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Old April 29th, 2009, 03:11 PM   #1
Pilgrim
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Default The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even.

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Almost as if the press and public found the mass murder of prostitutes more socially acceptable than the act of buggary.
The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even. --Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968).

Most critics read the piece as an exploration of male and female desire as they complicate each other. One critic, for example, describes the basic layout as follows: "The Large Glass has been called a love machine, but it is actually a machine of suffering. Its upper and lower realms are separated from each other forever by a horizon designated as the 'bride's clothes.' The bride is hanging, perhaps from a rope, in an isolated cage, or crucified. The bachelors remain below, left only with the possibility of churning, agonized masturbation."

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Old April 29th, 2009, 05:28 PM   #2
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you'll see what I mean, Pilgrim.

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Old May 5th, 2009, 01:42 PM   #3
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Default Temporalizing of Images.

The problem with the facts and mental images of the empiricists is not so much that they are false but that they are static and dead. If the rectification of the inverted images of idealist German ideology involves reconnecting them with material conditions and practical life, the rectification of the empiricists image is accomplished by temporalizing it, seeing it as a product of a "historical life-process" and not as a simple datum presented to the senses. This temporalizing of ideological images can be achieved, however, only by consulting [...] "what men say, imagine, conceive... men as narrated, thought of, imagined". The activities of "real, active men" whom we encounter "in the flesh" can have no meaning, will simply be dead facts, for the empiricist who sees them as objects of direct, positive knowledge. The meaning of their activities emerges only when they are seen as parts of a process, agents in a historical development, or figures in a narrative.

W.J.T. Mitchell, Iconology - Image, Text, Ideology, pp. 175-176.

~~~


1844. Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), The Hammock.

~~~

Canonical Victims - Mary Jane Kelly - Crime scene photo number 2.

~~~


1913. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Woman in an Armchair.

~~~
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Old May 5th, 2009, 03:15 PM   #4
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Great post, Pilgrim. Please keep them coming !
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Old May 28th, 2009, 02:17 PM   #5
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Default Dissociation - Originary to Modernism.

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The real question is not whether a killer could go dormant for years, but if anyone could do what was done to Kelly and lead a normal life. What was done was so far outside the norm for 1888* that I just don't see it.
In The Protean Self (1993), Robert J. Lifton argues for the emergence of a new form of self as “fluid and many-sided.” This multiplicity of self and consciousness—if not first recognized in the early 20th century—was nonetheless a key characteristic of modernism: indeed, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is as originary to modernism as Heart of Darkness. In the late 19th and early 20th century, a major definition of this multiplicity was Pierre Janet’s concept of “désagrégation,” a term that has been translated as “dissociation” and also as “disintegration.” Eliot, who knew Janet’s work, used both terms at different times.

Time Present - The Newsletter of the T. S. Eliot Society

~~~

Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying: 'Stetson!
'You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!
'That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
'Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
'Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
'O keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,
'Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!
'You! Hypocrite lecteur! - mon semblable, - mon frère!'


T.S. Eliot
, The Waste Land (1922)
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Old May 29th, 2009, 12:06 PM   #6
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Default 1888.

Whereas in the symbol destruction is idealized and the transfigured face of nature is fleetingly revealed in the light of redemption, in allegory the observer is confronted with the facies hippocratica of history as a petrified, primordial landscape. Everything about history that, from the very beginning, has been untimely, sorrowful, unsuccessful, is expressed in a face - or rather in a death's head. And although such a thing lacks all 'symbolic' freedom of expression, all classical proportion, all humanity - nevertehless, this is the form in which man's subjection to nature is most obvious and it significantly gives rise not only to the enigmatic question of the nature of human existence as such, but also of the biographical historicity of the individual. This is the heart of the allegorical way of seeing, of the Baroque, secular explanation of history as the Passion of the world, its importance resides solely in the stations of its decline. The greater the significance, the greater the subjection to death, because death digs most deeply the jagged line of demarcation between physical nature and significance. But if nature has always been subject to the power of death, it is also true that it has always been allegorical. Significance and death both come to fruition in historical development, just as they are closely linked as seeds in the creature's graceless state of sin.

Walter Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, p. 166.

~~~


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Old May 31st, 2009, 05:33 PM   #7
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Wink Rites of Spring, 1913

Hi, Pilgrim. When I was 17, I took a required course at Seattle University called 'Phenomenology and Empiricism'. I quite enjoyed it, but I got the impression that my classmates didn't share my enthusiasm.

I'd like to suggest a fascinating book: 'RITES OF SPRING- The Great War And The Birth Of The Modern Age' by Modris Eksteins.

It's difficult to encapsulate the book's premise in a single phrase, but it's a multi-disciplinary exploration of the effect WWI's futile trench-warfare & mechanized slaughter had on the psychology of the World as expressed through Art. (Music, Painting, Dance, Literature, Philosophy, etc.)

The book begins with the Ballet Russe in 1913 Paris, and the chaotic public reaction to Nijinsky's startling performance in the ballet 'Rites of Spring'- for which Stravinsky wrote a musical score that still sounds 'modern' a hundred years later!

The book includes some very well-chosen & bizarre battlefield images (such as soldiers rigged out in terrifying poison-gas- masks) and discusses how the nightmare experience of world-war helped inspire Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, etc.

*This work is currently available for 'Preview' on Google Books, so you can read quite a bit of it online if you wish.

Best regards, Archaic
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Old June 1st, 2009, 01:07 AM   #8
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Pilgrim, your post juxtaposing Picasso and Courbet reminds me of the Picasso competing against the Mogdiliani in the Mick Davis fictionalized movie biography Mogdiliani. Two different interpretations of women.
The contrast is similar to that in the Duchamp Glass, Picasso on the top, cubes and angles for the bride. The bachelors on the bottom are surrounded by circles. May I suggest that there is a suggestion of vesica pisces.
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Old June 7th, 2009, 04:40 PM   #9
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Default From Arts&Crafts to Bauhaus.

William Morris (1834-1896) produced a reform wave which was later to reach Germany, where industrialization only set in after the foundation of the Reich in 1871. Germany had also recognized that well-designed industrial products represented a considerable economic factor. The educational system in England was scrutinized in order to reform the German schools for arts and crafts. A special role was played by the Belgian Henry van de Velde (1863-1957), who had been in Germany since 1897, had founded the School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar in 1904, and who paved the way for the Bauhaus. The school in Weimar was even physically the direct precursor of the Bauhaus, which took up work in van de Velde's school building.


Bauhaus I, Weimar (1904-1911).

~~~

The Cult of Plant and Line

In France as well as in Britain we have seen how the attitude to Nature contributed to the development of Art Nouveau. James Grady who is the first to point to the importance of Nature for Art Nouveau states that "Art Nouveau was the culmination of Nature as an aesthetic expression, and it came appropriately at the end of the century." Nature was one of the many important factors, not only in structural conception but also in ornamental development, and is one of the keys necessary to understand the Art Nouveau artists. But as the process of stylisation and selection of natural forms proceeded, differences began to appear: in Scotland Nature became abstracted to a symbolical ornament of subordinate importance and with little or no connection with the construction. In France abstraction proceeded along different lines: In the direction of a symbolical rationalism of essential importance and linked up with the construction. Generally it may be said that England and Scotland cultivated the flower and the root, France the stalk. The use of structure as an aesthetic expression in itself may partly be derived from this interest in Nature.

If we consider Horta's fellow-countryman van de Velde, who has been regarded as the creator and theoretical founder of Art Nouveau, quite apart from his relationship with the Modern Movement, we shall see that he is probably the most ardent writer of Art Nouveau at the turn of the century, the most theoretical of theorists, and the most vociferous propagandist of the ideas that were latent in the age.*

If we examine his personal contribution to the development of the theory of art, the results will be somewhat more meagre than his numerous and forceful words might lead us to believe. His first official pronouncements on the subject of art were in the form of the five lectures he delivered at the Institut des Hautes Etudes, a department of the University of Brussels, during the years 1894-95. These contain very little that is new, beyond what had already been said by others. His bibliography clearly shows whence his ideas derive, including as it does, six of Morris' lectures, five of his other works, Walter Crane's Claims of Decorative Art, and Lewis Day's Principles of Everyday Art and The Anatomy of Pattern, as well as The Studio-editor, Gleeson White's Practical Design. In his first publication, Deblaiment d'art, 1894, and his articles in l'Art Moderne, he also shows a good knowledge of contemporary English art and philosophy, and agrees entirely with the younger generation of English art-philosophers in their attitude to the machine and their social conception of art, but, to an even greater extent than they did before him, he emphasized that "l'Utilité seul peut regenerer la Beauté." ("Utility alone can regenerate Beauty") Van de Velde's spiritual predecessors are obvious enough, and he states as much on several occasions subsequently, and yet van de Velde deviates from the general conception of his age in two essential points, first of all his views on the relation of the ornament to the construction. Unlike the French, he maintains that the function of the ornament is not to decorate, but to "structurer," to use his own words: "Les apport entre cet ornement 'structurel et dynamographique' et la forme ou les surfaces, doivent apparaître si intimes, que l'ornement semble avoir 'determiné' la forme" [sic]. ("The relation between this 'structural and dynamographic' ornament and the form of the surfaces, should appear so intimate that the ornament seems to have 'determined' the form.")


Walter Crane (1845-1915), Beauty and the Beast (1874)

Secondly, he has a markedly anti-Naturalistic attitude: "La moindre faiblesse sentimentale, la moindre association naturalistique menacent l'eternité de cet ornament." ("The least sentimental weakness, the least naturalistic association, weakens the everlasting character of this ornament.") He could hardly have put it more clearly: The ornament should be abstract, and his attitude is in every way the complete opposite of the English one, and also of the French attitude with its "executer pour servir, et orner pour plaire." ("Execute to serve and decorate to please.")

Even though he differs markedly from his contemporaries on these two points, van de Velde is strongly linked to the most essential of the contemporary trends: the cult of the line. Sometimes he expresses it in most philosophical terms, and sometimes in terse sentences such as: "Eine Linie ist eine Kraft". ("A line is a force.")

With van de Velde the role of Nature has been played out, the line is all, worshipped in its every aspect: abstract, symbolical, ornamental and structural.

Stephan Tschudi-Madsen, Sources of Art Nouveau, pp. 185-186.

~~~

Spengler's Philosophy of History and the Destruction of Nature.

From a Spenglerian point of view, the schizoid culture of the West lies at the roots of our environmental crisis. The Medieval Christian stage of Western historical development gave rise to the idea of total control over Nature. The rise of secular Humanism in the Modern stage of Western development parallelled the historical development of modern technics, the tools for the manipulation and destruction of nature. Thus, the control and domination of nature is the consistent theme of Faustian civilization even though the Medieval and Modern periods created the religious-secular schism of modernity. If Western, Faustian civilization has become the chosen vehicle for perpetrating the coup de grâce on the natural world, then how can this be reconciled with the philosophy of history enunciated by Spengler in The Decline of the West, namely that the "Great Cultures" or individual civilizations have originated, florished, decayed, and typically collapsed over the millenia, only to be replaced by new and future civilizations comparable to organisms in the patterns of their histories ? The answer to this question is complex but accessible. It begins with the publication of Man and Technics in 1931 and is further illuminated by subsequent scholarly exegesis of Spengler's lesser known writings which have not been translated into English. What is most surprising, in short, is that during the period 1924-1936, Spengler developed a new, or at least revised, philosophy of history which subsumes the fundamental explanation of the meaning of history presented in the Decline.

Man and Technics is the revised and enlarged version of a lecture presented at the Deutsches Museum, a prestigious technological museum, in 1931. Upon first reading, most scholars, myself included, have long since written off this slim volume as of no great importance. However, scholar John Farrenkopf, in a remarkable work, Prophet of Decline: Spengler on World History and Politics (2001), has elucidated the deeper meaning and environmental implications of Man and Technics within the larger context of carefully researching Spengler's later writings. Farrenkopf's exegesis supersedes all earlier Spengler scholarship, particularly in regard to the meaning of Spengler's speculative philosophy of history for humanity's relationship with the environment. As he writes, a careful reading of Man and Technics "offers insight into the remarkable transformation of his panorama of a virtually eternal series of independent cultural cycles into a tragic, catastrophic vision of world history as a largely integrated process.



I would like to point out some of Spengler's salient references to mankind and the environment in Man and Technics prior to explaining Farrenkopf's insights into Spengler's generally ignored revisions to his philosophy of history. First of all, Spengler cites Homo Sapiens, appropriately at the apex of the genre of predatory animals. Like Montaigne and Nietzsche, Spengler does not hold back from viewing predatory animals as superior to the herbivores and other animals. The acuity of sight and cleverness of the lion and leopard in seeking their prey has been developed to higher levels by humankind, resulting in the highest level of perception and intelligence in the animal kingdom. "The world is the prey, and in the last analysis it is owing to this fact that human culture has come into existence." Rejecting the Rousseauian model of man as a "peaceful and virtuous creature until Culture came to ruin him...," Spengler sees our species as having, from the start, become accustomed to killing not only his prey, but also his human competitors, but with the unique advantage of the combination of large brain, hand, and tool having developed synergistically over time. "Every work of man is unnatural, artificial, from the lighting of a fire to the achievements that are specifically designated as 'artistic' in the High Cultures.
The privilege of creation has been wrested from Nature." In other words, Spengler saw creative man as having stepped outside of nature, and with every further act of creation becoming more and more her enemy. "That is his 'world-history', the history of a steadily increasing, fateful fight between man's world and the universe - the history of a rebel that grows up to raise his hand against his mother". This human tragedy inevitably grows out of the human struggle with nature, and the outcome is the defeat of every higher culture, of every civilization in the long run. Although this dénouement is consistent with the Spenglerian cultural cycle described in the Decline (as well as with the recent discoveries of environmental history and other disciplines), in Man and Technics it is the result of the universal struggle between humankind and nature.

Gilbert F. LaFreniere, The Decline of Nature - Environmental History and the Western World View, pp. 392-393.

~~~

*"La foi nous est revenue en la Beauté... L’ornementalité... apparut... la matrice qui alimenta de sang toutes les oeuvres... décoratives." --Henry van de Velde (1893)

~~~



Anatomie. Planche XXII. La Matrice.
(Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné
des sciences, des arts et des métiers.)
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Old June 7th, 2009, 04:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaic View Post
I'd like to suggest a fascinating book: 'RITES OF SPRING- The Great War And The Birth Of The Modern Age' by Modris Eksteins.

It's difficult to encapsulate the book's premise in a single phrase, but it's a multi-disciplinary exploration of the effect WWI's futile trench-warfare & mechanized slaughter had on the psychology of the World as expressed through Art. (Music, Painting, Dance, Literature, Philosophy, etc.)
Great book !

I really should get outside Diary World more often.....

Here's an older Dada related thread.

http://www.jtrforums.com/showthread....highlight=dada
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