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the new transcendentalist school of art

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music: All Imperfect Things, Michael Nyman [Feb. 19th, 2007|05:35 pm]
the new transcendentalist school of art

title of piece: All Imperfect Things
artist: Michael Nyman, The Piano OST
medium: Movie soundtrack by a minimalist composer who is not Philip Glass. And what a movie! And what a composer! OH GOD. This is the music which accompanies the following sceneCollapse )
your BIG transcendental feelings: I dare not sully this with words. Listen to it at full volume. I dare only say that, to me, this is the entire universe in a single atom.

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film: hero (scene) [Jan. 12th, 2007|12:45 am]
the new transcendentalist school of art

title of piece: The desert fight scene, Hero
artist: Zhang Yimou (director), Jet Li and Maggie Cheung (actors), all the people who made the costumes, choreographed, Tan Dun (composer), etc.
your big transcendental feelings: As a word of warning, I adore magical realism. It doesn't break my suspension of disbelief, quite the opposite, it fuels it. I watch this and think, "Yes, humans can do these things." They can fly out from under each other, they can slide back on the ball of their foot. Even though I intellectually know it's all wires and I can admire Jet Li's physical prowess (I'd be swinging around clumsily like a puppet on those things), I emotionally believe all of these fight scenes. They're beautiful - the discrete color schemes, the crisp image, the winds of the desert - and they're so much fun and so exhilirating.

plus one more, for comparisonCollapse )
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Lot's Wife by Anselm Kiefer [Jan. 1st, 2007|02:04 pm]
the new transcendentalist school of art

Lot's Wife by Anselm KieferCollapse )

title of piece: Lot’s wife
artist: Anselm Kiefer
medium: Painting, made with paint, pieces of straw, twigs and soil. It shows two railroad tracks, stretching into the distance – the horizon a bleak, white sky.
your BIG transcendental feelings:

The painting takes its title from the Bible story of Lot’s wife, who was told not to turn back and look at the destruction of Sodom, but who did – and was turned to salt.

Kiefer’s art has a tendency to deal with history and memory, and specifically German history, and this is no exception. Just as Lot’s wife, Kiefer looks back, seeing what he has left behind.
What kind of Sodom has existed and been destroyed in his past, as well as what kind of Sodom he has escaped from. Keeping in mind that this picture deals with German history, the presence of the railroad track, makes me think of the railroad to Auschwitz.

But unlike Lot’s Wife neither Kiefer nor we, the viewers, are turned to salt – and the picture seems to say that sometimes we have to look back. Sometimes we have to view the evil we leave behind us.

The pieces of straw, twig and soil incorporate the very land itself into the picture and makes it tangible. The land becomes present in the painting in a way it would not have been had Kiefer used just paint. The result is a grounding of the picture. What Kiefer shows isn’t just a parable or a biblical reference, it is real as the twigs and soil is real.

In short this painting gives me chills.

cross posted to baleanoptera
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Ugolino [Dec. 20th, 2006|07:01 pm]
the new transcendentalist school of art

title of piece: Ugolino
artist: August Rodin
medium: sculpture
your BIG transcendental feelings:

Apparently the real person was called Ugolino della Gherardesca, and he was an Italian noble from Pisa. Posterity knows him better as a one of the damned encountered by Dante in Inferno - for Ugolino ended up eating his children. Rodin has chosen to portray that fatal moment when Ugolino, blinded by the darkness and mad by hunger, is searching out for the bodies - trying to find something to eat.

So why this? Because it scares the crap out of me. It spooked me the first time I saw it, and then I was told the Ugolino story and the sculpture started to terrify me. Realistically I know it's an art work, but it doesn't help. The odd thing is that the sculpture isn't instantly scary. It's a fear that grows. It plays on your imagination - it needs your dark fantasies and nightmares to work. And that is slightly brilliant - and deeply troubling at the same time.

The story told by Dante is also terrifying so I'll add it as well. It was after all from here that Rodin took his inspiration.
The lines in Inferno:

canto xxxiii 1-73

Raising his mouth from the repulsive meal
Of the skull, the sinner wiped his lips on the hair
Of the shade he'd been devouring with such zeal.

He began: Collapse )
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real life: oppenheimer's reaction to the bomb [Dec. 19th, 2006|07:06 pm]
the new transcendentalist school of art

title of piece: Oppenheimer's reaction to the first successful nuclear test
artist: J. Robert Oppenheimer
medium: real life, text, image
your BIG transcendental feelings: I've often debated whether this was staged or prepared, or whether he was really improvising. The quivering chin and HUGE BRAIN makes me believe that, yes, maybe Oppenheimer really was reminded of a passage from the Bhagavad Gita while watching the bomb. It's a bit like Neil Armstrong's comment when he stepped on the moon. In a way, I guess it doesn't matter, as I'm evaluating it from an aesthetic perspective - not one of authenticity, necessarily. And I've always found this an incredibly powerful, moving video. There's just something about it.

the video clip itself
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The Things They Carried [Dec. 18th, 2006|09:40 am]
the new transcendentalist school of art


title of piece: The Things They Carried
artist: Tim O'Brien
medium: text
your BIG transcendental feelings:
Technically, this book can be classed as a "war novel," but I fell in love with it for aesthetic reasons: the fragmented, vignette storytelling style that circles back and forth between past and future; the moments of beauty, absurdity, and gut-wrenching horror; the sharply-drawn characters; the pitch-perfect prose; the blurring of fact and fiction in the service of "truth." O'Brien never flinches away from the hideousness of war, but at the same time his book also transcends it through its insistence on humanity. As O'Brien's fictionalized self says at the end of one of the chapters, "It wasn't a war story. It was a love story."

excerptCollapse )

The Things They Carried on Amazon.
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the atlantic road [Dec. 17th, 2006|10:10 pm]
the new transcendentalist school of art

So, I'll just jump right in and post something...

title of piece: The Atlantic Road
artist: Um..an engineer in the Road and Transport Department of Norway I guess.
medium: Architecture, Nature (not made by the aforementioned engineer btw. )
your BIG transcendental feelings:
This road is about 8 km long, and is situated in one of the stormiest, harshest regions of Norway. It was said that this was a stretch of land impossible to bridge. Someone decided to prove them wrong. During the construction the workers experienced all in all 12 hurricanes.

I love how the road folds itself into nature, and actually manages to add to the landscape. Unlike some architecture this road isn't an intrusion, but a complement. Also the way the road looks like nothing else I've ever seen - and the way it looks slightly sci-fi. I love that when you stand on it the wind is sometimes so strong that you can lean against it - without falling down.
picture cutCollapse )

And I get all sentimental and teary by the thought that this road isn't just a scenic route, but a lifeline for the people that live next to it. Then again I can get teary very easily...
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music: Grace, Jeff Buckley [Dec. 17th, 2006|07:24 pm]
the new transcendentalist school of art

title of piece: Grace
artist: Jeff Buckley
media: music, text
your BIG transcendental feelings: This is an interesting example, because here is a song whose verses I generally feel little for, but whose chorus absolutely blows me away, every single time. The "Jeff Buckley vibe" is very particular for me (and you'll probably laugh), but it's always forests and night, green and blue, paper lanterns, stars, dolphins, AND SO MUCH MORE, limitless and incredible. I don't know what the dolphins are doing there, don't ask, they're just there. (Actually, I think they're some sort of synaptic remnant from that old Sega Genesis game, Echo... which was... sort of Jeff Buckley-esque.)

Grace, Jeff Buckley
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text: The Cell (Star Wars fanfic) [Dec. 17th, 2006|07:22 pm]
the new transcendentalist school of art

title of piece: The Cell
artist: obaona
medium: text (fanfic!)
your BIG transcendental feelings: This fic is bigger than Star Wars. It's bigger than fanfiction as a genre, and a lot of writing in general. It's something HUGE and amazing dressed up in a too-small Star Wars fanfic t-shirt. So much is happening: it makes me think of the equality and inequality of love, the nature of reality and our limited perceptions, social behavior, human adaptability. I once made a huge faux pas by comparing it to Elie Wiesel's Night and proclaiming it the victor. I've since recanted... obviously you can't separate Night from the reality it's grounded in, and that reality inevitably makes it more important. But, if we lived in a purely aesthetic vacuum, no context and no real world strings attached, I would say this fic is up there with Night.

The Cell, by Obaona
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film: henry v (scene) [Dec. 17th, 2006|07:04 pm]
the new transcendentalist school of art

title of piece: The St. Crispin's Day speech, Henry V (1989)
artist: William Shakespeare, Kenneth Branagh
media: film, text, music
your BIG transcendental feelings: This is a guilty pleasure, and so I'm a little ashamed to be inaugurating the community with it... or maybe it's better that way, not to be fussy and pretentious so early on! Soooo... I love this scene. I've watched it nearly a hundred times, and there have been periods in my life when I knew the speech word for word and could mimic Kenneth Branagh's cadence to a tee! I love the sweeping music, the gently sweeping camera, the shameless emoting and loud, proclamatory, super-performative acting. When it all comes together and my mood is right, this makes me think of autumn, cloudy days and bare-skin trees, bittersweet mortality, nostalgia and the ambiguity of heroism. Pretty straightforward stuff, but there ya go.

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