tirado/thrown


Incandescent Phenomena
December 13, 2009, 2:30 am
Filed under: Aesthetics, art, Philosophy | Tags: , , , , , ,

Cai Guo-Qiang, Self-Portrait: A Subjugated Soul, 1985/89 From the first time encountering this image, the associations with a handful concepts were inescapable.  In one fell swoop, ideas of subjectivity, energy, temporality, the trace, eventality, halos, and (most interestingly) incandescence glisten in the flow of attention when standing before the Qiang’s image. Multiple=

Cai Guo-Qiang, Self-Portrait: A Subjugated Soul, 1985/89

From the first time encountering this image, the associations with a handful concepts were inescapable.  In one fell swoop, ideas of subjectivity, energy, temporality, the trace, eventality, halos, and (most interestingly) incandescence glisten in the flow of attention when standing before the Qiang’s image.

Multiple passages from Jean-Luc Nancy’s The Experience of Freedom speak to this flash of bundled energy in the act of taking-place or becoming that Qiang’s self-rendering seems to record.  In one particular instance, Nancy writes of the ontological dimensions of freedom’s flare (82):

…freedom is itself nothingness, which does not negate itself properly speaking, but which, in an pre-or paradialectical figure of the negation of negation, affirms itself by making itself intense.

The intensification of the nothingness does not negate its nothing-ness: it concentrates it, accumulates the tension of the nothingness as nothingness (hollowing out the abyss, we cold say…), and carries it to the point of incandescence where it takes on the burst of an affirmation.  With the burst–lightning and bursting, the burst of lightning–it is the strike of one time, the existing irruption of existence.

This radiance occurs at the border between the formless being that lays beyond representation and representations of humanity that take on a determinate form or another.  It is the most basic point of our existence where ontological and ethical categories blur and come into play with each other.

Qiang’s gesture shows a trace of a human being that at a point in time glistens with a particular intensity, radiates heat and energy, and warps and bends the field around him.  At some points the halo surrounding the figure crackles with electric flashes whose ardor match that of the body.

In the halo’s dark singes it is difficult to determine whether each ray is a wayward flash straying outward from the body or if the body is attempting to collect loose bits of energy from the surrounding environment to concentrate and make possible that blinding flash of light that burns the parchment of our world.  The halo allows itself to radiate and dissipate outwards in a faint light to reveal the dark, unknown form that captivates our attention.

Cross-posted at the brand-new tirado/thrown tumblr. Be sure to visit there, too!

Advertisements


Late March NYC Weekender
March 27, 2008, 12:26 am
Filed under: art, Music, Rock | Tags: , , , , ,

Light Cycle Explosion

There are times when there’s enough available time to squeeze in a quick weekend jaunt. In this case, circumstances are such that a quick 36-hour trip to New York City is materializing. Since I’m expecting to arrive at around 3:30 or 4:00 on Saturday afternoon, I have to be hasty as to reach my first destination before it closes. And the weekend should be pretty busy from there. Some things I’m eager to check out on my short trip:

  • Anavan at Glasslands. L.A.-based Anavan counts among its members long-time KXLU DJ Bret Berg, whose rather quiet disposition contains a volatile admixture of near-mawkish camp and a keen ear for post-punk. His radio show Egg City is no longer, but he’s been actively nurturing his audiophilia at his blog, aptly titled Egg City Radio. Anavan’s music comes from a home-grown part of the L.A. underground that began sinking roots after the demise of Jabberjaw in the late 90s and found a home in places like the Smell.  Anavan channel the spirits of bands like Chicka-Chicka, the Fall, and Blank-Wave Arcade-era Faint and allow the dirty pop to follow as a result.
  • An evening and morning in Bushwick: That means staying with friends and visiting the panaderia to get a stash of pan dulce for the ride home and maybe, just maybe, grabbing some fruta, limon, y chile in the vicinity of Maria Hernandez park, where there’s likely to be plenty of activity on a late Sunday morning.
  • Cai Guo-Qiang- I Want to Believe at the Guggenheim: Since missing his show at MassMoCA in 2005, it’s been a priority to catch any exhibition of his that’s possible to attend. Luckily enough, this retrospective of his work is a great chance to take in a good sampling of his extensive and intricate body of work. Far better videos and samples of his various works than the one narrated by bloviating Guggenheim muckety-mucks can be found on his website, which contains a pretty comprehensive catalog of his projects.
  • The 2008 Whitney Biennial: There’s a chance I won’t make it, but it’s worth an attempt, mostly to see what people in the art world seem to be excited about in American contemporary art. Exposure to overwhelming amounts of work serve less to get me caught up than to realize the possibility that contemporary art is less about trends than to perpetually experience oneself as a beginner with limited opportunities to find a point of entry. L.A. seems to have some solid representation in the exhibition, with names like the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, Daniel Joseph Martinez, and Mario Ybarra Jr. included in the artist roster.

    All in all, it’s an art-intensive trip with possible fodder for future posts. I’m open to suggestions for a good place to eat lunch on the Upper East side between the Guggenheim and the Whitney on Sunday, or dinner between Chelsea and Brooklyn.

    Image Credit: Cai Guo-Qiang, Light Cycle: Explosion Project for Central Park, Central Park, New York, USA, 2003. Original location: www.caiguoqiang.com