We know about modern conceptual art, and have likely seen it in magazines and online. Often, it is fairly harmless, and consists of colours, shapes, images, and objects which all carry some kind of theme. The theme can be anything which can be humanly recognised, and felt. Sometimes, the point is missing, and we are puzzled by what we see. Puzzlement is also a sensation that we cannot deny as a part of our emotive arsenal, and as a response, is fairly heavy.
The psychology of colour and shape are well described, and although each of us have our own unique interpretations, tendencies are clear. Location, age, gender, and faith all relate to how we see the world around us, and what the various distinct forms represent. The moral compass of us all is guided by that of the nation we live in, the people we surround ourselves with, and the knowledge we absorb from the teachers throughout life. The way we feel about ourselves is not only dictated by self but by the general perceptive rules or programming of the society that we live in.
In order to not be a product of our society, it is necessary to remove self from it for a considerable amount of time, and simultaneously expose self to an array of new and foreign things. Travel is a remarkable way of doing this, and a long stay away in another place can do wonders for our own identity.
When presented with repulsive sensations in art, especially in the modern and conceptual art movements, such as the taxidermy and preserved animals, that repulsion is the work of art end result which creates a connection between you and the artist via their work. You don't have to like it, you don't have to feel well after seeing it, but you have sensed it and have formed thoughts and feelings on your own that determine your perspectives on all things related, conscious or otherwise.
When we see an animal in a case, preserved and cut open, we can feel empathy for it, and we can be repulsed by the fact that it has been done. We can think to ourselves “what a bad person” however, we could then quite easily go across the road and eat a burger. Which is the crueller act? Who knows, but at least with the art we have an honest depiction of the creature in question and perhaps a finger of hypocrisy, pointing right at you for feeling disgusted, however that it not the question being raised.
The idea is that we can view the piece and make an educated guess as to what it may be trying to say. We can even know exactly what it is saying but have no words, and this then makes a perfect artistic expression. How do we describe something that has no words? We express it wordlessly. Still, there is no match for a deep look into the heart via some good conversations and time together, but if we get one thing, let's make it as sensational as possible.
Speculative writing, the constructing of possible ideas and scenarios within prose, that can be linked to existing knowledge in some way, is an essential ingredient to progress in society. Often in the form of fiction, or visual media like TV and Film, future designs or fanciful modern secrets have been flaunted to give that extra sci-fi tingle to finish the recipe.
We all know about Star Trek inventing the mobile phone, as it wasn't until later series' when a badge press did the job of opening a channel of communication. What other things are there?
The Moon landing for instance, was described in pretty accurate detail within the pages of a nineteenth century novel. Sometimes, it differs, sometimes it is exactly right, uncanny is a word I'd not be shy to use. Verne used the term Columbiad to name the space cannon, and he also predicted weightlessness before anyone had left the Earth.
Telelectroscopes were an early internet modem based on the telephone system of 1898. That's right, in a short story written in the London Times by none other than Mark Twain of Huckleberry Fin fame, the internet principle was described in pretty accurate detail.
Another Jules Verne classic invention is the submarine. When first built nearly three decades after written about in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, business owner Simon Lake was congratulated by Verne himself.
The first liquid fuel rocket was inspired by H.G Wells' book, War of the Worlds, in which crafts visit Earth from space and unleash havoc on humanity. The story was read out over the radio which caused many people to panic, as they were unaware it wasn't real.
A Heinlein character named Waldo F Jones, written about in 1942, was the inspiration for the real life Waldo mechanical arm which is used in manufacturing and science labs. They didn't take long to materialise after their first description among the pages of pure science fiction.
Debit cards and universal credits were introduced to us in the work of Edward Bellamy, an 1888 science fiction story spoke of a central bank where customers would spend credit on issued cards.
So where am I going with this? Inventing things in our head doesn't have to stop at the day dream, write it down, if it won't fit in a magazine, or book, then blog it, just get the ball rolling with your ideas. Patents and all that are well and good, but for an artist, it is more about the contribution of ideas. Putting the input to society into practical use is the best way to cross that bridge and exchange energy in new ways.
Read on about writing ...
After hearing that Australian arts and culture magazine Vault decided to place large yellow stickers over the nipples on the breasts of the nude painting which was chosen to be their cover art for the August issue, I had to start thinking. According to the editor, there were
“fears stockists would refuse to display the cover” Guardian
When we create an image of a person, in art form, we no longer have the person but a work of art which uses a model. I can understand photography being on the borderline, as It captures the true image of the individual, but with painting, sculpture, or any other form of depiction, the end result is nothing personal to the individual model.
The idea behind the breast and nakedness taboo is that perhaps this person doesn't want to be seen naked by the world, and this is understandable. We see this image and we feel empathy for the person and think “oh no”, then cover them. This is a natural and very human thing. However when a person agrees to be depicted in a naked image, then it is not our concern to empathise from our own standpoint.
Erotic, and insensitive depictions of people can be included in the need to know basis section, and I am all for the protection of easily influenced minds from harmful media. Having said this, a painting of a woman with her breasts uncovered, is a brave choice for a cover image on a popular magazine. It took courage to make a stand for women and show that there is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to our natural body. And it goes to show that art can be a celebration of a real and beautiful thing.
Making the decision to sanitize the images for display was perhaps a little cowardly, after the brave decision to release the image as the cover. But, maybe still, this demonstrates another point, in an act of self preservation against a judgmental society, does this not highlight the folly that binds us to our hardships?
You can visit the artist's website - Lisa Yuskavage
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