Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dust is the signature of lost time.

Still from Citizen Kane - Orson Welles, 1941

The City
Lori Nix - Musem of Art, 2005

Via the enigmatic Museum of Dust:

Dust is what connects the dreams of yesteryear with the touch of nowadays. It is the aftermath of the collapse of illusions, a powdery cloud that rises abruptly and then begins falling on things, gently covering their bright, polished surfaces. Dust is like a soft carpet of snow that gradually coats the city, quieting its noise until we feel like we are inside a snow globe, the urban exterior transmuted into a magical interior where all time is suspended and space contained. Dust makes the outside inside by calling attention to the surface of things, a surface formerly deemed untouchable or simply ignored as a conduit to what was considered real: that essence which supposedly lies inside people and things, waiting to be discovered. Dust turns things inside out by exposing their bodies as more than mere shells or carriers, for only after dust settles on an object do we begin to long for its lost splendor, realizing how much of this forgotten object's beauty lay in the more external, concrete aspect of its existence, rather than in its hidden, attributed meaning.

Architecture of Dust
Incognita Nom de Plume

Dust brings a little of the world into the enclosed quarters of objects. Belonging to the outside, the exterior, the street, dust constantly creeps into the sacred arena of private spaces as a reminder that there are no impermeable boundaries between life and death. It is a transparent veil that seduces with the promise of what lies behind it, which is never as good as the titillating offer. Dust makes palpable the elusive passing of time, the infinite pulverized particles that constitute its volatile matter catching their prey in a surprise embrace whose clingy hands, like an invisible net, leave no other mark than a delicate sheen of faint glitter. As it sticks to our fingertips, dust propels a vague state of retrospection, carrying us on its supple wings. A messenger of death, dust is the signature of lost time.

Walter Martin & Paloma Muñoz
Traveler 173 at Night, Snowglobe - 9x6x6

Kraken - AMNH
©2007 - Denis Finnin -

From Celeste's World:

The Artificial Kingdom: A Treasury Of The Kitsch Experience - Rather than engaging the tired stances that see kitsch as either bad taste or a bad copy of «true art», this book presents it as a cultural sensibility of loss, tracing its origins as a massive phenomenon to the nineteenth century. Presenting kitsch as the ambivalent «cristallization» of the lost experience of pre-industrial life, TAK explores this sensibility through the objects and narratives that it produced, in particular those related to the popular underwater imagery of the time: aquariums, paperweights, the myth of Atlantis and Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Feejee mermaid - AMNH
The original "Feejee mermaid," made famous by P. T. Barnum, is believed to have been destroyed in a fire-but some people think this one may be it. More than 100 years old, it was rediscovered in 1973. Some scholars connect it to Barnum but its exact origins are unknown.© 2007 Harvard University, Peabody Museum

From Wikipedia: Kitsch:

The more romantic a work of art, or a landscape, the quicker its repetitions are perceived as kitsch or ‘slush.’

- Arthur Koestler

Kitsch is the absolute denial of shit, in both the literal and figurative senses of the word; kitsch excludes everything from its purview which is essentially unacceptable in human existence.

Kitsch is the expression of passion at all levels, and not the servant of truth. It keeps relative to religion and truth...Truth, kitsch leaves for (modern) art. In kitsch skill is the important criteria...Kitsch serves life and seeks the individual.

- Odd Nerdrum, Kitsch - The Difficult Choice

Memory Theatre
Pablo Helguera, 2004

From Vorträge:

What differentiates Camillo from today's cybernauts and sheds light on the possibly untapped potential of the digital theater of memory is the fact that his data construction always appears as theater. The sites and images of his model are not meant to fascinate in an unmediated way, but should rather be reflected on as staged objects. They are imagines agentes, active, actuating images, not because their specific function is the "painting of an entire scene," but rather because the imagination is stimulated through their agency. Camillo expressly emphasizes the matter that concerns him: "to find, in these seven comprehensive and diverse units, an order that keeps the mind keen and shakes up the memory." In contrast, the technical activation of images by means of computer animation does not lead to reflection but is instead perceived passively, in a reflex-like manner; instead of shaking up the memory, it conditions it. Camillo's theater presents itself as an enclosed space, and, precisely for that reason, incites one to transcend it. On the other hand, the forms of 3D visualization, which give the illusion of endless space, prevent the data-traveler from realizing that the trajectory of his transit is fixed and thus undermine the desire for transcendence.

A Sanctuary for Memories of Play
James Skvarch - 1999

This fundamental difference in reception despite a superficial similarity of presentation was brought about as a consequence of an earlier technological transformation, which makes itself manifest on hand of the change in panorama technology at the beginning of the 19th century. As Jonathan Crary emphasizes, a decisive turnabout in the techniques of observation takes place at this time: In the older panoramas (such as the famous London one of 1791), the visitor walked about inside; in the diorama of 1823, the observer stood at a fixed point, and the panoramic image revolved around him. Thus, the activity of the recipient was literally brought to a standstill – that is to say, transferred over to the apparatus. An analogous phenomenon can, in my assessment, be traced in the difference between the memory theaters of the Renaissance and the animated virtual reality scenarios of today's computer interfaces. In Camillo's theater, the visitor similarly went inside and actively moved within the collection of memories, while the computer navigator, armed with his mouse, is condemned to immobility before the screen. In contrast to Crary, however, I see this difference as being purely metaphorical. It is not necessary to set the body in motion in order to mobilize the mind (that the Peripatetics philosophized ambulando is commonly known to be a rumor). It is not necessary to do away with sitting still in front of the screen in order to achieve mental mobility in Camillo's sense – and besides, the bodily movements of the user come into play again in the newer "cave" installations. What is decisive is the orientation of inner movement. With computer animation, it is directed unambiguously at the consumption of an object; in Camillo however, the self-reflexive contemplation of the object by a subject also involves a rebound movement back to the subject. This reflexivity is made evident in Camillo's inversion of the theater structure, which places the objects of memory in the tiers, where they simultaneously return the gaze of the observer while he stands on the stage and constitutes the center of intellectual activity. This inversion of the classical Vitruvian theater means that Camillo had already effected a reversal of the very transformation that Crary pinpoints as only having first taken place with the diorama. Thus, Camillo stands at a critical distance not only to the traditional memory architectures of the ancients, but also to the systems of memory theater developed immediately after his – from Zwinger's Theatrum vitae humanae (1565) and Quicchebergs Inscriptiones vel tituli theatri amplissimi (1565) through Pierre Boaistuau's Theatrum Mundi (1581), Lomazzo's L'Idea del Tempio della Pittura (1590),Bodin's Universae Naturae Theatrum (1597) and Alsted's Theatrum Scholasticum (1610), to the Theatrum orbi in Robert Fludd's Ars memoriae (1697).

This fetish approach to his collecting and arranging is very clear in the development of Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall. Hauptman writes that Cornell disliked the ‘sexual hoopla’ around Bacall but was taken by the photograph of Bacall in publicity for To Have and Have Not. He decided to do a box, collecting and continuing to rearrange that box via associations until his death. ‘Cornell called these “paths ever opening up,” “extensions,” chains of associations made visual in the work’s box structure.’

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