Friday 9 April 2010

Medium overriding the message?

When presenting the final project of my undergrad here on The Flying Trilobite, (see the process here: one, two, three, four and five) some excellent points have been raised in the comments of the last post.

My Art Evolved peeps Craig and Peter have been discussing whether or not unconventional mediums (like a wooden cube with busted slate tiles painted and hanging from wire) end up muddying the message more than conventional, easier to read forms.

Here are a couple of more photos, different from the the last post in that they show off the individual paintings more:
Click to enlarge.

This picture was taken on a weird angle. Sorry.

It was an interesting experience for me to have some of my artwork turn off someone for being post-modern and medium-focused. Typically, I am a painter in love with creating representational, realistic paintings.

As Craig pointed out, the medium is the message. We see here not only a 3D series of paintings hanging in a cube, we see them through the lens of a camera and displayed on a computer screen. It's very removed from say, Darwin Took Steps, a much more 2D picture which translates better through scanning and being online.

How much can the presentation enhance or interfere? Would video of a 3D object present better online, panning, zooming and with soft techno music in the background? Would it be clearer to scan individual pieces and present them as head-on photos?

Is this presentation in the immortal words of Mo the bartender, "po-mo; postmodern; weird for the sake of weird" or is something more getting across?

- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
Creative Commons Licence.

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Next time on The Flying Trilobite: my interpretive dance fossil project!


traumador said...

i'd shy'd away from speaking about post modernism that last post, but i'll voice them here now (as you brought it up at the end of this post).

i find post-modernism as an actual stand point not only useless form a thinking, but a rather damaging and dangerous one. (as an academic excercise sure, but to view and act upon life in accordance with it... oh man!)

there are true right and wrongs in human thinking and culture, and to not acknowledge them as post moderism deems we can't (as according to po-mo all cultures are equal in their value), only leads to a further decline in culture and intellectual progress, just as we are currently seeing in the west.

there i go again... man i'm a little trouble maker this week!

Glendon Mellow said...

Oooo, throw down that gauntlet, man! Haha!

Post-modernism in fine art speaks of something fairly specific in terms of technique. Please allow me to clarify, and forgive me if you already know this stuff.

Post-modernism is a reaction to modernism, first of all.

Modernism in painting can be summed up as paintings about paint. The subject of the paintings were not portraits, not still-lifes, but paint. They referenced themselves. The work of Mark Rothko or Jackson Pollock describe this period well. (There were also Modernists in other fine art disciplines - sculpting about the act of sculpting.)

There were all sorts of other cultural add-ons about many modernists as well. It was considered very macho. The idea of the "aura of the original" that these could not be successfully copied was a big deal.

Enter the backlash. Post-modernism began by simply breaking down the definitions of "painting" or "sculpture". continued

Glendon Mellow said...

Post-modernists exploded the ideas of art disciplines as pure disciplines.

Joseph Kosuth was playing with image and form at the same time: One and Three Chairs. It's not an image on the wall, or a sculpture (3D form) it contains both.

There was also a backlash against the idea of the aura of the original, which is one reason why Warhol would make so many Marilyns.

Using found objects like Duchamp's The Fountain, led to using unconventional mediums, like earth. Nancy Holt's Sky Mound is a good example.

One of the best examples in music of post-modernism, is early Public Enemy. They mixed samples with original music, rapping, and interrupted their own songs with mock news reports.

Glendon Mellow said...

So I would say that post-modernism in fine art (I'm not diving into other realms here) wasn't a "useless form of thinking". It served a purpose of deconstructing and even openly mocking modernists. It's where mash-ups and remixes come from.

Are you rejecting moral relativism? 'Cuz I would largely agree with you there, Craig.

traumador said...

yes sorry...

i speak of social-political post modernism (i am a poli-sci major... so it is instantly where my thinking goes). in this realm it is a useless and foul thing.

in art i could see it having its moments... sometimes

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