Looking at the Sublime
16 September 2017
Looking forward to the assignment I recognise that in order to develop an Idea I will need to understand the meanings behind Beauty and the Sublime. I am fairly confident that I understand the meaning of beauty (at least my interpretation of it) so I will return to that later.
I have some pre-conceived notions about the word sublime, though I note from a quick google search that it has many interpretations as Jane Kemp told me, therefore I think I need to pick a notion that fits with the assignment.
On the university of Idaho I found this definition:
“The passion caused by the great and sublime in nature . . . is Astonishment; and astonishment is that state of the soul, in which all its motions are suspended, with some degree of horror. In this case the mind is so entirely filled with its object, that it cannot entertain any other.” [Edmund Burke, On the Sublime , 1756 ed. J. T. Bolton. 58]
A second quote from the same site states:
Sublime experiences, whether in nature or in art, inspire awe and reverence, and an emotional understanding that transcends rational thought and words or language.
And finalyat the end:
Post Hippie Sublime
Post-Romantics, by the way, may seek the sublime in urban or social settings, often including ones that, as Edmund Burke first proposed 250 years ago, are violent. Standing in downtown Manhattan and looking up, or atop the Twin Towers and looking down, or standing in front of a wall of speakers blasting Green Day (sellouts!) or DragonForce (a band which, by the way, sucks!) and slam dancing, or overdosing on caffeine and driving alone through the LA freeways at 2 a.m. at 95 mph…all these are attempts to capture that moment when the outside experience and your imagination overwhelm you and you feel connected to the larger experience of existence. It’s no coincidence, then, that the leader of Sublime died of a heroin overdose.
The consumer-market driven Romantic sublime lives on in “extreme sports” like rock climbing, mountain biking and downhill skiing, not to mention sky diving and bungee jumping, alligator wrestling, random dumb-ass shit usually accompanied by the words “Hey y’all, watch this! Oh sheeeeeeeit….” and ending in medical evacuation.
An article on the Artiface : https://the-artifice.com/the-sublimes-effects-in-gothic-fiction/ has a definition of the sublime in gothic fiction:
What separates experiencing the sublime from experiencing beauty is the disruption of harmony. As stated above, it shows elements of Romantic reactions to human experience while utilizing fear as well. According to Edmund Burke, the imagination experiences both thrill and fear through what is “dark, uncertain, and confused.” In setting the sublime apart from beauty, the sublime creates more than a positive, appreciative response to an aesthetic, such as a beautiful painting or sunlit meadow. The sublime stems from potent awe and terror that stresses someone’s limits, surpassing all other responses and overloading the recipient in both their revulsion and fascination.
I found the next passage particularly interesting:
In regards to the Romantic view of the environment, the sublime can occur when natural grandeur overwhelms an individual to the point of causing fright or a feeling of helpless insignificance.
And Finalyfrom The Artiface:
Overall, approaching the sublime occurs when a sight or experience is “awesome” or ” awful” in the old meaning of both words: characterized by or inspiring awe, and awe is an emotion containing fear, wonder, and reverence. The sublime questions the stark dichotomy between pleasure and pain because a fear-invoking scene can also cause wonder, an odd sort of delight. In a contemporary sense, it could be viewed as watching a train wreck: horrifying, but captivating to the viewer.
When I analise these comments they all point me toward one thing the balance between pleasure and pain, as noted above the human reaction to disasteris to become a voyer something you see on a motorway when both lanes become congested after an accident as everyone turns into rubber necked voyers and amke the situation worse.
This idea of an edgienessto the sublime something that makes you take a sharp intake of breath, it reminds me of the felling of vertigo you get when looking through the glass portion of the floor in the Eiffel Tower, or peering over a sheer drop either on a cliff top or at the top of a tall building.
I can remember being totally overwhelemd by this experience when I was an apprentice and the guy who serviced all of the cranes and hoists took me up in a lifty to service a hoist. I was almost paralisedby the vertigo of looking down from the small platform, the image to the left shows a similar piece of equipment, the one we had back in the 1980’s was old even then and rather than the nice sturdy scissor lift it was a single hydraulic ram that swayed and wobbled as you moved making the experience a hundred times worse.
This feelingof fear or vertigo is similar to the feelings described in the discussion on the sublime above, I can think of two events in my life that cross into the relm of art where this reaction was extracted from the audience by the artist, both are moments in cinema where the director has played the audience so well that the desired reaction is guaranteed.
The first was as a young man I took my Dad to see Jaws 2, this is a film riddled with this kind of suspense and everyone expects the shark to jump out all the way through the movie, one of the most cleaver moments is when Cheif Martin Brody is investigating the shaw line and sees something in the water, there is a very tense moment as he wades out to see what it is, the whole cinema is waiting for the inevitable shark attack when with a suddend build of sound a dead eaten body is thrown at him by a large wave. The rreaction was for the entire cinema to jump out of their skins, a brilliant and unexpected twist.
The second of these is a moment in Jurasic Park where the children are hidden in the ceiling of the building and the Raptors are prowling underneath, we are momentarily led to beleive that they have left when they suddenly leap up through the hole in the ceiling, I watched this several times in the cinema and each time everyone in the cinima pulled their legs up from the ground.
Clearly film makers have sound effects music and dialog to increase the tension and suspense of the moment, however it struck me that if it were possible to crerate an image that instilled a bit of fear into the viewer while being facinating and drawing them in it may go some way to describing the sublime in an image. More pondering to do on the subject as I know what I would like to do but not how to acheive it yet.
TV Group Tutor day
16 September 2017
Today was the September meeting of the TV Group, founded back in 2012 so that we could get access to some tutoring, still going strong this was one of our biggest meetings. Our resident Tutor Jane Taylor was with us giving good solid and constructive feedback. Almost everyone had something to share and we went round the room looking at the work and ideas everyone had to share.
I always feel very inspired by the crazy ideas the people in this group have that produce such interesting work, everything from polaroid to Nazi Germany was discussed in this session and some very powerful work was shared.
I pitched my ideas for Assignment 6 based on the work of Emily Allchurch and the idea was received with interest, Jane said she thought the idea had an interesting slant to it and encouraged me to pursue it further. I also spoke about the sublime and Assignment 1, Jane’s advice was not to get too hung up on the sublime as it has many meanings.
I have not yet finished the exercises in part one so I will not fix my ideas about assignment one yet until I have soaked up the learning that is to be had from part one.
It was a really good day and was nice to see everyone here, we also discussed the Body of work Project the group is taking on so that we can mount an exhibition of our work in February 2019 at the Lightbox in Woking. This is all very exciting and I think everyone is really getting excited about making the work for the exhibition. within the next few weeks it looks like we will have the contract in place with the gallery at which point the whole thing will take on a far more real perspective.
Preparing for Assignment 6 Exercise 1.5
04 September 2017
Emily Allchurch from her website: http://www.emilyallchurch.com/
The inspiration came from Russell my tutor who introduced me to the work of Emily Allchurch, who has captivated my imagination, in her work she recreates old oil paintings using composite photography to produce her expression of the original work in photography.
I am currently researching the possibility of using similar techniques to reflect the transition required by Assignment 6.
Read more about it here: Exercise 1.5
Exercise 1.4 Complete
02 September 2017
Is it Art?
I read the Masius De Zayas essay, at first I thought he was tring to shoot down the idea of photography being art, but on re reading I perceive that he was trying to place paintings in a box and propose that photography had somehow gone beyond what conventional art was capable of. His language and rhetoric are very old fashioned and reminiscent of a colonial Britain divided by Class, However, his ideas about photography having two aspects: The documentary show it as it is style of facts and the Photo art style of imagined and staged photography. This seemed to me to resonate with the idea of photofact and photofiction I discovered during my DPP studies.
Read more here: Exercise 1.4
Exercise 1.3 Complete
01 September 2017
Exercise 1.3 is now complete, lots of old masters studied and the similarities compared. This was an interesting exercise in looking at what conventions are observed by Landscape painters, I also went further and looked at the norms that have been carried over into Landscape photography and found that the Landscape photographer of the year has been running long enough now to start to draw conclusions about the attitudes photographers have towards the genera of Landscape
Read more about the Exercise here: Exercise 1.3
A new learning log
01 September 2017
I found an A4 Moleskine hardback notebook that I had bought when I started TAOP and not used. It seems perfect for my new Landscape learning log / Sketch book. Since I had become accustomed to clipping and sticking things in my log in IAP this seemed a perfect solution to my needs. I like to jot down thoughts and needs in a book and this will help to drive this blog as I proceed.
31 August 2017
Spent a fair amount of effort getting my kindle working and setting up Caliber so that I could access the PDF articles we are being asked to read. I found that because they are mostly rendered images they did not convert properly, and were hard to read on my kindle forcing me to scroll around the page. I used Adobe Acrobat DC to convert them to text, this left me with some raw text files that had nasty page throws so I edited them into a readable block of text. The result was a converted MOBI file that worked on my Kindle, I found these much easier to read as they worked using the single page throw buttons. There was something about the editing process that seemed to soak the contents into my mind so that when I finally read it through on the kindle it made a lot more sense .
I found from my first read through I was left wondering what I had read, but reading the converted more of the meaning behind the text came out, having digested the words, I then took a printout of the text and went through highlighting key passages and concepts, which left me with everything I needed to complete the exercise.
First Exercise done
22 August 2017
The first spadeful of earth has been over turned and I have completed the first exercise, this involved geting my sketch pencils out and doing some drawing:
The exercise can be found here: Exercise 1.1
Start of the Landscape module
22nd August 2017
Having met the August Deadline for my IAP module I have now signed up for the Landscape module as my first HE5 Module. I have had a conversation with my Tutor Russell Squires and find myself ready to go. I am spending some time setting up this blog after a conversation on the Collage Forum about what the assessors really want from a blog. So this time I have made more separation between the modules and will run a conversational blog on the main page with links to exercises and assignments on the right hand side of the page