Taboo art

Mar. 29th, 2017 08:38 pm
korafox: (melancholia)
I got an email today that said our college library is putting together a display of "transformed" books for National Library Week--books that have been altered by being drawn on, had things pasted on, had the pages cut up to make 3-D effects, etc.  They are asking for loans of any such books people might have.

I not know how to feel about this.  Well, I know how I feel.  It causes an immediate and visceral negative reaction in me.  I cannot imagine taking a knife to a book, even to create art out of it.  I've never been able to even highlight or underline in textbooks, let alone dog ear pages.  I just don't know whether this is a mala prohibita thing that is just my own bibliophilic moralizing, or if it's actually a mala in se offense that goes against the Good and Just order of the universe.

It's not like I have delicate sensibilities when it comes to art.  "Piss Christ" didn't faze me, and I can just shrug at Christo's "let's cover a bridge with tarps" installations (I do worry about the environmental impact, though I think he makes efforts to minimize it).  But I wouldn't break into someone's house to steal their paints, and I wouldn't go into a museum and scribble on paintings someone has already made.  That's what cutting on books feels like to me--these are already works of art, complete, and they belong to everyone in the sense that they are physical records of the human body of knowledge. 

I just think about what would happen if we have a nuclear apocalypse, and how precious that knowledge would be.  Can you imagine being one of the monks from Canticle for Leibowitz, and you come across this treasure trove of "transformed" books?  How devastating it would be to find these texts, chopped to bits and missing half or more of their information. 

So, yes.  I will never be able to bring myself to make art out of books in any way that damages them.  Alas, it is the way of things that there is not a damned thing I can do to keep others from doing so.

korafox: (braindead)
I have a theory that's been kicking around in my head.  Who knows if it has any basis in reality; I'm sure much more well-read people seeking PhDs have looked into this sort of thing already.

I've heard a lot of people lament that kids these days (and oh, joy, that I am finally getting old enough to use that phrase, though I hope to always do so facetiously and not in malice) have no idea how to write academically.  I am definitely not qualified to assess the truth of that accusation.  But if it is true, I wonder if it's caused not by students doing much less writing, but by them doing a lot more than previous generations of students.

I'm thinking about my pre-internet days, and there was really very little writing I did that was not in some way "formal".  Mostly this was for school, with the occasional letter and thank-you note.  Even once I got on the internet, it was in ye olde days of and I was writing (very, very bad) short fiction.  These were all forms that were more compositional (to potentially invent a word) than conversational. 

But now, people are sending texts and making Facebook and Twitter posts.  They are leaving short comments on news articles and message boards.  All of these mediums are extremely conversational, and the volume of this mode of writing almost certainly outweighs the volume of formal academic writing students are doing.

Is it really all that surprising that these conversational qualities are creeping into academic writing?  That isn't to say we don't need to be teaching students how to code-switch when their future job prospects may ride on being able to communicate formally.  Also, I would much rather see short electronic communication pull towards the formal instead of the other direction.  But I do have sympathy for the students trying to navigate that divide.

Okay, I am done spitballing.  If you have an advanced English/teaching degree and you're rolling your eyes at me right now, please have mercy on the poor woman who only completed an undergraduate degree (and that in Painting, no less.)

korafox: (lilacs)
I've been saying to myself since the election that American Christianity desperately needs to reset its priorities.  It needs to get away from homophobia and anti-abortion and focus on the sort of things that are at the heart of New Testament morality--social obligation and caring for one another.  I'm sure there are plenty of churches out there that are doing good social work, and I'm mostly talking about the Evangelical side of the spectrum here, to be clear.

So, here's a woman who's got her priorities straight.  It makes my heart glad.

I feel slightly guilty that I'm not working for this kind of change in the Catholic Church I grew up in, but at this point I think it would take an actual literal miracle for me to go back to that.  The mythology of the Church (and I use that phrasing in deliberate reference to Dogma) has lost all resonance with me, and I do not find any place for myself in the story it tells of Creation and the ordering of humanity. 

But that's okay.  I'm making my own faith, bit by bit, sketch by sketch and line by line, and if it is all Woman and syncretic of the things that still do mean something to me of the religion I was born into, that's fine.  There is plenty of religion for Men--I want something that reflects the person I am and want to be. 

I always hated the parts of Mass where everyone bows their heads.  I always defied it and lifted my head up to look at the beautiful things in the church.  Divinity should not press us down; we should rise up and strive to meet it.

korafox: Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite (elizabeth)
An observation:

When I make art, I make beautiful things.  When I write stories, I write ugly things.

With exceptions, but these are usually purposeful things rather than what comes straight out of my id.  Or rather, I have to give myself permission to make ugly art where ugly stories come naturally. 


Apr. 7th, 2016 10:08 pm
korafox: (moongazing)
When I was younger and just really starting to find the stories that meant something to me, I imprinted hard on Dark Angel and Gundam Wing.  There were other things, too, but those were the shows whose threads I picked up and wove into my own narrative--Nanashi owes so much to them both. 

I can see the common piece between them now, and it's something reflected in many of the other characters I've fallen for the hardest over the years.  In both shows, you have these people who have been shaped and crafted into an ultraproficient tool--a supersoldier--and they are desperately trying to claim some scraps of identity/humanity for themselves.  There's something incredibly compelling about that tension between power and vulnerability.  Not to mention the struggle to belong to oneself rather than another.

So, yes.  This was a formative thing for me.  And that's also the major reason why Bucky just tears at my heartstrings.
korafox: Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite (elizabeth)
So, I finished Bioshock Infinite yesterday, and husband is in the last hour or so of it as I am writing this.  Am still processing the whole thing, and there is a lot to process there, let me tell you.  It's definitely a game that I enjoyed more than any I can remember since, well, maybe the first Bioshock?  Which just goes to show how good the creators of the series are at what they do.

Seriously, I can't think of any other games that have used the medium of interactive gaming to its fullest the way these do.  You literally could not tell the story of the first game in any other medium, and while I can think of a book series that analogues nicely to a main theme of Infinite, the experience of the story unfolding could never be the same in a book or movie.  There's a capacity to show rather than tell that is unparalleled in video games, where you can allow the player to run across pieces of the story in the course of their own explorations.  One of my favorite things is looking around at all the posters and paintings scattered around the world that tell you just as much about the place as the dialogue does.  Likewise the music, likewise the lighting...really, their control of atmosphere and environment is impeccable.

So anyways, looking forward to a replay to catch all the things I missed this time out, and still amazed at the experience they've created.

September 2017



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