Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Postmodernism Notes

  • In the middle ages, it was unusual to encounter anyone with different beliefs
  •  In Postmodern age, it’s common to encounter people with many different beliefs
  • All the world’s cultures and rituals intermix and are all over mass media & cyberspace
  •  “we live increasingly in a world of interconnected differences-differences amplified and multiplied at the speed of electricity”
  •  Postmodern intellectuals have attempted to map the mix of identities, realities, cultures, races, gender roles, technologies, economies, cyber-spaces and mediascapes of our rapidly changing postmodern world
  • These postmodern artists or architects simply take note of the new mix of messages, symbol, cultures and media, and then create a video, song, painting or building that reflects the Postmodern condition
  • 3 cultural periods of which a unique cultural logic dominates
  •  The Age of Realism – the era of the bourgeois, historical novel
  • The Age of Modernism – modernist culture expressed its dissatisfaction with the world; themes of alienation, rootlessness, lack of identity, solitude, and social fragmentation
  •  The Age of Postmodernism – reflect the dislocation and fragmentation of language communities – splintered into small groups – each speaking a “curious private language of its own, each profession developing its private code or dialect, and finally each individual coming to be a kind of linguistic island, separated from everyone else.”
Jean Baudrillard – Hyperreal and Imaginary
  • Disneyland – presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all of LA and the American surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation
  • Conceals the fact that real childishness is everywhere

Frederic Jameson – Postmodernism
  • Van Gogh’s painting of the peasant shoes: 2 ways of reading it
  • the raw materials/initial content
  • surface of color à utopian gesture
  • 2nd reading: the work of art emerges within the gap between Earth and World; the meaningless materiality of the body and nature and the meaning endowment of history and of the social
  • Andy Warhol’s Diamond Dust Shoes: random collection of dead objects hanging together on the canvas
  • Differences between the high modernist and postmodernist moment between the shoes of Van Gogh and the shoes of Andy Warhol:
  • The emergence of a new kind of flatness or depthlessness, a new kind of superficiality in the most literal sense
  • role of photography
  •  color: bright utopian vs deathly black and white
  • a kind of return of the repressed in Diamond Dust Shoes

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Shape of Time

In George Kubler's, The Shape of Time, Kubler discusses artists' biographies and how they are limited in that they are unable to completely depict how an artist's life is related to his or her artwork.  A biography simply focuses on that one single artist's life, making him or her the main unit of study.  The problem with this is that an artists work goes beyond just the artist, but the events and experiences that have surrounded and shaped the artist as well.  Kubler also discusses talent and how one's talent cannot be measured by degree of talent but rather on the kind of talent.  He also discusses various conditions which reinforce talent such as physical energy, durable health, and powers of concentration.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Data Visualization

Far more data than we are able to process surrounds us in our every day lives.  This is why data visualization has become such a common practice in today's world.  The process of taking data and incorporating it into visual experiences through the media encourages people to envision and perceive the data and hopefully find some personal meaning within it.  In Edward Tufte's video, Julie Steele discusses that data visualization is more than just a creative process, but actually more of a linear process of decision making based on three basic principles that should always inform your design.   The first is what you want to communicate as the designer.  The second is accounting for the reader's own opinions and biases and how they will perceive the data.  The third is the data itself and how it informs the truth.  Since we as humans, have brains that quickly recognize patterns, a lot of information can be communicated visually at once.  This is why using colors or images for specific audiences is important so that you can appeal to your audience emotionally and get them to quickly engage with the information.

One lesson that I found particularly important in the video was at the end when Tufte says that it is important when we are looking at data or information, that we see it to learn something from it and not just to confirm something we already believe.  So often, people tend to look at data and see it as something they already think they know or believe and use the data to confirm these preconceptions.  The purpose of collecting data is to then learn something from that data.  It should serve to provide revelations, or show us something we have never seen before.  It is important that we always keep our minds open to learning new things through data visualization.