Literary Responses

Mapping Responses

October 12, 2014

Response to What is Contemporary Art actually Mapping?

There were many thing regarding this reading that made me consider mapping in a whole new way of interpretation.  One of the things that struck me by surpass was my connection to life and society’s ‘consciousness’ as a whole. The idea of mapping never being entirely complete really struck a chord with me because it is something that I am sure subconsciously I have thought about but reading this concept and digesting the information is far different.  I loved how James Corner and Peter Hall established the notion that a map lives in this virtual space that is capable of endless change and can incorporate information that is beyond maps, I feel this is what gives mapping its foothold in the art world.  Hall’s idea that mapping takes place prior to the conception its physicality is what made this writing most interesting to me.  This pushed my interpretation of mapping to associations with art since essentially art is about a gathering of ideas, mediums, information, and plans necessary to making its final product.  Mapping also expands the boundaries of the art museum into a type of virtual gallery that includes virtual information and digital space which is something that I never thought of before. It is essentially a way of making conceptual art new and exciting again, at least for me.

Response to Geography as Art

Again I was pleasantly surprised by the content within this article.  It was the idea of experimental geography and its concepts of human interaction with the land that caught my attention and directing me toward the ideas surrounding my physical projection of a map and its relation to me.  The idea that Andy Warhol used a similar method behind his art was a particular connection I had never made prior to this writing thus making me want to see and digest his work on a deeper, more profound level than the seemingly surface value of his pieces.  The other ideas about us becoming what we experience and the world making us who we are gave me a deeper understanding of the relationship we have to Earth and all the organisms involved.  I wanted my art to reflect this idea of becoming what the world impresses upon us but focus on what the world and my experiences have made me.  I wanted to deflate the spacial distance between world and individual, after all is there a difference between culture, society, and the individual? I don’t believe there is.  I know this may seem metaphorical but think of the topography as the skin, the rivers as arteries or vessels, the small highways and roads as capillaries, cities as organs, humanity as the brain, and finally the virtual data and information as the consciousness; basically the world becomes a being in itself.  This article was a beautiful writing that allowed mapping to transcendence its otherwise mundane existence.


Response to Audio of Rebecca Solnit


Rebecca Solnit’s interview was inspirational in the way she saw the cities and people around her and her incorporation of that viewpoint into her art. What I found interesting the most was her project’s effects on those around her and how helping Solnit changed their perspective about the cities they lived and worked in. I wanted to use this within my project as well, this ability to change the way we look at the people and places we interact with on a daily and not-so daily basis. I was interested in re-creating my environment and experience the way Solnit did with her maps. I have a natural morbid curiosity for death and its effects on individuals and communities so I found her interest in murder ratings and its mappings intriguing. Again, it was this information’s depiction on a map that brings to light something that we have all thought about or that stays in our subconscious but is never in the forefront of our minds.


Response to West Wing clip – Why are we talking about changing maps?


This was a very comedic approach to the idea of mapping and its false representation of data and information. It particularly brought up questions of truth within the information the show was representing. I wanted to question if the information was true and if it was I wanted to reinvestigate all the maps and globes I did been introduced to or looked at myself. It also made me wonder about human influence on mapping in general. What if these maps were simply a way to establish order through a type of hierarchy system of land mass and hemispheric location? It’s a question I struggled with in my project as well. I wanted to know if the maps I intended on using were indeed factual in data and if not how this related to us as species. Meaning if we are so willing to lie about something so trivial like the size of landmass to create a type of geographic social structure then what else are we willing to lie to do?



Elimination Responses


Response to The Revelation of Erasure by Brian Dillon

Brian Dillon uses terminology to define the act of erasure in a way that perplexed me and my understanding of erasing material.  He eloquently put erasing as a type of violence done to a page to make the world somehow new again thus making it open to interpretation and possibilities.  I have never seen the acting of erasing in this manner and I must admit that I was a bit thrown by this statement.  I feel as though erasing is an act that is done to perfect the words of a writer/poet, the drawing pad or canvas of an artist, or the thoughts of an academic prior to its public consumption.  Dillon states in so many words that the erased word attests to a repression of some kind, either psychological or political, it was this phrase that made me rethink the way I thought of the action.  When he described the work of Idris Khan, Holy Koran, I began to understand his statement on a more profound level.  Khan layers a profuse amount of pages from the Koran on top of one another until the words are no longer legible and its intended meaning is lost.  This piece emphasized for me what Dillon was attempting to explain, there is a type of violence and denial occurring with erasure.  I began to ponder how many “truths” our human society has been denied by the invention of any material created for the sole purpose of striking down the initial thoughts, messages, and feelings of that particular individual who connects any medium to paper. After all, was this not the intended purpose of writing in the first place, to create, to spread ideas and innovate new ways to interpret and observe our world.  Why then is there a need for this type of censorship? Why are we, as a species, so concerned with the way we are interpreted by others?  Could it be said that the first-born words and phrases to any written document are the most purist form, despite the obvious grammatical errors?  As I type this response I am beginning to feel as though erasing has done more of a disservice to the artistic and literary community.  We are just now beginning to find old writings of some of the earliest and most forward thinking philosophers, such as Socrates and Aristotle.  Again the idea of material commodity triumphed over the possibility that was these first philosophers were doing was profound and well beyond its time of conception.  Brian Dillon created a type of revolutionary awakening within me to the positive and negative effects stemming from erasure.

Response to the screening of Paul Pfeiffer  

As I started out watching the video on Paul Pfeiffer’s erasing and elimination process I was intrigued by the museum installation in which he allows the viewer to experience two different views regarding his work.  The first was an overall light projector displaying an image of a simulated “Amityville horror” staircase against a white wall.  This allowed the viewer to be overcome by the size of the projected image and perhaps simulate that childlike fear we’ve all experience at one point.  The viewer is able to move around within the space and in doing so can see that there is more to this installation than the initial, overall experience.  Pfeiffer created a small hole in which light is allowed to stream through thus engaging the viewer with a type of childlike curiosity, no doubt this would have worked on me.  After investigation, the viewer can see that there is an exact miniaturized scale of the same image but in a model form.  The viewer than takes the perspective of an “intruder” of some kind giving the viewer, as I would imagine, a type of separated control or power over the once empowering image.  As he segways into his erasure methods I am surprisingly bored.  His piece, “A Fragmentation of the Cruxification“, takes a basketball game and turns it into a conceptual piece that questions the role and influence of the media within American culture.  While I can appreciate the pain staking work of isolating a particular NBA player against a sea of teammates and event goers, I also am too familiar with the end product.  Perhaps this was the purpose of his piece, to comment on that fact that manipulation done to the image would still allow for a type of familiarity for some. Has proliferation of mass communication within our society made us numb to the different interpretations of images and videos we see in an instantaneous and continuous level?  For me, this answer was yes.  The manipulation and elimination were not enough for me, I wanted more.  I wanted to see him take the player out of the stadium, out of the familiar context pushing me toward a more appreciative response.  However, I began to listen to his explanation I began to understand his reasoning for the things he did.  By keeping the player within the context of the game for capital gains and I understood that when anyone comes to be under a spotlight so to speak, they are in fact crucifying elements of their private life.  Everything you do and say is open for interpretation and judgment and in some respect the industry begins to crucify you as an individual for any particular reason.  You come a victim of the industry you subject yourself too.  With that being said can you call yourself a victim if you knowingly enter the “boudoir of the devil”?  But it did not stop there for me, when he discussed “The Long Count (Rumble in the Jungle”, I began to realized the meaning behind it all.  This resonated with me and aided in my digestion of the previous piece as well.  Once you have been absorbed into the media you begin to lose bits and pieces of who you are.  You begin to conform and transform into what the industry and consumers have expected of you.  In a sense you become this phantom ghost dancing within the boxing match of media & society versus you.

Response to screening of Robert Rauschenberg – Erased de Kooning

This video was of an interesting nature that stirred within me a type of marbled swirl of questionable doubt and perplexity.  I am the furthest from the number one fan of de Kooning but I do enjoy dissecting his pieces and taking from them what I will, so to see that this video was in reference to a “crazy” artist that was attempting to deface a master’s work I was a bit on edge and trying to figure out if this was legitimate attempt to comment on the ability for nothing to become transcended into something of artistic value.  I thought it very interesting that Rauschenberg’s first approach to William de Kooning involved a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and an unsure disposition.  My initial response was that he would be laughed at, propelling him to deface de Kooning’s work out spite.  To say that I was surprised is an understatement.  I mean de Kooning himself understood the premise of the concept and did not like it but instead of declining Rauschenberg’s request he accepted and then proceeded to give him a piece that he would actually miss.  I thought for a moment that either he had way too much to drink or that Rauschenberg must have slipped something into his drink.  After Rauschenberg continued to explain the reasoning behind the piece and the method in which he proceeded, I began to see the respect for de Kooning that I initially thought did not exist.  It took Rauschenberg one month to fully erase the mixed media creation of wax, crayon, charcoal, graphite, marker and more.  The resulting image was one that reflecting the care and sensitivity required by Rauschenberg to ensure that the surface of the image was not torn away but more so the content made to grace the paper.  I still am having difficulty understanding Rauschenberg’s words of the de Kooning being more alive then prior to erasing.  I can’t help but wonder if this is true or not?  For me I do not see the vitality in an image that has been separated from its intended purpose.  Perhaps this played hand in hand with the Conceptual Art movement taking place wherein art was attempting to steer clear of the idea of “art as commodity”.  If that is what the underlying message is then I say he exceeded well beyond what anyone could have guessed.  The idea that art isn’t art unless it is tied to a specific formulation and/or artist is absurd, but this was the essence of the art within that time, a sort of institutionalized art concept.  For Rauschenberg, the erasing of de Kooning’s artistic voice and hand manipulation then reopened the work up to any and all interpretations veering away from the idea of it being from a master therefore its a masterpiece.

One thought on “Literary Responses

  1. Melissa, you did a great job with your WP site! The organization is clear and simple to navigate through. The imagery of the purple flower makes it visually appealing the audience. The text your chose is legible and large. You can see how hard you worked on these assignments!


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