moments before the wind.

August 25, 2006

take comfort in your graduation gown

Filed under: authenticity, digital, music, news — alimarcus @ 10:42 am

Michael Kimmelman on a new Walker Evans show. Walker Evans is one of my most favorite photographers ever. Echoes in this beautifully written article explain enough of why that is, and the only addition I have to make is that Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is a book that falls into that category of “everything.” Some books, regardless of the actual narrative, are about everything; they can be references for so many thoughts and situations and expriences. House of Leaves of course, the source of the name of this blog, is another. One Hundred Years of Solitude is another. The Giver. Catch 22. There are a bunch more.

Anyhow, Kimmelman is usually a thoughtful writer, and in this piece you can tell that he is in my camp when it comes to Walker Evans. And he poses an interesting question:
Is photography closer to music and theater, or to painting? A painting is what it is, and copies of it are not the same. Music and theater exist through their variety of interpretations.

I guess I never thought about categorizing various mediums in this way, and while I understand the point he is making, I just don’t think that I agree. The “variety of interpretations” of a piece of music definitely affect meaning through context, but there really is a fundamental being, also: “it is what it is.” Why would one assign that kind of presence to one form of art over another? Besides, music recorded is an entirely differeny consideration from music performed live.

You can argue it the other way, also. A painting is not just a painting. A painting in a museum is entirely different from one on an easel, or one hanging in your parent’s bathroom, or one stored away in the garage.

A thing that is created is one thing. The context(s) in which is affects other people is completely another. No matter how you see/hear(touch/taste/feel) it.


1 Comment »

  1. you gots to get off this whole, ‘what exactly is it?’ kick girl! the only context that’s ever important is that of us in the world…we can only HEAR (and when I say hear, I mean our brains register…lots of frequencies we’re hit with that we just don’t compute), we can only SEE so many light waves, and we can only have SENSATION of certain things. the business is too wrapped around the thoughts, especially with all the critics, I mean, what the hell do they know? are they doing? do they take pleasure in the doing? do they have to explain what it is they do in order for another to understand? things SHOULD affect us all in the same fashion, assuming of course we drop all the bullshit and embrace our humanity and let created things be physical things that we, by necessity, experience physically…it all comes through the body, no matter what body, where that body be, or how that body’s been treated.

    Oh, as long as there is an audience a created thing is art, and the artist his/her self is an audience having experienced the physical expression physically, of the artist’s own nonphysical parts…many would claim the actually work exists only in the artist’s head and the vehicle, the medium, is just a portkey (ha!) to tap into the idea. recorded music is really only different from performance if there is not a performance on the recording…you can perform alone in your room, right? then you can perform in a recording studio too.

    Comment by Forrest — August 28, 2006 @ 9:15 am

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