June 2011 Archives

Abodes .





This picture continues in the vein of images that investigate the "picturesque" -- most of which are generated from dedication to the notion that someplace other than where you are is more visually interesting than where you are because you are not normallly there. Visual editorial can always chose to spin a picture's information in a certain direction, but one thing that postcards can be famous for is capturing a scene in such a way that it is faithful to the experience of live observation. This "fidelity" is typically attractive in the service of showing unusual things, but it is more interesting when it shows how usual things are unsuspectingly unusual.

(Copyright 2011 Malcolm Ryder)





Only what matters.

(Copyright 2010 Malcolm Ryder)

Say What I Do, Not What I Say


Artwork sometimes suffers from being "finished", because the finish hides the labor that went into it. This phenomenon is so well known that artists sometimes intentionally leave reminders of the labor clearly evident in the work, to help announce that something was made and did not just simply appear. Their objective is to discourage the viewer or audience from taking things for granted. But observers will still have their own way with art works, nonetheless, sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse. It turns out that being a good observer or audience may take some training, just as being an artist will.

At some point we have to go back to the simplest descriptions of our relationships with things produced from labor, in order to get a grip on the different ways that things matter to us. For example, with "art", there is always at least "consuming", "appreciating", and "making" -- three entirely different relationships with art. Each relationship delivers a different kind of value. Each relationship calls for something you have to know about yourself and something you have to know about the art-ifact. And each relationship's characteristic pairing is different from that of the other two.

Observers and audiences can become pretty sophisticated in the sense that they will "role play" while they are experiencing artwork -- in effect shifting or roaming around in the possible relationships. Mentally, if you go into an experience with some bit of art from one POV (say, "making"), and you get frustrated by some aspect that is a problem for you in another POV (say, "consuming"), then the issue is that you have to decide whether to let the tangential thing be a show-stopper, or whether you're going to sort yourself out and keep going.