30 June 2005
However, Rebecca also works with architecture, and from reading her book, I'm convinced that there is something very much distinct about how we read something with three dimensions. Her book—perhaps too much in this draft form—reads very differently in the architecture sections than in the painting sections. It makes it clear, at least to me, that reading is not always reading, and that some people are more adept at working in three dimensions than others. Many film theorists are excellent at this, but while I very much enjoy working critically with the television genre, I have to confess that I almost always turn it into a text.
29 June 2005
And as I've reconnected with the web here in Redlands (yes, we're here for a few days to survey the wreckage of our broken-in-to storage unit), I've been pondering Greg's challenge:
...why art history vs. why literature? Does the choice/decision come down to a matter of learning styles (textual vs. visual)? Does it come down to a matter of cultural import (i.e. I [may] believe that the textual is more important/effective/stirring than the visual)? Does is come down to economics?
Partly learning style comes into play, at least in the initial stages, and certainly crucial moments of professorial influence shape your future interests. But I think it's all the same. I enjoy reading/reading literature, I use it in my writing and read it to help me read the visual, and I know many folks in English that do the same. In some ways I feel more comfortable writing about text, perhaps because I know less about doing it and thus feel less inhibited by artificial boundaries felt by those within the discipline. My interest in music also allows me to have certain insights/appreciation for art/literature. The artificial distinction between studying architecture, music, art, text, performance—it seems to me to be artificial more than distinction.
And let's face it, television is much more important than either Art or Literature, right?
25 June 2005
The self-image of modern Indian secular scholarship, particularly the strands that flowed into Marxist social history writing, not only partakes of the social sciences' view of the world as "disenchanted," but even displays antipathy to anything that smacks of the religious. The result has been a certain kind of paralysis of imagination, remarkable for a country whose people have never shown any sense of embarrassment about being able to imagine the supernatural in a variety of forms. (p. 25)
This got me thinking about art history, and why art history rather than (or as a focus for) the study of history? Some of the attraction for me is I think that enchanted quality of having the "object" of your study be a work of art—something visual, poetic, something that exceeds description and can be read in multiple ways. The wonderment part of art keeps art history engaged with that sense that the world can't be known, can't be controlled, something that Enlightenment reason folks assumed and tripped over to their peril. Like we used to say in grad school: you know what, it is about pretty pictures, at least some of the time. And it is about the way those images can allow access into something that isn't of this world. Like imagining an independent India, or a life without constant back-breaking labor. Little things like that.
24 June 2005
23 June 2005
20 June 2005
It seems that those leaving costco emulate various deities by carrying attributes appropriate to their personalities--attributes that deepen our understanding of their powers, perhaps.
Let me explain: one woman I observed seemed to be very proud of her rather large midriff and toted--I kid you not--a costco-size jug-o-mayonnaise on her hip. Like a goddess of plenty, she strutted out of the store carrying her symbol of overflowing bounty, fertility, perhaps also recognizing the double-entendre of its subtle undercurrents of death. I found myself intrigued.
small figure trailing her mother carrying a box of goldfish rather larger than she is: could it be a rivergoddess? goddess of saltysnacks? she clutched the box to her chest--perhaps protector of carbohydrates?
I require a costco iconographer.
18 June 2005
Update: we went to peets! yay!
17 June 2005
See southern Wyoming for more antelope that you can count, all looking just like they do on Iranian rugs. Who would have thought?
15 June 2005
14 June 2005
—Richard Powers, The Goldbug Variations, p. 43.
11 June 2005
10 June 2005
fronesis (of course)
phronesis (of course, taken)
shunya (zero or emptiness, rejected as too nihilistic)
introjection (rejected by us as too psychoanalytic)
brevelatte (too yuppie anyway)
breve (of course it's taken)
(and the above words in greek--not original, but there you go)
more testing to come...