Kaie on blind spots

Some examples that came to my mind when trying to comment on blind spots:

I read a book by brothers Arkadi and Boriss Strugatski called “The Snail on the Slope” (in Russian: Улитка на склоне). Because of the power of this novel’s attack on the existing political regime and morals, censorship prevented Russians from reading the complete novel until 1989. In the 1960’s, they read chapters about the Forest and the Forest Directorate separately, not realizing Strugatskis had conceived the plot as a single story. To be short, this novel is mostly about The Forest, which is forbidden to humans, they are afraid of it, they don´t get the trees, nature, lakes, animals, swamp…everything that is characteristic about the forest…A Russian sci-fi in its best way. It is quite hard to understand the book, I don´t know, is it because that the forest is as same natural for me as the sun or is it because forest or nature in general is very mysterious. In any case, in this book The Forest for humans is a blind spot, they don´t get it and they are afraid of it. (There are some similarities with the forest figure in James Cameron´s 2009 movie “Avatar”)

I found one work made with Processing visualizing “The Snail on the Slope” by the artist´s view. It is interesting, how here the nature is viewed and how nature has been a source of research and the outcome has developed with the help of computer program:

Also, I thought about words and sentences and how we are trying to process/generate them, kills the basic thought/idea. I quess everyone has tried to find “right words for the right thought”. And after saying or writing the thought, it looses its mysterious “this is it” and becomes just a sentence. Well, of course, it isn´t so dramatic all the time, but there have been times, when trying to find the right words to say what is on my mind, is very difficult. The language is so structured but our thoughts aren’t always so structured, but to make ourselves readable/listenable, we have to rape our thoughts into words and readable sentences.

Here, I suggest another book by Valdur Mikita (he is Estonian semiotic): “Wild Linguistics” (in Estonian:Metsik Lingvistka) who deals with this question a lot. He also brings out South-Estonian dialect. There are cases where people just mumble. Lets say, one watches the sky, doesn´t say anything, but just mumbles and the others around him understand it. This is an example of how you don´t have to make yourself clear only by words.

For conclusion, a question: If one who has used to traditional marionette show sees the one I am posting below, does one think that this is a violation of traditional marionette? I quess this is a stupid question and there is no general answer for it:)

The link to contemporary French marionette:

kaiekaabel

About kaiekaabel

I am a second year M.A. candidate at the Estonian Academy of Arts with a major in Art Education. Currently, I am also taking courses at Aalto University in Helsinki. In Aalto, my main interest lies mostly in courses with focus on e-pedagogy, such as Visual Knowledge Building, Creative Learning Spaces of Future and this one - Shaping Media-Pedagogical Media Theory. In addition to exploring contemporary media-studies/theories in relation to art pedagogy, I am also interested in experimental video, costume and props in theater and film (I obtained a B.A. degree in props and stage design from University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy).
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2 Responses to Kaie on blind spots

  1. Wey Wey says:

    Brilliant post – thanks, Kaie, I learned a lot from it!

    EVOLVING, BRANCHING ART

    You said:
    “I quess everyone has tried to find “right words for the right thought”. And after saying or writing the thought, it looses its mysterious “this is it” and becomes just a sentence.”

    That may be similar to the loss between the idea behind a piece of art compared to its realisation. I think you hit on what Walter Benjamin once said about finished pieces of art, or “works” (german “Werke”):

    “A work is a death mask of its conception.”
    – Walter Benjamin (1928)

    Where there is first the wealth of hints, dynamics of development and unfulfilled promises, the finished product has finally to comply to the limits of the chosen media, and stays what it is.

    Of course one’s work could be not the content within a medium, but a medium itself, for other artists to work with. In this case it would live (again), change in its (possible) meaning(s), get richer and more meaningful over time.
    The trick is: How does an artist create a medium instead of just a content; and is she or he content with this result… ;)
    CC-Licenses and a remix-culture seem to be a possible answer to Benjamin’s metaphor.

    You asked:
    “If one who has used to traditional marionette show sees the one I am posting below, does one think that this is a violation of traditional marionette? I quess this is a stupid question and there is no general answer for it:)”

    I think this is a great and important question, connected with Benjamin’s “deathmask” metaphor. Only that here the “work” is not a single piece of art, but a whole medium: Puppetplay.
    With no changes over time to the rules of what is perceived as ‘true’ puppetplay, the medium may stagnate somewhen, and die, or be something only to be found in museums anymore.
    You can find ‘traditional’ performative arts developing, branching and evolving, like theatre (see e.g. Bertolt Brecht’s Distancing Effect) or opera, to broaden the range of possible expression. One can even argue that “Improv Everywhere” is traditional theatre combined with pervasivity (see e.g. Markus Montola et al. “Pervasive Games” (suppl. texts if you’re interested).

    In your example, one can see influences from japanese (Kabuki) and javanese (Wayang) play, don’t you think…?

    And another tip, if you do not know it already: The movie “Being John Malkovich” (1999) has some very beautiful puppetplay sequences (from my POV); the whole film is, in fact, about puppetplayers and puppets.

    MURMURING and FLOATING SIGNIFIERS

    You said:
    “Here, I suggest another book by Valdur Mikita (he is Estonian semiotic): “Wild Linguistics” (in Estonian:Metsik Lingvistka) who deals with this question a lot. He also brings out South-Estonian dialect. There are cases where people just mumble. Lets say, one watches the sky, doesn´t say anything, but just mumbles and the others around him understand it. This is an example of how you don´t have to make yourself clear only by words.”

    Thank you very much for this gem! This is a very beautiful way to circumvent Wittgenstein’s proposal:

    “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”
    – Ludwig Wittgenstein (1922)

    I was always asking myself: If I remain silent because there is no way to express myself in this or any other medium, then what is the difference to me not wanting to express anything at all?
    Is it a floating or empty signifier – or the absence of a signifier?

    If murmuring is a nonsensical sign for “I have no sign for this, but I’d like to express exactly that”, it would be very handy.
    The South-Estonians are wise people, indeed!

    This is also an important question for aesthetics education: We presume that everybody wants to express her- or himself, e.g. within an artistic medium – but does the result, does the expression have to be interpretable? Could it also be meant to be deliberately not interpretable, because that’s what is wanted to be expressed: the lack of an expression for something felt or experienced, but the want to express this lack?
    This would be not easy for art teachers (or therapists), I fear…

  2. Pingback: Some notes to Kaie’s notes… | Shaping Media | Pedagogical Media Theory

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