Saturday, April 14, 2007

walter benjamin


havent finished benjamin's "work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction" (3 different people told me to read the essay in one day!), but these were some of the excerpts that interested me...

"Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be." p. 220 (from _illuminations_)

"One might subsume the eliminated element in the term 'aura' and go on to say: that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art. This is a sympomatic process whose signifiance points beyond the realm of art." pg. 221 (ibid.)

"During long periods of history, the mode of human sense perception changes with humanity's entire mode of existence. The manner in which human sense perception is organized, the medium in which it is accomplished, is determiend not only by nature but by historical circumstances as well." 222(ibid.)

"The concept of aura which was proposed above with reference to historical objects may usefully be illustrated with reference to the aura of natural ones." ibid.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

jeff wall's photographs::: tattoos and shadows

tattoos and shadows :::

with some limited knowledge on the history of landscape (i took one course at bryn mawr - "poetics and landscape" - how appropriate is that???). the associations i make w/ landscape:::

- - - - the nude (especially, the nude female body)
- - - - repose (ah-hem...see above)
- - - - culture (whether a cultural reference of the moment, or a cultural throwback
to something nostalgic, like the sublime-esque romantic thing you might feel when
viewing a portrait by david kaspar friedrich);
- - - - the hero juxptaposed next to a mysterious landscape (st. george paintings)
- - - - pic-nix.

what i liked about wall's images is their subtlety; there's nothing too spectacular about them - they are, for the most part, documentary; ordinary people doing the ordinary ::: walking, talking, sitting, eating, working. but you read his well constructed/thought out explanations and begin to question what exactly you should be scrutinizing in the image (as opposed to what you are seeing ) ::: what you see is a true "image" but the content is a trick. the images' trickery is both playful and a critiqu.

his work is also decisively of the moment because it's dependent on digital tweaking.