Saturday, 14 January 2012

In between 2D and 3D

still from Light Years Projects

Autumn 2010 - 3D 2D: Object and Illusion in Print - an interesting exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers from the Centre for Fine Print Research in Bristol. Some of the work focussed on the 3D printer. This technology can simulate 3D shapes (from 2D material?) and then build actual 3D pieces. Others, such as Jeremy Gardiner, translate paintings into digital video format, in collaboration with digital artist, Anthony Head. On show here was a piece entitled "Light Years Projects", "a combination of landscape painting and 3D graphics .. to create evocative and immersive environments". Paintings reimagined from all angles, brought to life and recreated in many different textures and colours.

At the Royal Academy, London this week was another exhibition from a very different period. "
Building the Revolution" is an exploration of Russian constructivist art from the early 1920s. At this time artists were inventing a new aesthetic language based on basic neutral geometric elements free from traditional associations. These elements, being mathematically precise, could, it was assumed, be used in engineering and architectural applications.

El Lissitsky Sketch for Proun 6B (1919-21)

It is difficult to grasp, but they were using traditional media such as drawing and painting to express the transition between the idea and application. Lissitsky called these in-between works "prouns". Popova's paintings are similarly explorations of basic spatial relations. I can see parallels between the methods of the constructivists and that of the Bristol artists. What would the early Soviet artists have done with our technology? What will future artists be able to do?

Popova Spatial Force Construction (1920-1921)

Friday, 13 January 2012

How difficult can it be to write?

Well, Thomas Mann observed that "a writer is a man for whom writing is more difficult that it is for others".

Ryszard Kapuscinki quotes this remark in his book Travels with Herodotus (p. 218)

Dragon dictation and other wonders

Downloading wondrous apps, in particular the Dragon app which enables you to speak into your appliance, whether phone or tablet, and have the text printed on screen. Presumably ready for print, transfer to document or e mail.

Another glory is the
Dark London app to accompany Dickens exhibition currently at Museum of London. Dickens was apparently an insomniac and often wandered around London for much of the night. What he saw, heard and experienced formed the inspiration of much of his writing. The app includes an excerpt from his famous "Night Walks", as well as a copy of the 1862 map of London overlaid (or underlaid) on map of contemporary London, so that it is possible to switch between the two.

The artist and photographer William Raban has made a video of contemporary London at night, shown at the exhibition. The film is accompanied by readings from the Dickens text. Quite a lot remains unchanged, in particular the number of people sleeping rough.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Life long learning

"As the notion of a stable body of knowledge is receding, a new definition of education could be: everything you need to know and understand which is not on a laptop - mostly connections, context, coincidence, coherence. The electronic speed of evolution implies that moments for educational intensity are no longer limited to youth but will be essential at regular intervals. At Strelka, in Moscow, we are experimenting with a new typology of education: a one-year dedicated focus on premonitory subjects that are on the horizon, but have not yet taken centre-stage, a one-year hiatus of reflection, accessible to anyone..." OMA progress, Barbican, London

I have nothing to say, and I am saying it

"I have nothing to say, and I am saying it" John Cage

Quoted in recent Gerhard Richter exhibition at Tate Modern, London.

Much to say about this exhibitiion by the multi faceted and highly intelligent painter, Richter, who questions the nature of paint and its processes, as well as confronting his own daemons, both personal and political.

But that is all I have to say!

How to build a universe... or a love of chaos

"It is my job to create universes, as the basis of one novel after another. And I have to build them in such a way that they do not fall apart two days later. .. However.. I like to build universes which do fall apart. I like to see them come unglued, and I like to see how the characters in the novels cope with this problem. I have a secret love of chaos. There should be more of it. Do not believe - and I am dead serious when I say this - do not assume that order and stability are always good, in a society or a universe. The old, the ossified, must always give way to new life and the birth of new things. Before the new things can be born, the old must perish. This is a dangerous realization, because it tells us that we must eventually part with much of what is familiar to us. And that hurts. But that is part of the script of life. Unless we can psychologically accommodate change, we ourselves begin to die, inwardly. What I am saying is that objects, customs, habits and ways of life must perish so that the authentic human being can live. And it is the authentic human being who matters most, the viable, elastic organism which can bounce back, absorb and deal with the new."

Philip K. Dick (1978)