to my shrink that I was more concerned about the possibility of high blood pressure.  That somehow the discovery of my super high blood pressure would intervene in my regularly scheduled mammography because I would surely be whisked away to have open heart surgery.   He suggested I read illness as metaphor / which I have never read. I have not read any of Sontag’s writings.  So I dragged the kids this week to Barnes and Nobel on 14th street and union square. They got two diary of a whimpy kid books, which I have many issues with, but at least they are reading, and I got an onion paper book from the Library of America. I have to say this paper is very difficult to read when I first wake in the morning with sleep in my eye, and probably some degenerative eye issue that only appears int he morning.

Anyway so I read Illness as Metaphor, and then I went on to read Against Interpretation (which is super short).   Whenever I think of an illness with a metaphor I think about syphilis and I do enjoy making syphilis jokes. A feel a lot of STIs have names that sound like sea monsters from the odyssey: scylla and charybdis.  In college I was visiting some friends in Paris, one friend and I stayed in a hostel. I did not let any portion of my body touch the sheets (because I am a germaphobe). She mocked me and got – scabies (and not from touching another human just from the sheets – it was a chaste if debauched trip).  My mother commented, “don’t only people in Dickens novels get scabies??”

It was an enjoyable read, rambling and random, with fantastic quotes, and breadth.  Madness is the new romantic disease. True! But there are others such as addiction. In addition to illnesses there are conditions – these days -that you manage (chronic illness). There are pre-conditions (like pre-diabetic).  There is the instrumentation of life.

“Against Interpretation” opens with a fantastic quote by Oscar Wilde – “It is only shallow people that do not judge by appearances. The mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.”  But all this instrumentation and monitoring in the foreshadow of illness is the mystery of the invisible.

The metaphors of illness, especially, cancer, has not changed all that much. I would be interested in reading these days about metaphors of disability, of cronic illness, or pregnancy, of queerness and gender.

As I was writing this I j had this vision of sitting in paris with a beer (in the afternoon), and I hate to say it – a cigarette. I never was a smoker, but in my youth I did have the occasional cigarrette in Paris (and on hyde park boulevard).

Maybe I should do that today. What I have is an attempt to kickbox, a code review, some coffees, some jamming, some reading group, some biz meeting. It all seems exciting and busy althoughI am filled with ennui. I wonder which metaphorical illness this activity sets me up for, or which metaphorical illness my resistance sets me up for -its probably psychological.

 

 

distribution of words

The Tower – v2

the-tower

I am starting to write some tools to examine a draft of the tower.  That photo is an example of the  frequency distribution of words.  What does that picture look like for different poems? Good question.

Here are some common words in v2 of the tower.  N.B. I had to turn all the words into lower case to make this work. [(‘the’, 261), (‘i’, 221), (‘and’, 203), (‘a’, 142), (‘my’, 130), (‘to’, 124), (‘of’, 101), (‘her’, 100), (‘you’, 87), (‘in’, 85), (‘me’, 76), (‘is’, 75), (‘she’, 62), (‘your’, 56), (‘it’, 54), (‘?’, 54), (‘not’, 45), (‘what’, 43), (‘love’, 38), (‘with’, 37), (‘on’, 36), (‘we’, 35), (‘but’, 34), (‘are’, 32), (‘for’, 32), (‘that’, 32), (‘have’, 31), (‘or’, 29)]

Here are some uncommon words – ‘nice’: 1, ‘lore’: 1, ‘echos’: 1, ‘chorus’: 1, ‘chora’: 1, ‘corpus’: 1, ‘complement’: 1, ‘polyphonic’: 1, ‘syncopation’: 1, ‘melodic’: 1, ‘measure’: 1, ‘joined’: 1, ‘gregorian’: 1, ‘chat’: 1, ‘created’: 1, ‘chippewas’: 1, ‘yume’: 1, ‘indian’: 1, ‘warberler’: 1, ‘warbler’: 1, ‘skeleton’: 1, ‘scrum’: 1}

There are 1165 words used once. there are 1772 distinct words there are 5860 words total. Some of these uncommon words are banal (nice), most of the frequent words are copulas. I may run some other poems of similar length through this and see what pops up.

This stuff is pretty basic – but thought provoking and useful in editing. I am going to go through now and perhaps delete many if not all the most common words. I am going to look at the least common words and think about what sort of world they build. It is what I want.

I am thinking my next code jig will involve meter and rhythm.

I have posted the code on  https://github.com/msrobot0/.

https://poets.org/poem/dawns-awake

The Dawn’s Awake! – Otto Leland Bohanan

Uncategorized

I read the first few lines of this poem (thanks poem-a-day) the other day and immediately wanted to read more and learn about the poet. I have no idea why. Well, I have an idea why. I was drawn to the bombastic imagery.

Bombastic could be considered pejorative, but I consider it positive. Most poetry today is quiet. Finding the quiet things, the invisible things that people over look and making those things loud. Rather than making the things already loud majestic. And I totally agree with that. Many things that are loud today are NOT majestic and should NOT be celebrated. But it is warms my heart when there are big things that are majestic and they are celebrated. Like the f*ing dawn!

I take my kids to the bus in the morning and walk Otto the dog. One of the great things about this is that I get to see the dawn. It reminds me of City of Angels  – the remake of wings of desire – where Angels hear music in the dawn.  My senses are just touched by this poem “Whispers of pent-up harmonies”, “mingled fragrance of the trees”, “A flash of smoldering flame and fire”.

Who was Otto Leland Bohanan? From poets.org:

Otto Leland Bohanan was born around 1895 in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Howard University and taught English at the Catholic University. He also worked as a music instructor at DeWitt Clinton High School, and died in 1932.

The Art of Python

Uncategorized

I am co-organizing the Art of Python with Kyle Conway. This is Sumana’s  brainchild and I am super excited to help organize. Kyle and I were both participants in the Art of Python last year and it feels great to continue something that we both enjoyed participating in.

The Art of Python is part of PyCon 2020’s Hatchery Program. “PyCon is the largest annual gathering for the community that uses and develops the open-source Python programming language.”

The Art of Python, is a space for performance based works about the practice of code, learning to code, or working with technology in general.   Most Art / code conferences or mini-conferences center around the creation of art by computers. This is super cool. I have/still do this.  But one thing that seems missing from this is a reflection on the creation of technology itself as we create new cultural narratives for today.

Last year there were musical performances about coding, a play acting out different algorithms (which was very funny), a fictitious retro of jurassic park (which I used in my Computers Robots and Film Class – what would a retro of 2001 space odyssey look like, of ex machina, you get the picture), among others.

There is a mix of comedy and drama, but the point is that here we put all our experiences though the mill and grind it into the flower or some extended metaphor that I am too tired to follow up on.

Anyway – submit to Art of Python. If you don’t feel comfortable performing or writing a performance, reach out and I can connect you with a mentor. If you have a half baked idea reach out and we will bake it some more.

So far some ideas that have been floated include, dramatic (mis)interpretations of agile ceremonies, meditations on life as seen through a history of personal technology, and a musical number about project retros based on the pirates of penzance.   We would love to see compositions, poetry, live action painting, meditation on ethics, deepfakes, machine learning. Someone told Sumana that her theater was Brechtian – and I agree. Let’s get alienated (verfremdungseffekt) together!

Get some inspiration from these descriptive links.

And to learn more and submit your fantastic ideas please go to our fantastic fork of yak bak at https://artofpython.herokuapp.com/.