IDIS 210 Lectures 1 - 8

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Queen's University
Interdisciplinary Studies
IDIS 210
Donato Santeramo

IDIS 210 Lecture 1  Exit through the gift shop o What is art? o Don’t know if film is a documentary or o Have someone who wants to make a documentary on street art o Street art – Illegal: ruining city, gets erased o Allows us to witness what artists have done when it no longer exists o When he starts making videos of artist he gets more and more involved o About:  Legitimacy and authenticity of art o Banksey: does not want to be in spotlight  Putting emphasis on work rather than on himself  Created the monster (terry), even though he tried to present himself through his work completely  Responsible for the creation of someone who promotes himself rather than his art – also no political motivation  Refuses to come to terms with critics and art galleries – do things outside the box  Not a product if it is on the wall – can disappear o Questions  Basksey: Street art is as valid as any other type of art  Thierry is not a true artist because his work is not originally according to Banksey, also is not a trained artist  How does the form of the film relate to its content? o In a museum – becomes sellable  Street artists want to avoid  Unable to avoid  Works are still sold o Street artists  Now part of a value system  Idea was to be out of the mould of what is considered art o Main idea:  Raises questions about what is art and art in today’s society Lecture 2 Antiviral – director notes  Contrast: celebrity faces and deformed virus faces  Celebrities: biological contamination, beyond physical o Celebrity viruses: obsession with the physical (bodies)  Obsess over cultural construct not the person  Celebrity = media construct not related to body, idea  Reality TV: becoming famous for nothing o Industry makes money by getting people obsessed with others and then discarding of them  What each celebrity did was not emphasized o Focus is on the physical obsession o Focus on the industry of celebrities rather than a particular industry  Sexual obsession o Coffin box o Naked photos o Ending o Intense but direct eroticism o Needle insertions = penetrations  White and bright o Two reasons:  Interesting way to control eye of viewer, eyes of celebs and blood pops  Divide between celebrities as media constructs (un human) and the obsession with their bodies – white and sterile environment Is un human  Try to create idealized images that are removed from our bodies  Flowers: idealized romantic version of him seducing Hannah o First time: doesn’t know what she looks like (sid) o Second time: meets her, knows  Highlighting suffering and decay that Sid goes through o Central metaphor: by participating in our culture we make ourselves diseased o Main theme: Experiencing the physical decay and suffering that goes along with his obsession and involvement in his culture  Main theme: Destruction of the self – self infection through culture  Sid: think he is above the culture o Actually not o Work gets the best of him o Good physical actor – i.e. old silent films  What kind of director are you? o Control freak o Best piece of advice: work with good actors o Has a particular idea and actors add to it with their own  Technology: creates celebrity  Technology: also deconstructs celebrity (i.e. HD TV, no makeup) o Idea to make the body perfect is still pretty strong  Society getting dumber: hard to say o Tend to idealize past o Panic?  Opinion, patenting viruses: o Idea that they would pass the virus through her body and still own the virus o Came from Soybeans – Monsanto  Blow into farmers field and sue him for using beans o Insane and horrifying Ugliness and Beauty  Fundamental names: highlighted  Canons of beauty and ugliness have been determined by o Culture and standards in a given time period  For a long time good and beautiful were linked  Is beauty what we desire or something in itself that is beautiful  If we desire it the idea of beauty is diminished  If I desire something but I can’t have it, I will not suffer, physiological needs are satisfied  If I desire something only because I want it, pain comes along if I am not able to have it  Beauty can only be experienced only when our physiological being is satisfied  Beauty: something that is of value in itself  Moment when you classify something for its value, it becomes something else o Linked to philosophical concepts  If we think of beauty only as a value, it is empty of its true function  Beauty is often linked to an artefact o Beauty is only and artefact  Has to be made o Beauty can exist naturally – not intentionality in its creation, it just is  The moon, sky… o Often beauty is linked to art  Reason: not only is it intrinsic to art, art will often explain and expand the idea of beauty  Will change in a given time period and place – beauty changes  Example: tanning (ugly due to wealth, then beautiful, then ugly due to health concerns again), general example  Beautiful monsters: 17 century sculptures in Europe o No longer seen as beautiful  Beauty + Art: intentionality of why they were produced o Has to be intentionally made beautiful o What one wants to achieve o Picasso – nothing is by chance, intention was there…  Objects + human beings + ideas o Idea of beautiful is not concrete o Beauty can be seen in things that are not concrete  In order for something to be beautiful it had to be proportional o Pythagoras: the origin of everything lays in numbers  Aesthetical mathematical view of the universe  All things exist because they are ordered  “Virtue is harmony…” – harmony becomes the linkage amongst all things in the idea of beauty, expressed by proportions  The idea of proportion coincides with the idea of beauty  Beauty as proportional: goes on for thousands of years o Ancient Greek to middle ages o Have to think of music with proportions o Important: music to human body  Harmony amongst opposites: allows for beauty to be expressed o Balance of opposites o “Good vs. evil”, “big vs. small” o Beautiful because there is a balance (proportion) o Antiquity – the middle ages  Proportion within object/ thing itself o No precise measure, proportional to the whole o Specific calculations: all parts of body participate in proportions of the whole  Mathematical calculation of representing something in order to have certain proportions that proposed what was considered beautiful  Greek/ roman ideal vs. Egyptian o Egyptian: idea of proportion was based on equal sized blocks  Idea of beauty: if head was 2 blocks body had to be eight  Numeric not a fraction like the Greek/ romans  Christianity: beauty is not only a question of proportions, had to have a purpose o Purpose becomes a fundamental trait of beauty within the Christian tradition o Purpose leads to moral beauty o Beauty becomes more of an eternal stance, no longer what is visible/ can be experienced  Value: moral purpose (for good) o Undermined by the invention of the perspecutus: artists understood they could draw things in such a way that could give the illusion of proportions and distance within what was being been  Had a great influence in what beauty is  Beauty and purpose o A crystal hammer: no use not beautiful  Main features of what is considered beautiful o Proportions, usefulness, pleasantry  Non desires  Desired – some do not consider things that we desire for our own use to be beautiful  I.e. A vase will not be beautiful to a thirsty person until they have satisfied their thirst  Many philosophers have written about beauty Lecture 2 – January 22 Ugliness  Umberto Eco: “on ugliness”  What is opposite to beauty, not a lot is written on the idea of ugliness  Changes in time and place like beauty (not a constant)  Be careful: ugliness brings about more considerations o Ugliness in the thing itself (something that is revolting i.e. a corpse) o Ugliness that is not the object but the way it is being portrayed  Pablo Picasso portrait of a woman o How Picasso presented the idea of a woman’s face was ugly o Not the face itself  Culture: what may be ugly in one culture may be beautiful in another o Just like the idea of beauty  What is ugliness? Two aspects o The technique o The actual object itself  Proportion: anything without proportion was ugly o Medievalism  Marks: beauty and ugliness o Money: “if you are rich you cannot be ugly” o The boundaries between beauty and ugliness are not determined by proportion or usefulness but money o Things are always changing! – No set standards to define  Ugliness = sign of degeneration o Physical deformation – seen as ugly: past  Film freaks o Those with physical deformities are portrayed as beautiful o Beauty is a moral compass  Theories are not always linked to the time in which they were expressed  Plato: o Ugliness does not exist in the realm of ideas  Only exists in the world of experience (where ideas exist) o Reality is ideas o Technically we are already in a cave – what we see are copies of ideas  Reality = copy of ideas o Artist = someone who reproduces something: drawing humans farther from reality (re-reinterpretation)  Excludes artists from his republic, believes they will bring humans farther from the truth o Ugliness represents the imperfection of the physical world o Ideal world = world of ideas  First tretease on ugliness o Middle of 18 century o Carl Rosincratz o Ugliness = moral evil  Evil and sin are the opposite of good o Just an explanation of how before ugliness was seen as the opposite of beauty o Ugliness is an error within beauty itself  Not the negation of beauty*  In past the conceptualization was the beauty was the opposite of ugliness and that they are completely separate  In this theory ugliness is within beauty itself  First to make the distinction between an ugly person and an ugly portrait of a person  Can have a beautiful portrait of an ugly person o If the representation of the devil is ugly, but done in a beautiful manor and it prevents people from sinning, it may actually be beautiful  Can say: in a given historical moment we can have an idea of what was beautiful and what was ugly o Cannot be persuaded by those writing the theories  Part in what they experience  Also depends on the social sphere we belong to o Perception of tattoos and pricings have changed overtime o Primitive/a fugitive: Europe o Beautiful: Africa/ everywhere now  Is there something that helps us understand the divide between beauty and ugliness o Synonyms for ugliness there is personal revolting experience  More experiential than beauty  Beauty disinterested pleasure – maximum ideal, no desire of possession or consumption  In ugliness: corpse, someone who smells.. There is no desire, but there is always a refusal  One of the big lacks in the theory = personal taste o Something that we cannot measure, so many ideas of what is beautiful/ ugly that the only way we can understand is to analyze it in a context  Helen of troy o Beautiful but was morally wrong o Should not have been portrayed as beautiful but she was seen as an object of beauty o Example of how there has never been a clear cut division between what is beautiful/ ugly  Beauty and youthfulness o Trend throughout centuries o Old age = ugly: disintegration of proportions (physical and mental) o Youth: potential, idea of being able to do things and purpose o Fascinating: discourse of youth via old age o Idea of love: youth and older people  Love can be with or without desire  Moving away from naturalistic representation o The ideas around ugliness and beauty then started to change o Idea of being able to have some sort of comparisons to our ideas also disappeared o Have to conceptualize  Wernika: representation of a bombing of a small town in Spain during the civil war o Conceptualization o Mental/ logical condition that you need to meet in order to understand what you are seeing  What is really happening? o Have gone from an immediate representation: considered ugly in a realistic manor o To an allegorical one: have the necessity of using our thought in order to arrive to the conceptual thought  Beautiful because what it represents – beyond what we are seeing  Art should be realistic o Nazi’s – people should be aware of why they are being taken advantage of  Idea of beautiful is attacked o The futurist movement: manifesto on le Figaro (1912)  Wanted to provoke: in favour of war speed and technology, detested anything to do with antiquity (wanted to destroy it)  The beauty of being booed  Way of realizing what it is they wanted to do  Wanted people to do them because what they were doing was ugly – index of success because they were rebelling against the common idea of beauty (the status quo)  Rebellion o Punk o Not only happening in the visual arts: poetry, music…  “ Le fleur du mal”  We are attracted to things that technically should be ugly o E.g. et (we have an emotional attachment)  A musical note o “The devil in the music” – dissonant and unpleasant sound  Makes us feel uncomfortable – as if it is out of place  Has this now become beautiful?  Echo: has not become beautiful but today things that are ugly/ unacceptable remain such but have been accepted to make a bigger statement  Jimmy Hendricks o “Purple Hayes” o Incorporates the devil in the music o Contributes to the wholeness of the piece that is now beautiful because it includes this note o However, the note itself is still not beautiful  In today’s society the boundaries have been eliminated o We are using the beautiful and the ugly – incorporated in producing other things that may be ugly or beautiful – introduced into a greater work that depending on who experiences it can be beautiful or ugly  Human suffering o Only thing we know for sure is ugly – can agree o Will always be ugly  Maybe: o The beauty in life contains ugliness – that ugliness is suffering Week 4: Grass – Ron Man, January 29  Films we like: film distribution company  “Imagine the sound” – first film o Jazz music, film about music that he really loved  Two reasons for making a movie o Love something intensely/ dislike something intensely o Loved jazz/ dislike marijuana laws  Treating innocent people as criminals  Keith strop: book, it’s normal to smoke pot  Was going to document artists o No films about music (jazz), comic books… o “Music is in the air and then it is gone” o Cultural historian: preserve history and provide alternative to status quo (what was on TV.)  Realize, there are people who want to see these types of films  International cinema, not on mainstream television o All about money now, not so much about mainstream/ alternative: no distinction  Many states have now legalized, going to save money on it o Use has been found to go down after decriminalization  Nixon argument: if you legalize pot you have to legalize other drugs o True  Pot laws = a tool, same as terrorist laws… o Discretionary: rooted in race o Want to repress culture  Movements – slow but progressive, will see changes to drug laws in Canada  Media campaigns: destabilizing, making you think, “what if?”  Biased film… “Everything I makes = propaganda” o Wanted to convince parents that the marijuana prohibition was a disaster o Trying to reach audiences emotionally and make people think but not to be condescending in any way – illusion of objectivity, don’t see two sides, see what individual who made the film believes  Starts with music first: 3000 songs about marijuana o Used songs as historical artefacts: testimonial/narrative device o About finding a narrative device and using historical materials o “D. Antonio”: collage films and irony as humour o Couldn’t use all songs… Lecture 5: musical debate  Difference between live music and mediated music o Effect of technology on music in society (recording technology)  Arguments: Against  Recording technology made us a less musical society  Democratized music… but has caused us to make less and less of our own music  All human beings are musical, society makes us feel less musical – recordings are far more polished than you could ever produce  Passive musicking, convinced that this is as satisfying as actively musicking with others  Live music is more fulfilling than mediated music  Easier to zone out with a recording, can see the interaction and movement at a live event (engages the physical aspect)  Recording technology has turned us into musical consumers: o Don’t listen as well due to technology o Would listen better if listening to them live was your only chance to hear them o Listening has changed, have lost that type of focus  Gould: because he’s manipulated the sound (splicing) o Sonic product no musician can produce: makes us more critical, people no longer try to play music because we don’t live up to the mediated version  Problem: increasing sense of disengagement from other human beings  Video of a concert would not be the same experience  Loose improvised music  Theatrics at live concerts - what is music? o In other languages there are not the same divisions that we have o India: music, dance and drama are one o Same words for music and dance o Or different words for different divisions of music  Live music does not have to be in a concert!  Making music is seen as something special o Something children do and something professionals do  Division in culture come from a gradually mediated experience: watching other people do things o Our society is no longer a musical one  Technology turns music just into sound  Buskers: listen differently to live one time performances For recording technology  IPod: making music all the time – always music
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