pictures + music

| | Comments (10)
One stand of contemporary photographic practice  is  photography as the expression of emotion or feeling, both individual and public .  A good example is through a broken lens by floebee. Is this interesting picture  just an expression of the photographer's feelings?  Or is something more happening here? If so, what?


The 19th century  Romantics interpreted 'art as expression'  in terms of images expressing the artist's feelings or subjectivity (dreams imagination, horror); and this was then reworked by the New York based abstract expressionists in the 20th century who had close contact with composers such as John Cage and Morton Feldman.    Feldman spoke about sound as if it were something physical, malleable, something to be shaped, like pigment.

What  does this disclose?
One way of interpreting the above picture is by reconnecting to   the Ut pictura poesis tradition---"as is painting so is poetry" If modernism's history is a history of purity, then its narrative  is that of a permanent struggle with all that threatens a medium's essence or specificity. Modernism, in other words, is the anti-ut pictura poesis by excellence.

We could rework  this tradition  by swapping photography for painting and music for poetry to give  us  'As is photography so is music'. What would that disclose apart from connecting us to Romanticism in music?  The possibility of form of genre and media blending.  A suggestion  here could be that of  a photographic tone poem---in the sense of visual and aural tonality? How do we understand the concept of a photographic tone poem? Or visual tonaility?

We could  begin to reply to these questions in terms of a retreat from the edges of things and seeing  patches of light, colour  and shade. A tonal poetic photography would  mean a dissolving of  the linear boundaries and stressing the quality of light and atmosphere that unites all objects in the visual field. Is it an emotional, immediate way of seeing? Maybe we can use  poiesis in the sense of 'a bringing forth', whose dynamic becoming (jamming?)  affirms its connectivity in culture,  and which lets things be in a moving  flux of  energy flows.

These kind of questions open up a space where there a reside links between a  visual culture and an aural culture? A network of  photographers who are also musicians and visa versa? If there is such a digital network--and I do not know of one---then  what kind of work are they producing? Is the creative photography being  produced expressing a musical mood?


all art aspires to the condition of music

someone been reading Nietzsche?

I don't know much about Walter Pater. Dug around a bit last night but I couldn't find much on his aesthetics.

I think probably because, he was more of a musician?

on aspect of the radical premise of romanticism
involved following the logic of connections, even
through rapidly changing and astonishingly disparate
contexts, instead of the logic of legitimated social
forms. in this it might be possible to discern a
concern with paratactic structures as distinct from
syntactic structures, along evolutionary forces,
and the domestication of meaning, might often render
paratactic structures, retroactively, syntactic.

the above should read: " . . . although evolutionary
forces, and the domestication of meaning, might often render
paratactic structures, retroactively, syntactic."


A paragraph on the ut pictura poesis tradition had disappeared from the post for some reason. I've put it back in.

What are paratactic structures in a visual culture? I'm starting from here.

parasyntactic structures are those in which sequential relations
are not the most important determinate of meaning. in linguistics,
parataxsis is sometimes considered pre-syntactic: brazilian
sound poetry in which every word is treated as an image, not
as a component whose meaning contributes to the meaning given as
a whole, by the syntactic structure of the sentence, to each of
its parts. Barthes introduced the concept to talk about relationships in which the dominance of the sequence is held
at bay, and the order of the elements is not their primary determinate. Adorno also used it as a way of talking about forms in which the the parts were not progressively related, in logical chains.
Sometimes the metaphor used to explain them are consequences related
to a premise, but not to each other, like spokes in a wheel to the
hub - each relates as a consequence to the premise which is the hub,
but you can't go from one consequence to the other logically. Paratactic structures in visual culture would involve visual images in which the parts make some kind of sense in relation to the visual whole, but may not make sense in relation to each other. The parts do not seem like they "had" to be in the order they are in. A picture is which one part could be on the right side, or the
left, without radically changing the image, would have a paratactic
aspect. In this image, one could ask: would the image be completely transformed if the cracks were horizontal, or spaced differently, or is it more important that there are some cracks; would the spiky shard of glass work coming from the right side, etc.
In short, i think they are structures in which the order is less important than the elements that are present. (the point about decay has to do with the fact that paratactic compounds since
they have a sequential order, over time, come to seem as if they
had to have that sequential order).

pehaps photography's sense of sequential order is weaker than music or movement, so the significance of paratactic order might be less,
as well.

thanks mark. That is a big help.

It's a way of deconstructing an orderly logical relationship in which the parts cohere logically to form a cohesive whole. So we can have pictures (or text as with Adorno) that lie side by side without explicit coordination; yet are neither haphazard or disjointed.

I kinda knew it from Adorno and Aesthetic Theory but just hadn't connected it to contemporary photography for some reason.

Leave a comment

May 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Further Reading


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Gary Sauer-Thompson published on January 30, 2009 1:53 PM.

realism/irrealism was the previous entry in this blog.

the grid is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Technorati search

» Blogs that link here

Powered by Movable Type 4.26
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.