th_Eroses is a contemporary art website dedicated to film photography, cinema, poetry, internet performance, behavioral choreography, and art critical theory.

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Meaning-Formation

 

 

“Love I think is the creation of meaning, in many ways”- - 

 

(But more optimistically I do think that there is comfort in the idea of having meaning outside yourself. Lately I've been trying to articulate more clearly what I find meaningful - I think I am drawn lately to the existential idea, that the meaning we have is the meaning we choose to instill or impose on the world around us. I think for me that relates to the idea of sophrosyne you're talking about, soundness of mind or truth emerging from love. I think that love is the creation of meaning in many ways, and that out of that emerges the possibility for us as people to have some glimpse of a more perfect and angelic love, for ourselves and others. ...That most ideally we are helping to create a better world - living beautifully for the angels, like you say. I really like the phrase "the love is there.”)

 

LANGUAGE THAT REPRESENTS LANGUAGE 

v. LANGUAGE THAT CREATES MEANING

 

A loss of trajectory

The difference between analytical, synthetic, and orphic cubism is relevant to contemporary discourse, because their difference is the difference between language that only represents itself, and language that creates meaning. For example, in architecture- Frank Gehry represents only a postmodern condition (the condition of reeling with anxiety, trapped within a Futurist composition). His forms are an abstraction based not on reality, but on an abstraction of a network of relations, motion, whirling. On the other hand, Frank Lloyd Wright’s abstraction comes from nature (for example, Ms. Barnsdall's hollyhock, or the low-slung earthiness of a prairie dugout), and abstracts these forms into geometries that remain connotive of nature. His work is very grounded in the earth, whereas Gehry’s is social, networked, and high-velocity- the quivering air in the slipstream of some machine that has just passed us by. Gehry’s language represents a linguistic condition, while Wright’s language represents experience, in particular, experience with nature. Gehry's abstraction represents language rather than constructing meaning from it, while Wright's creates an abstraction of one person's lived, subjective experience with Nature.

 

One of the central problems of the postmodern condition was the loss of meaning-formation- the “loss of the trajectory of the pedestrian.” The wanderer was going somewhere but then got distracted by the materiality of their own labyrinth, and just kept looking and going and going and— 

 

Sayre Gomez' work is very important, because his abstractions capture a physical / psychological sensation (overwhelmedness, suffocation) that can be had in response to both the atmospheric effects of capitalism (pollution), and the visual-linguistic effects of postmodern historicity (massness, unquantifiable haze), through a metaphor from Nature (fog-smoke). It also has an element of critical self-awareness that is similar to the way the architecture of the Bonaventure both creates and spotlights the loss of narrative in the trajectory of pedestrians, ie it both is, and is in critique of, the loss of meaning-formation. However, Sayre is painting the condition of language, rather than a lived, subjective experience. 

 

Abstraction is a pyramid. 

 

Language that only represents language

Loss of ground is the failure of language to continue to create meaning, and the point at which language begins to exclusively re-represent itself. (A robot creates itself). (we hit the parabolic curve and float away into the aether).

 

ground:: subjective experience. Nature. the human. 

 

the human: that which can not be predicted and created by robots. As an artist, I think it’s important sometimes to do something 100% unpredictable. This does not have to be specific to your art. It could be, you are supposed to answer an email, and your Gmail app presents you with 3 options: “Sure, sounds great!”, “No, thank you,”, or “I’ll be there!”

 

Try saying, instead: “sing a fuschia feather, friend, I have no earwigs here for you today!”

 

This communicates a range of complex emotions and subtle shades of mood that transcend the robot’s (very low) expectations of the capability of human language.

Janna Avner: Language that creates meaning.

I feel Janna's material abstractions are illustrative of the imagined spiritual /psychic processes of cyborgs, and create an aesthetic for Haraway's technofeminism that is very physical. I think it's interesting that those canvases are in a gray (arguably colorless) palette because it feels like a loss of sexuality & spirituality within the material body (my personal critique of Haraway and technofeminism in general is a loss of beauty). This gives her canvases the gritty monochromaticity of a work of Italian neorealist cinema and the spiritual fluidity of abstract expressionism- a juxtaposition appropriate for the apocalyptic content. Her language represents a subjective reaction to historical processes. Her psychic expressions strike me as a somewhat gothic post-human chorale, whose operatic pain related to the morphology of the body are reminiscent of Sean Townley's representation of historic processes of translation through sculpture.

Sean Townley's sculptures

I feel that Townley’s relation to language is a subjective reaction to historical processes. Townley doesn’t value railing against a system that he feels pained by, so much as revealing the constructs of pain through which objects must pass. "The realist is a pasticher who makes copies of copies", to quote Rosalind Krauss; Sean's subject is the replication of process. His replication of institutionally-owned scans hearkens back to Rodin willing the authorial rights of his work to his nation-state. I see the lions as the crumbling Argo, the accruing / deteriorating subject moving forward through time as they deteriorate- mourning the passage of the time and the desperate desire to articulate oneself, before they plunge back into the still, eteternal pool of non-being from whence they came. 

 

It’s true that his sculptures are not positivistic; they are an analytical investigation of the conditions of history, and an arguably ironic expression of pathos in the face of these structures. Though sometimes drawing upon his subjective, lived experiences, they primarily work with second-hand knowledge found in books and archives. They express a deep object-love for the history of art, in all its rituals, mythos, and grandiose personalities and figures, but show very little of the self, or his subjective matrix of consciousness- something I feel is reflective of a general move within the arts toward archive and research-based work in the 2000s.

 

mining the archives v. new subjectivity

There was a move I feel toward valuing documented experience as source material more than subjective experiences with their origin in nature- eg, “I went to South America and studied XYZ cultural archive and reenacted this story with hand-puppets in a Brazilian cave” v., “I had XYZ profound human experience, and choreographed a ballet to convey my reality”. I would say that Cayetano Ferrer’s work exists in a similar wave of conceptual sculptors’ relation to the archive. We'll return to a discussion of archive-based v. work grounded in one's lived reality later, following this brief discussion on collage, and the origin of language.

MEANING CONSTRUCTION FROM THE METALANGUAGE,

AND THE RELATIONSHIP OF ONOMATOPOEIAS TO THE  ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE

Creating meaning from the metalanguage in collage is where archival imagery can either form new meaning or dissolve into glittering nonsense.

internal and external meaning in the image / materiality of collaged gesture

When you use collage, are you using it for the sensory, physical, optical, visceral reaction to it, or are you using it to refer to a network of exchanges that are political, contextual, social? 

 

So for example, if you are google-searching wild mustangs, and collaging only fore-haunches into blank space as “gestural” marks, does the viewer experience the work as an abstract mark that connotes physical power, strength, sweat- or does the viewer connect the work with a network of social relations including the most recent Western movie they saw, the most recent hurricane that battered Chincoteague, their childhood memories of riding horses at summer camp, their friend who drives a Ford Mustang? 

 

Isolated, the meaning of this gesture becomes a vastly fascinating and open-ended question. A fully-rendered flower is just as much a gesture as a painterly mark. Swoop a line of through your Illustrator file and you can conjure a stream of flowers as gesture, as though they were as abstract a pattern as a checkered grid. This is the metalanguage.

 

When used within a work where it relates to other gestures, its meaning is formed by that internal network of meaning-formation. In, for example, an Albert Oehlen, this would become a gesture emblematic of gesture, and as such a shifter toward the signified: the chaotic multiplicity of possible gestures. So the signification is multiplicity. It’s character, chaotic. It’s composition: the multiplicity of possible gestures. He’s posting the palette as a painting. That’s a failure to construct meaning with language.

 

renegade reader

So, background info here- I was actually taught nothing about semiotics during my undergraduate education. I graduated and was living in an SRO room by the 10 Freeway at Grand, waitressing and bartending all night at a hookah bar, and reading about semiotics and media theory all day wherever I could find an air-conditioned environment with free wifi. This was often the downtown Office Depot, where I would flip open my laptop on a sample desk in the furniture section, and pretend that I was shopping for an office chair whilst actually just staking out a corner of the Depot to use as my personal office. During this time, I began researching the origin of language to understand the dichotomy between a thing, aka the signified, and its signifier (name, language). Here is a little about what I learned:

 

origin of language 

Poetry replicates the process of the origin of language.

Google searching integrates language into the socialized realm of exchange and translates language into images.

If we look at the condition of the origin of language, theoretically if a word is used to signify something, its sonic phenomena is entirely aligned with the subjective experience of the thing itself. So for example, if you say seven, it should feel like 7, which should feel like actual seven. You imagine some early human being staring at the stone, grappling for some word to articulate the stone’s stoniness, and whatever stone-like grunt  is iterated should theoretically now be tied with the stone, in a relationship of signifier and signified. His experience of the stone can only be for another what he can express. Therefore, a person or a society can only be what they can express. A society that can sing is a society of song.

 

When you bypass language entirely

speech becomes music,

and meaning is new.

currency collapse- failure of union between signifiers and signifieds 

I think of currency collapse, more accurately termed monetary disunification, as a metaphor for the failure of linguistic meaning-formation in postmodern painting like Sayre's and Albert Oehlen's. Monetary disunfication is when the signifier of currency fails to be connected to its signified, which is exchange-value.  Monetary disunification makes the profoundly abstract character of money felt, on a material level, as citizens and currency-holders are faced with total governmental collapse and start scrambling to deliquidify liquid assets in order to  have some currency-object (ie, singularized commodity), that remains valuable with which to exchange for goods and services. Monetary disunification makes apparent the answer to the question, “do we buy things with money, or with the value that it represents?” Virginia Dominguez in her 1990 work, Representing Value and the Value of Representation, refers to the objectification of reality in the discussion of the relationship between money, and objects-used-as-money- an issue  illustrated by the use of liquor as a truly liquid liquid asset, used similarly to money, in Russia following the collapse of the ruble.

Likewise, we don't speak with language, we use it as a medium to communicate meaning. When language stops containing meaning, it becomes useless, other than as an outcry or symptom of its own inability to become useful. 

When language experiences 'disunification', people stop looking at money and seeing the things that it represents, and they start seeing it as paper. It’s like Oehlen looking at his collage materials, and rather than see them as what they represent, seeing them as a pulsating electric swamp of empty imagery- then repainting that swamp. He is the Russian currency-holder who is left staring at the materiality of the world, unable to construct meaning from it. The difference between painting meaning and painting a disunified linguistic condition is the difference between staring at the mirror, painting the mirror, speaking only of the mirror, or passing through it- resituating our conscious perspective on the other side, with additional layers of conscious sight- and painting with the metalanguage.

 

Duchamp feared a linguistic currency collapse, noting on one portrait in which he’s dressed as Rose Selavy,  ‘the machine optique substitutes sheer musicality for the process of signification.’  How prophetic of work like Oehlen’s. The machine optique here could be read as that which facilitates this access to the pool of language- the internet- this rotating hall of mirrors. 

 

THE MIRROR, THE MATRIX, THE OCULEIE

 

mirrors & media

 

the imaginary : what exists beyond the mirror. 

 

This includes production, labor, value, everything through which an objective world emerges and through which man recognizes himself objectively. A subject is deciphering himself through her works, finalized by his shadow, reflected by this operation mirror. This is the construction of a productivist ego. 

 

The index (particularly the photographic index) was important for early Surrealists in forming a representation of their relationship with the mirror, because photography was an indexical account of the mirror stage (trapped light). This fixation with the mirror theoretically took us away from object-love and keeps us trapped in ego-love (as exemplified in Vito Acconci’s Airtime discussed by Krauss). But ego-libido is the first stage of psychosexual development so that object-love may occur- so essentially if someone can’t develop the ego-libido necessary to care for themselves and present themselves well, they cannot enter into the network of relations that is object-love. Successfully achieving ego libido within the abstracted space of the internet, ie, being able to self-present as an artist and showcase oneself, is important if you want to transcend your geospecific location and into a larger, globalized network of social and artistic exchange. The hazard of narcissism is becoming fixated upon the surface of the mirror rather than passing through it.

Freud’s theory of sexual development

auto-eroticism -> narcissism -> object love

This was the idea that a person moves from narcissism, or self-love, to love of another. The Imaginary closes the distance between self and other, according to some. Language, touching, and art also close the distance between self and other. The child comes into a world of linguistic conventions that they have no role in shaping. Their sense of history only comes with the full acquisition of language.

Do we bypass language entirely through aesthetic representation of ideas? 

Artists enter the pre-existing matrix of painting language

Film photography as an index of light [ Krauss, Rosalind E. The Originality of the Avant-garde and Other Modernist Myths. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1985.]  isolates a moment within a succession of temporality. Captioning photograph signals a disruption in the autonomy of a sign. The difference between art critic and art historian- one deals with the present, the other deals with the past. Fauvists unchained color from its natural resting place, objects. They departed from replicating an object, to making its ontology felt. Poetry unchains music, sound, and meaning- to give them the freedom to make life felt instead of explained. This process replicates the origin of language, of understanding something’s ontology and creating a sonic sign to indicate it in a form that mirrors the content of its speech. In a way, some (in particular sonic) poetry can be identified as a regression of language by pre-existing standards or qualitative metrics (such as SEO ‘crawlers’, or grammar software, which can’t differentiate quality poetry from ‘bad content’), despite being progressive in their innovations of form and meaning.

 

currency collapse: failure of union between signifiers and signifieds 

Monetary disunfication is when the signifier of currency fails to be connected to its signified, which is exchange-value. Monetary disunification makes the profoundly abstract character of money felt on a material level- when you, as a currency-holder are faced with total governmental collapse and start scrambling to deliquidify your liquid assets so that you have some currency-object (ie, a special, set-aside commodity) that remains valuable with which to exchange for goods and services, you may start to ask yourself questions like,“do we buy things with money, or with the value that it represents?” 

 

Virginia Dominguez [ Dominguez, Virginia R. "Representing Value and the Value of Representation: A Different Look at Money." Cultural Anthropology 5, no. 1 (1990): 16-44. doi:10.1525/can.1990.5.1.02a00020.] refers to the objectification of reality in the discussion of the relationship between money, and objects-used-as-money- an issue that’s illustrated again in the third reading by the use of liquor as a liquid liquid asset used similarly to money in Russia following the fall of rubles after socialism ended.

 

Money is a language that is no longer connected to the material which it represents, but it is used to create meaning, when it is tied to a mutually-agreed-upon system of relations. When it becomes meaningless, when when the sign fails to signify, currency is disunified. 

 

When currency is disunified, people stop looking at money and seeing the things that it represents, and they start seeing it as paper. It’s like Oehlen looking at his collage materials, and rather than see them as what they represent, seeing them as a pulsating electric swamp of empty imagery- then repainting that swamp. It’s the difference between staring at the mirror, painting the mirror, speaking only of the mirror, or passing through it- resituating our conscious perspective on the other side, with additional layers of conscious sight- and painting with the metalanguage.

 

Duchamp feared a linguistic "currency collapse", noting on one portrait in which he’s dressed as Rose Selavy,  ‘the machine optique substitutes sheer musicality for the process of signification.’ How prophetic of work like Oehlen’s. The machine optique here could be read as that which facilitates this access to the pool of language- the surface of the internet. 

Passing through the oculeie, passing through the mirror

Being able to see through the lens of our own eyes, look past the materiality of money of objects, of screens, of language- to uuse language not just to talk, but to express the life of the spirit- these are basic, essential aspects of human exchange.

THE DEPTH OF SHALLOWNESS

Shallowness & depth

Tinder- Not to be sexually fixated, but let’s look at Tinder as a medium which can theoretically be passed through to experience love and the formation of meaningful relationships. It has the potential for shallowness (fixation on the surface, and/or series(es) of rapid encounters with a large number of different people that result in physical (non-spiritual) pleasure, or the potential for depth (the pursuit of longer-term relationships that create context and meaning with a person, connect you to their literal roots, which extend deeply through time (the family tree which has brought them to being), and to the depths of their spirit). That requires looking through lenses, looking through people, looking very far through, rather than parallel (horizontally).

Martin Luther Kings' Axes of Involvement.

Martin Luther King (Jr.?) spoke of two axes of involvement (unsure where I heard this quote, or if I am correctly attributing it to Martin Luther King Jr.). On the X, you have community / social involvement. On the Y, you have spiritual involvement. Moves toward collectivization and corporatization in the arts (collectives and 'corporations' like Bernadette Corporation, Reena Spaldings), posit, in some cases, that collectivism could be a valuable force in social organizing in the arts. Additionally, the move toward archive-based and research-based art works in the 2000's placed value on an artist's ability to work within a broad network of information and external knowledge- to involve oneself on the X axis. The spiritual in art was a conversation that began to disappear. Subjectivity was regarded by many as a fiction to dismantle. However, with the rise of Russian fake news and the very awkward Dana Schutz' Emmett Till crisis, I think many artists have begun to see the risks of operating within an overextended matrix of non-subjective consciousness. 

I see great value in artists embracing the division of labor, and recognizing the role of the artist as one of personal devotion. By pursuing a deep and singular relationship with our own, lived reality, we come to greater universal truths than can ever be experienced by attempting to live through the archive or the network.

I believe my generation will work toward localizing our consciousnesses in order to construct meaning and operate within a lived truth.

shallowness ii 

I feel that shallowness and visual impressiveness is the defining condition of being for our generation. Picturism, Imagism, whatever you want to call it- the experience of seeing the self in the eyes of others imbues millennial artists with the desire to impress, to be impressive, to be communicative and relate oneself to an admirable system of connotations and ideologies. We sync our consciousnesses like magnets to respond to various social prompts (celebrity scandals, International Whatever days, joining in admirable trends and behaviors). When one feels compelled to be constantly expressing one's unity with this community through a series of shallow affirmations and exchanges, deep meaningful thought and connection is impaired.

 

The depth of shallowness

On the other hand, opticality, visual opulence, and glittering harmonious multiplicity- these optical, surface-based experiences have deep resonance in the human psyche and soul. Think again to the text Secret of The Golden Flower [Cleary, Thomas. The Secret of the Golden Flower: The Classic Chinese Book of Life. New York: HarperOne, 1991.] which so highly celebrates the experience of sight. The mind has to be localized in order to construct meaning, even if its localized within a media matrix. For great spiritual works that create meaning in opulent surfaces, you can look to St. Basil’s Cathedral, any cathedral architecture really, illuminated Bibles, and the formal properties of the Buddhist Flower Ornament Sutra. I think that great artists also find kaleidoscopic multiplicity in the flat surface- for example, masters of the Persian lacquer miniature, the Hudson River School painters, and the person who made my favorite drawing, a piece called Supereden (origin unknown, located on a Google Search).

the depth of shallowness: Samara Golden, Buddhist Flower Ornament Sutra

Samara Golden's work captures the gloriously, excessively baroque & bejeweled quality of the spirit, and the dream-imagination. In her installation work, she uses the capabilities of printing to manifest the heart's dreams, and the heart's desires in two-dimensions. Time-space is collapsed, and people exist across multiple space-times in one location. It's an inter-spatial collage that embraces, albeit with intense pathos, capitalism's promise to give us whatever we want. It also feels to me like the glittering shrine of a teenage media-consumer. The formal qualities of the sculptures and installation are not dissimilar to the formal properties of the prose in the Buddhist Flower Ornament Sutras. 

Likewise, I find the glittering abundance of the google image search both awe-striking, pseudo-spiritual, and very frightening. In the google search for stock images of flowers, there is an infinite multiplicity of omnisciently-lit, spaceless, contextless, non-material flowers. Like Hieronymous Bosch's oranges, they glitter in their smoothly realized, immaculate, two-dimensionality.

In seeing the complexity of this infinitely-faceted and utterly shallow plane, one finds new depth in its form, like viewing the structure of a dragonfly's eye, or examining closely the technicolor lens of a kaleidoscope. 

Painting’s origin and author unknown. Do you know who made this? Please let me know if possible. I found it on a Google search of the term ‘supereden’.

 

Levels of perception in art

  • material (visual texture)

  • emotional-spiritual (denotative and connotative meaning, expressed through representational and abstract language)

  • light (optical phenomenon and the emotional response to optics)

 

In the media matrix

In the corporate marketer’s office cubicle or the SEO content developer’s writing desk, the body decays, while the mind and spirit are redistributed into the realm of exchange, transmuted, commoditized, ossified, and archived. Really the only ontological pathways out of this confinement are through wires and through the oculeie. 

 

Is it in human nature to truly be social animals? Do we actually like spending time with other people without a cushioning, protective, critical distance? In most urban environments, the matrix is fully operational, and we delight in the visual pleasures it offers.Take for example, cafes. We purposely join together in the social space of a cafe in order to be around people, separating ourselves into individual tables where we can work quietly, while simultaneously being irritated by anyone that knocks into our table or sneezes in the vicinity. The wonderfulness of the cafe is about seeing other people and being seen in the face, which is a source of both pleasure and shame. Your life becomes meaningful to them, and their’s to  you. If you haven’t cut your toenails for three weeks and show up in Birkenstocks, you get the twangs of shame that force you to cut your toenails and be less of a schlepp-o next time. The opticon of the cafe is beneficial! 

 

Sight is the pleasure sense, at least for me. More pleasurable than touch even- maybe. Certainly more pleasurable than hearing, which is often psychically grating, and smell, which is almost unilaterally gross, regardless of what it is. Anchovy stew stock, wet socks, cooking beans, all disgusting. I wonder if sight is more delightful because it has a distanced, intellectual pleasurability- without the occassionally grating qualities of intimacy. However, if it’s pleasurable affection that creates no meaning, it’s probably not really love.

 

repetition

Repetition

You shouldn’t have to say something a thousand times for it to be legible. You don’t have to touch every grain of dirt to know what the Earth feels like. But the fact that every grain of dirt feels like the other grain of dirt creates meaning, and defines what defines the individuality of each grain. Repetition within a set is what makes the difference between the objects manifest. (see, Difference & Repetition by Giles Deleuze). For example, if you paint one painting then paint another, the differences between the two are what make them themselves. If the entire universe consisted of two paintings, both of roses, and one was blue and the other red, then their names would probably be Blue and Red. If the entire universe consisted of a blue rose and a blue stone, their names would probably be Rose and Stone. 

 

The oculeie

The oculeie is the i in the eye, and the eye in the I. It’s the impersonal eye. In Laila, it’s the architectural feature in hell that provides the space of rapture, salvation. It is a oculeie which offers escape from her present struggles against her condition of being and her physical surroundings.

 

When you look at Duchamp’s optimism, his simultaneous enrapturement with the possibilities of the photograph and fear of its shallowness, the Delay in Glass, in relation to the banality of photography today- we have a societal obsession with the pleasure of observing an endless flow of imagery. ‘The machine optique substitutes sheer musicality for the process of signification.’) This swamp of visuality is a reflective, permeable, shimmering lens that pools and eddies on its hypnotizing surface- it can be gazed through, it can reflect us- it reflects a condition that exists at the surface of language. Below this surface are deep and shallow pools, wells teeming with rainbow-colored ecosystems.

 

THROUGH THE MIRROR AND BACK AGAIN: 

OMNIVISION & NARCISSISM

 

Krauss describes the medium of video as narcissistic and regressive- a return to the mirror stage. I feel that the psychological phenomenon of video, or of personal media, is not in the recognition of self in the mirror (narcissism) so much as the reflection of the network’s recognition of self. It’s the effect of seeing oneself reflected within the network.  It’s looking through the silver on the back of the glass and seeing the original you with new eyes. Whose eyes are the original eyes? How far can the transmission go? You can see them seeing you, but can you see them seeing you see them seeing you?  Can you see them seeing you seeing them seeing you seeing them seeing you seeing them seeing you seeing them seeing you?

 

We are looking through our own eye into the pool of collective consciousness, and seeing ourselves literally reified within it. There is pleasure in the reification. There is simultaneous mortification and exultation at entering the collective. One’s own posts appear in the public feed, and we become Stars of the News. Is this really ‘narcissism’, a 1-1 relationship with the self? I see it more as a 1-infinity relationship with the world, and vice versa. Is this narcissism or is it more like, infinicissism… omnicissism… isisicissiccissm…

 

Self-as-image is primary alienation. Narcissism had an origin in materials (silver-backed glass), because the eye can’t see itself without media or another, but those materials exacerbate a pre-existing psychic condition. Eyes don’t make a person a voyeur, the psychic condition of voyeurism does. Likewise, manifesting a reflection of yourself does not manifest narcissism, but the psychic condition of becoming transfixed by the image of yourself does. 

 

‘Most people think of subject-matter as what Meyer Schapiro has called object-matter, ie that people confuse what a painting is about with what is in the painting’. -Barnett Newman (unknown origin of quote)

 

Materials have the capacity to hold the self. Trying to have real conversations in the space of the internet is very interesting, because most platforms don’t manifest depth. The fear of public humiliation and the lack of space to articulate large numbers of words prevents people from engaging deeply on social platforms. Perhaps because these media aren’t tools of narcissism like a mirror would be, they are a megaphone with which you can shout into a public echo chamber. I do feel some people are less capable than others of moving beyond ego-libido into object libido, but that’s not unique to the realm of the internet. 

 

I also feel that our need for affirmation is too great, and it cripples our ability to speak truth. You come to a paradox where the need for social affirmation manifests an inability to relate on a truthful and direct basis. We flutter at the surface, pleasing and agreeing in lockstep with the flux of cultural trends. Even slang (“on fleek”, “big mood”, etc., onset so rapidly that individuals leap to use the phrases at the instance of their coming into usage, to indicate their status of belonging and their cultural normalcy. The nature of this problem is that it exacerbates itself by affirming boring and robot-like behavior, and not facilitating complex linguistic functions, individuality, original thought, and depth of meaning.

 

Social performance within the glass labyrinth of social media. 

Some people question whether or not corporations profiting off of our social relations by our performance of friendship on social media is a harmful phenomena. On the other hand, Mies Van der Roe once described the glass house of modernism as a moral awakening that our society well needed. We all live in a glass labyrinth now, and the labyrinths are all owned by corporations that oversee our interactions and preferences. Advertisements blink and flash. The library is buried in a weird, crusty hallway down a forgotten wing, and it requires a password. The password costs 200,000 dollars. Bikini babes parade around a pool; the beach club sells candy-colored sedatives. Your matrix of desires is highly designed. 

 

Social media is an omnidirectional visual matrix

In a theoretical situation, there is a female voyeur in a m-f-f menage a trois, who interrelates themselves in the dual exchange through the empathetic / vicarious experience of both participants’ mannerisms, pleasure, neuroticism, shame, projection of self. The voyeur is defining who they are sexually by difference between themselves and the other woman. For example, if one man asks both women to perform a sexual act, the other watches casually, with critical distance. She apprehends herself by who she isn’t, and also sees herself through the eyes of the man who apprehends both women. This is not wildly different from the psychological processes that unfold on a daily basis within the visual matrix of urban life, or on social media- even in such quotidian activities as reading in a public space, riding the train, or purchasing a cup of coffee.

 

Realization and hyperrealization

Like language, nutrition is a means to an end, a media through which content is transmitted. However, the form of food has become so hyperrealized that it no longer contains anything whatsoever. Like Gehry’s or Oehlen’s abstractions which only represent with their language language itself, nutrition has become a simulacrum of food that has no substance at its core.

 

Krauss questions the concept of origin and originality. Sherrie Levine rephotographs photographs (eg, After Walker Evans). Nabisco is ‘food’. Hybridized wheat is hyperrealized. Nutritional substitutes are futuristic. In the green painting from Finland there is a clear origin in Nature. It is a nutritious- even broccoli-like- and meaningful painting.

 

Decline in American IQ: the disturbing facts

“IQ scores have been steadily falling for the past few decades, and environmental factors are to blame, a new study says,” -CNN, June 14, 2018 (https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/13/health/falling-iq-scores-study-intl/index.html). The study (https://www.pnas.org/content/115/26/6674), notes that things like nutrition and poor environmental conditions, not genetics, are to blame for the decrease. 

 

Likewise, obesity is on the rise, literally hitting 39.8% of, or 93.3 million American adults. (https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html)

 

I think this is largely due to the hypperrealization of food products, which parallels the loss of meaning-formation in post-modern abstract painting. 

 

The Collective Consciousness: Cultural Intelligence is A Collective Endeavor

 

objectivity: loss of subjecthood, loss of self in object-love, developing objective perception through the eyes of others.

 

Objectivity is always limited to the number of monads of consciousness who participate in that sphere of consciousness. For example, cults believing themselves to be objectively correct in their views. Maybe if the entire universe consisted of that cult’s members, they would achieve some type of state of correctness, in the denotative, linguistic, or perhaps structuralist sense of the word ‘correct’, ie they are deemed by their society to be correct. However, they may still not be correct in a Platonic sense of Correctness. If the entire world consisted of members of a wacko cult who believed in abusing each other, and there was one clear-sighted person who objected to this abuse, within the cult this individual may be considered incorrect, while they are Correct in the Platonic sense. 

 

an aside: I don’t feel that Readymades are relevant to my generation at all. 

Maybe, the readymade language that comprises the metalanguage, readymade personality types in the form of AI, etc. 

 

CURRENT ISSUES & CONCERNS

 

Current Issues & Concerns

  • Photographability and social media as either utopian (universal access to art) or dystopian (impairing meaning-formation)

  • Shallowness /contextlessness & lack of meaning-formation

  • Intertextuality- ability to access vast stores of information immediately through hyperlinks.  

  • Crowd-sourcing narratives- artist in service to a group of people who are involved in the artist’s life.

  • Avatars / vicariousness

  • The hyperlink / shifter (embedded v externally referential information)

  • Strength of character

  • Creating limited networks of consciousness, e.g. turning away from research-based conceptualism

  • language that represents something rather than language that represents language.

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Many of the footnotes and conversations in this piece are referring to specific texts in Rosalind Krauss’ book of art critical texts:

 

  • Krauss, Rosalind E. The Originality of the Avant-garde and Other Modernist Myths. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1985.

 

We love Rosalind Krauss.

 

If we’re talking about Duchamp, Vito Aconcci, the medium of video, mirrors, and indices, or the reification of the pleasure dome, please infer that the dialogue stems, casually, from musings upon readings of her texts about these issues.

 

The information on currency disunification that references Dominguez:

 

  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Representing Value and the Value of Representation: A Different Look at Money." Cultural Anthropology 5, no. 1 (1990): 16-44. doi:10.1525/can.1990.5.1.02a00020.

 

For the Taoist text Secret of the Golden Flower:

 

  • Cleary, Thomas. The Secret of the Golden Flower: The Classic Chinese Book of Life. New York: HarperOne, 1991.

 

Author’s Note: This text was written casually, in a stream of consciousness manner. If at any point there is a phrase not cited or attributed correctly, feel free to contact the author at theroses.directors@gmail.com and we will gladly resolve.