Monthly Archives: April 2010

Unexpectations

Understanding the failure of expectations is to change one’s perspectives in a wise way.

Since I’m still not in the mood to talk about technology and art, I shall instead post here the work of yet another interesting American photographer who caught my attention in New York.

Dana Miller is a landscape photographer who decided to work in the city. That’s a challenge in itself and thus deserved my immediate appreciation.

Shunning cityscapes has become such an easy art form that it has become almost boring. Being a city person to the fullest, I can’t help but admire people who choose a path of no nature to portray life.

In her End of the Line series, Miller went to the last stop of New York’s subway system to capture images that exude life and people’s creativity and lifestyle even if there’s no one to be seen in them.

Seeing the expected is so easy and common-sense. It is much more intriguing to let the unusual mesmerize us.

But then, that is not for just about everyone.

Sensitivity. Sensitivity.

Music against homophobia

The day started really well today. Although I woke up already tired from days of too much work and too few hours of sleep, I was seeing things in a very positive way and basically loving everything. I had my tasks, chores and commitments for the long hours ahead of me but I did manage not to get desperate about them.

My plan was to continue my series about art and technology. But I won’t.

The ugly face of prejudice and homophobia made itself present this very day, so all of those positive thoughts about mankind vanished. Back to reality, one might say.

Then, I shall just post here a song by a group which has been able to cheer me up. For those of you who aren’t feeling so well today. here’s Michachu and the Shapes:

I know it’s not new and they have been talked about a lot already, but they do improve my mood.

A friend of mine who’s a fashion producer used this song for a fashion show the other day and I just thought it was quite cheerful.

So cheers to all of those who are not narrow-minded.

PS: Michachu (aka Mica Levi) is openly gay.

Easy inspiration

Here’s something to help us get through the day with a bit more inspiration:

Listening to Massive Attack changed the way I related to music in ways I can’t even begin to grasp.

Always inspiring. Always.

Double

I very often divide the different times of my life according to my music tastes of each period. In my mind, there is frequently a specific soundtrack for all the important moments in my existance.

Not surprisingly, the connectiion of music and visual arts appeals immensely to me. It is a powerful combination in the sense that it increases the amount of sensitivity one has to artistic expression. In an installation, one may be touched by the music but not by the material piece, as well as the opposite. The best option is when one is touched by the combination of both.

In that perspective, I must say that I am easily drawn to like the work of Janet Cardiff and George Miller. They have new work currently in exhibition at the Luhring Augustine gallery in New York. Yet again, their work pleased me immediately.

With The Cabinet of Curiousness, the artists use an antique piece of furniture with 20 drawers to store different types of music, from an opera to bicycle sounds. The contrast of sounds and the age of the wooden catalogue, together with the modernity of the sound system help elicit questions about memory and simplicity.

Sounds and music seem to awaken almost instinctive reactions from people and it easily gets us thinking (though usually with a little delay). It is as if the message or the idea of the artists could linger a bit longer.

I can’t stop thinking about how important it was for me to keep the music I liked in the past with me. It is like opening a drawer into past feelings and experiences through the channels of emotion.

No wonder I love Cardiff and Miller’s works so much.

Technology and the arts

Many are those who believe technology will some day replace traditional art tools such as brushes, chisels and even the canvas. These people often feel threatened by what the new forms of producing art may bring.

I personally do not share that idea. I have great respect for artists who use technology to expand their artistic concepts, enlarging the scope of their work. This is why I decided to write a series of posts on the subject.

I went to Inhotim again last weekend to check out the new pavilions and art works on display at the museum. One that really caught my attention was the piece done by Canadian artist Janet Cardiff and her partner George Miller.

The murder of Crows is an installation built in a way that the viewer can actually feel the space so that s/he experiences the voices and sounds of the piece in an expanded fashion.

The Murder of Crows

According to them,

(…) ‘The Murder of Crows’, continues Cardiff Miller’s explorations in creating sculptural and physical sound. Ninety-eight audio speakers are mounted around the space on stands, chairs and the wall creating a minimalist flocking of speakers. The structure of the piece tries to mirror that of the illogical but connected juxtapositions that we experience in the dream world. One soundscape moves into another with an electronic dreamscape composition shifting into sound effects such as factory noises, crashing waves or birds wings and then into a guitar and strings composition then into a choir sequence and marching band.

Without technology, these effects would not be possible. Integrating different senses in the appreciation of one piece is quite hard to think without the use of modern tools. They create a more thorough feel to the work which definitely adds something exciting to the world of the arts.

Adding is the word, not subtracting.

Meditation

They really think they are building the future, it’s not like they’re protecting the past like here in Europe.

This sentence, by American-Argenitinian-French director Gaspar Noé says more than I could dare to think. His critique of the European art scene is as true as it gets.

Let’s meditate on it.

Learn from examples

Isn’t it great when city authorities decide to make life more agreeable for its citizens?

Although very few of the Brazilian ones are taking any kind of initiative in that respect, progress can be seen here and there. Still, it is nothing as grand as what was done in Seoul, South Korea, with regards to the Cheonggyecheon river.

After years locked up inside a tomb of concrete, the stream was quite recently set free and transformed into a lovely green space and recreation area in the middle of the city.

This idea is so worthy of praise I am not sure I have to words to describe my admiration.

What strikes me the most is the way the riverbanks were given life when vegetation was (apparently) let grow in its own way.

It is high time people try to interfere with nature’s course just because we live in big cities. As the volcano in Iceland has yet again shown, we are completely at the mercy of the planet’s natural forces.

Maybe we should start from there.