Sunday, May 13, 2012
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I'm not sure how to start this so I'm just gonna jump right into my main idea: While I was in the Guggenheim this past weekend, looking at a collection of Kandinsky's artwork spanning his life, I was overcome with thoughts and emotions. It was some beautiful work, abstract art is always something that amazes me and this stuff was beautiful. Looking at his collection, you see the pure volume of the work he did, you see all the time he spent laboring over his intricate works. In a given year: He might have painted well over 200 works, including hundreds more abstract sketches to guide him alone whatever he wanted to convey in his next painting, while teaching at one of several universities he worked at throughout his life, was helping set up galleries for his and other abstract artist's work in whatever community he was in at the time, all while being married and sometimes having an affair. I think thats a pretty busy life, much more than I could ever handle. So I'm thinking about this standing in a world famous museum, in the busiest city in the country, and I can't help but be a little uneasy. I feel a sense of grandiose opposition in philosophies. I felt like the message of his art, along with some other really great works by other amazing artists, is that you need to deconstruct everything you know about the world and whatever is considered normal and base in society. Then you have these being displayed in this amazingly designed building by Frank Lloyd Wright (who I gotta give love to being from Buffalo) on probably the busiest street in the country. I mean, the 50 block walk to get there, was like walking down a crowded high school hallway, except the sidewalk was probably 25-30 feet wide. Being from a place where 200 people in a mall is busy, it was almost mind-blowing for me to experience the sheer amount of commercialization and urbanization surrounding this beautiful beacon for transcendent art. Art is at its core a search for self-discovery. Seeing a good portion of Kandinsky's life's work and how it changed throughout his life, the more work he created and how he constantly changed his artistic output based on everything that was constantly changing in his life. In the most commercially important city in the country which is at the center of the information world, in a short attention span society, we have this amazing display of some of the most thought provoking abstract art I've ever seen.
So I'm thinking to myself about the last time I stopped and thought about a piece of art and really tried to understand the state of mind of the artist while he created. While this is quite difficult to put yourself into the shoes of a Russian who grew up in Germany and then was forced out because of his Russian heritage. Or someone who could sit in a chair and just paint all day to try and convey a message to the world. So all I could think of is what the hell am I supposed to do to convey my message. On that thought I wondered what my message is or if I'll ever truly know what it is I want to "tell the world". I thought about the beautiful art found at the center of a city filled with everything bad America has to offer and I realized how great an analogy it was to life itself. How much time do we spend, in essence, running around with our heads chopped off. Wandering in circles wondering what we're supposed to be doing or what will make us feel complete. For Kandinsky, it was his art, it woke him up every morning, it was part of every meal and every night he went to sleep. It was his passion, and his passion lives on through his work, I felt it just standing near it. I just wonder how many of us, in our watch now/think later society, how much time do we waste not doing what we love or what makes us feel fulfilled.
As odd as it sounds, and as improbable as it may be in our society, I feel like my passion is to make more people realize things like this. To show as many people as I can to find that little art museum they love inside of the world of crap that is around them trying to pull them into its black hole of normalcy. I hope I figure out how to do it someday...
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Here was my list of thoughts today (to the best of my recollection):
1.) Enter today's consciousness to the tune of "Edge of Desire"
2.) Think about how I miss "her" (this can be one of 4 possible hers, its usually random, I wish I had control over this) (this is probably due to the alarm song I chose to play this week)
3.) God, I don't wanna get out of bed..
4.) But I should because I get behind missing even one day of German.
5.) I want to go to Germany
6.) Ok, I'll actually get out of bed and go brush my teeth now.
7.) Ehhh, I'm only going to school, I'll just chug some pop and get dressed.
8.) Wait, can't forget my bowl.
9.) Ugh, I wish I could go one day without needing to smoke a bowl almost as soon as I wake up.
10.) I'm so glad we have a short week of class.
11.) I can't wait until our NYC trip this weekend.
12.) Better check my facebook and do my normal everyday morning things on my computer (check woot, my outwar accounts, all my fantasy teams)
13.) Damnit, like usual, these activities overlap the time I should be driving to German class.
14.) Fuck, did I park on the right side of the street?
15.) Phew, no ticket for me today.
16.) Take a hit and start the car.
17.) Hmmmm, Can I make it to school with the gas gauge on E, well, it is a sliver above the E line, I'm sure I can make it, I'm feeling too lazy and tired to get out of the car before I'm done with this half hour drive.
18.) People on elmwood in the morning piss me off, why can't we all just drive smoothly through the traffic lights so I can get on the highway without taking 10 minutes out of my day.
19.) Turn onto the highway, oh yeah, I should probably already be buckled but I'll go ahead and do that now.
20.) This drive can get on my nerves, why are the highways infested with cops? God I wish I was in germany where people aren't constantly harassed by law enforcement.
21.) Yeah, I should hit this bowl again.
22.) I wonder how late Ryan will be to class today.
23.) Meine Grossvater bekommte aus Italien. (Don't ask why a random german thought about my grandfather came into my head)
24.) "I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees"
25.) I should probably stop overplaying this Mayer album before I get sick of it, I think I'm already starting to get sick of Perfectly Lonely and a couple other songs.
26.) I'm almost to the 990, I should probably hit this bowl again or I'll be forced to hit it 3 times in a row once I park my car and then I'll be fucked for class.
27.) I wish this semester would be over so I don't have to drive back and back to school in Amherst and then back to work and home 3 hours after I'm done with my school day. It's rather annoying and stressful since I'm driving without a license.
28.) Pulling into UB, I think how glad I am I went against what I wanted to do originally and went here instead of State or anywhere else.
29.) Parking is a bitch, fuck this place.
30.) Maybe music is a drug, I listen to it nonstop once I get in the car, and before I get out I put headphones in to walk 10 minutes to Baldy hall.
Not that any of these thoughts are very important, trying to remember them was relatively difficult, some of them might have been the result of reconstruction (fancy little psychology term I learned this semester). I remember that statistic that men think about sex every 6 seconds or something. I can specifically remember this being me and even when I was constantly having sex it was always on my mind. It's just not anymore, If it isn't pointless thoughts like most of my early morning thoughts, its thinking about having to work later, or about someone who isn't around, or some social/cultural problems that are destroying individuality and creativity, or what fucking team is playing Houston tonight? When did I allow myself to get so serious that a simple completely normal sexual thought doesn't enter into my head throughout the course of a day. Life shouldn't be spent wasting time not thinking about sex. Thats my thought of the day.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Extenuating circumstances have brought me to this. I've always been sort of blindly scared of this whole of stream of consciousness writing that is how most people "blog". The kind of fear that makes you not want to talk to someone you might not know, it can be a subtle fear, but at the same time it can be paralyzing. I have (when I say have, I mean 3 or 4 times) tried writing in the stream of consciousness style before and never found it to have any centralizing theme which is a huge problem for me. The moral has to be there, so I never really liked that style because I couldn't completely plan the creative act before I committed it. That being said, certain difficulties I had with my technologies forced me to turn the video games off and get some ideas out. I still think that stream of consciousness writing can allow you to get at certain information you have encoded in your mind that you normally don't think about or allow to be a part of your consciousness. Usually those things are what I would like in the forefront of my mind when trying to put myself in "the creative state".
The central theme that has become my life lately is the idea of ideologies and what makes up each person's unique ideology and how much does that affect the "normal" behaviors we see from people. Not all thoughts can be mapped onto words given the present state of language, there will always be those thoughts that you can only label as emotions, or instinct. Instinct is just a way of explaining the internal things we cannot truly explain. The way we use mythologies in the past and religions in the present to explain externalities we didn't understand, ideology is how we explicate our internalizations. Which sometimes makes it something a bit harder to pinpoint certain aspects of ideology. It asks us to dig to the core of ourself and divulge our inner most being and belief. From the tradition dualism of "right" and "wrong", to your thoughts on Western influence in the world, and back to whether or not you believe in capitalism. It's all-encompassing, your "unique" consciousness gives birth to the ideology of (Insert Name Here).
My old ideology was wrong for me. I was speaking to a friend of mine about this idea and I thought of an analogy that instantly became very poignant. It's like trying to put the proverbial circle block through the square hole, except in this case, if the block can't make it through, you'll never achieve that happiness. You must skim off the unnecessary parts of the ideologies that we are immersed in from birth. Me, I wanted to believe in all the wonderful ideas we are all fed as we are younger, I was skeptical at first. Usually skepticism comes with age, but I tried it out before trying out all the cliches. I should have followed that instinct because I ended up right back where I started with the cynicism. Satire was my first love, and I left it for the promise of a white picket fence and a decent living. So what does one do when after x years of believing in a candy coated, watered down ideology? It's impossible to completely revamp your belief systems in any short period of time... so where do you start? What is most important? Where do I fit in? What is it I want to do? Asking all these questions can be enough to rattle someone, the asking alone implies confusion. (Implications, implications... what happens when all implications disappear and we are left to draw ALL our own conclusions... interesting thought)
Without the question, where is personal growth? I have yet to come across someone who seemed to have it "figured out", or frankly, even remotely close to it. No one will ever get there, because the line is infinite on either end. It goes on forever and it never stops, such is the idea of time, one continuous collective consciousness that will continue beyond the life of our species and our planet. Or will it? There is no understanding, scientific or religious, that is going to bring you any better sense of how the universe works, or why gravity exists. Yet they are still questions that are asked and "answered". If we identify ourselves along that line of time, then we can see ourselves as one, simply travelling across the vector of time until our death. Ideology is what brings the line to a screeching halt. Ideas/creative thought/instincts/anything we internalize cannot be defined by time, because we are not subject to time.
The point is this: At any given moment, you can choose to be anyone you want to be. That opens up a universe of possibility.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The IG Manifesto
Survival Guide for the Instantaneous Society
By: Robert LaComb
We are entering a paradoxical time in human history. For all intents and purposes, we have already entered this time and I will speak as such is the case. This paradox can be defined in a very simple fashion; history is having a smaller and smaller impact on the present. The “way of things” is an idea that is taking on completely new meaning in a way never seen before. New generations are being immersed into new forms of communication and technologies that have no set of ethics attached. Without getting too in-depth into these technologies, I believe that a new set of moral conduct will need to be enacted or “subconsciously agreed” on by the whole of society. This new “techno-moral” code addresses problems that previously did not exist throughout human history. Having the ideology that no change is necessary will be detrimental to the psyche to this generation. This new code of ethics has been broken down into the necessary parts: Individual, Artistic, Cultural, Governmental. Finding the balance between these facets of life in our changing world is the main objective.
(Basic concepts and understandings that must become commonplace)
1.) First and foremost, Never lose sense of what is truly important in your life. As we create more and more technologies that have the ability to allow us to multi-task many parts of our lives; we often find ourselves “lost in the screen”. One must always strive to be internally vigilant to “recognize” the differences between the world we physically live in; and the digital world in which we conjure anything we like into reality. It obviously goes without saying that you must be cognizant of the “non-reality” of the Internet. Once we subconsciously get comfortable to this “place” in which we spend so much of our time, it becomes a lot easier to get addicted to the technologies that help us balance our lives.
1.a.) One must also be careful the “relationship” they have with their technologies. The end result of the technologies we are striving to create a “one-ness” of computer and mind. Without getting into psychological theories dealing with the mind as a computer, the statement must be made that we make every effort to separate personal, intellectual thoughts/life from the computer environment. This is in order to safeguard ourselves from a possible addiction to technology.
2.) If privacy is of particular concern to you, you must be ever-weary of how you portray yourself online. (digital world vs. physical world) ANYTHING you post, upload, text, send is being put into a database somewhere (as is anything in the digital world) so you must be always careful of what you wish you expose to the entire world. Yes, the entire world (in effect) can view whatever you decide to put on your facebook, twitter, flickr, youtube, etc. This is also especially important for the Artist or of any public figure (best recent example would be Michael Phelps).
3.) One must constantly be concerned with education. The definition of education is “the act or process of acquiring knowledge, developing the powers of reason and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.” With such a broad definition, we should always be striving for education. In an increasingly more “instant” information age, human value is measured by specialization of skills (plural due to the fact that it is becoming more and more custom that having one area of specialization is simply not good enough). It is easy to see the benefit in constantly adding to your compendium of knowledge. Not to say that someone should be taking part in higher education their entire lives, it can be something as elementary as the desire to play guitar. A lesson on any instrument is only a click away, why not employ every resource that is available. Employ EVERY technology that is accessible and sensible to you because ignorance can no longer be used as an excuse for anything, in any context, in this changing world.
4.) Forms of education must also change in order to adapt to the changing technological world. We are encountering a huge problem in education formally called ADD or ADHD. What we are trying to politely diagnose as boredom is simply an evolutionary side effect of the changes in technology. It speaks to reason that as we become a society more and more based on instantaneous information/instant accessibility, that we will eventually get to the point of boredom when being forced to learn in an rudimentary learning environment. The internet has spawned the ability to research (also to teach) almost anything you’d like to. Interconnectivity of information makes the thought of sitting in a classroom all day dreadfully boring to a large portion of adults, so why should it be assumed that children (and they are increasingly smarter and more knowledgeable than children of the past) would enjoy being spoon-fed information they can access whenever they want.
5.) Another concept we must be more acute to is the accuracy of the information that we “consume“. This is a relatively new problem due to the ability to almost anyone who has the gumption to make some sort of collection of information available to the public, can do so. This was not always the case, and the reputation of those who spent the time to give the general public important information was at stake if they presented the populace with false information. With an abundance of anonymous information stored all over the vast alternate universe that is the internet, we must always be watching and thinking carefully about the information we consume; its source, its credibility and of course it’s relevance to you. It may seem like this issue only comes up with a celebrity death rumor or stupid gossip. If the misinformation leads to false belief in something, false belief is capable of catastrophe.
5.a.) With there being a market for sites like Youtube or Digg or any site that collects information from a wide range of people, there is the danger of information saturation. I would describe information saturation as a problem similar to that of adverse selection in economics. Adverse selection is when firms will not give funds to borrowers due the existence of any risk in the marketplace for loans. In terms of information, we need to be conscious of where the risk is in what we take in. In other terms, we need to constantly use our logic and reasoning to see what information is false, what is misleading, and what is truthful. People need to realize that they must examine each facet of new media in the same light they would assess a news channel like CNN. Different news outlets are just like a marketplace, expect the product is information and its free. The obvious problem with free products is the lack of assurance of quality, therefore you must be weary about what outlets you trust. Otherwise, information overload may become a problem when you simply can’t stop the constant flow of crap that is going into your brain. With being part of an educated people, we must fight to identify when we are being fed crap. We must also demand that media outlets do not simplify important information as if we aren’t capable of handling complex situations. Transparency of information is vital.
6.) We, as citizens of the world, need to understand that in the last century, people have allowed governments to slowly expand the reaches of their power under this guise called globalization. We have, little by little, let them dictate, more and more, how we live large portions of our lives. We can teach about Locke and early economic and governmental philosophy but that isn’t the same as living the ideals he wrote about. Power lies not in the hands of the government, at least it shouldn’t. As things are currently, the government holds most of the cards. We must continue to create our own institutions (best example is the Internet) free of government constraint and policy. We need to make our own social and technological foundations and break free from the metaphorical chains that limit our potential for change. In order to enact any kind of change in this world, people must understand their value and live the change they want to see in the global atmosphere.
(When I say artist, I mean that in a far-reaching, extremely broad sense of the word. Anyone who uses their creativity to make a living; I consider an artist)
7.) No matter how much technology changes/improves/simplifies our lives, creative thought will always be rewarded by society. If you believe your talent may be something that strays from the norm, ignore the status quo and take advantage of your unique talent.
8.) Tradition has dictated that the artist, for the most part, must be inaccessible. This is no longer the case, the Artist’s original work (ex. - painting, lyric, poem, novel, movie) still has importance, but its interpretation and how it affects culture and evokes a response from the mediums in which we compare art forms. Therefore the Artist is no longer a mythical figure, (the painter hidden away in desolation, the writer in his log cabin) the Artist is part of the cultural conversation and must accept the responsibility of social relevance to combat the increasing irrelevance that comes with giving every individual the technology needed to create their own “art”.
9.) The Artist must remain tied to their work. Similar to the concept of the inaccessible artist; when the art is separated from the Artist, the personality of their art can be lost. Their act of creativity has become something tangible; something sellable. The way in which we, as a culture, market the Artist’s product is atrocious for the future development and encouragement of new art (or any creative thought). The art must be sold with the Artist better, a great creative mind should be directly tied to his works in order to obtain a better understanding of Art. In order to further the arts, the Artist ought to aspire to remain connected to all their art and not allow corporations own portions of their creative output.
10.) If you find the medium in which you created your art changing, instead of denouncing technology and risk being out of touch culture and society, adapt. It is instinctual and natural for you to adapt to your changing environment, it’s one of the few good traits we have. Adapt to an ever-changing artistic domain with ever-broadening conceptual view of what is considered art. Never forget that your ability to express your unique thoughts is what makes you valuable to society. Not any pre-conceived notion of success based on numbers, your relevance to society is where your worth lies. Constantly strive to acclimate yourself to the changing social environments that cause art to be meaningful.
(Or as a culture, to ensure we reflect the best nation we can be to the world)
11.)As a country we must always strive for better and better forms of education. Education should not be an enterprise with profit margins and students as consumers of knowledge. Stop jamming the information down the throats of the American college(or any level of education) student and teach them how to better “inhale” all the information they are being bombarded with. The fastest growing industry in teaching is specialized distance learning, these are statistics we need to pay attention and respond to by encouraging more and more revolutionary teaching methods.
11.a.)Not only must we continue to progress in teaching methods, we must also always encourage every generation to pursue higher education. Poverty decreases as education increases. If we really want to continue to improve the life of the “every-man“, we must continue to educate everyone we possibly can. Knowledge is the ultimate tool we have as humans, we have our ability to reason and use our knowledge of the world to live our lives the best we know how. The best gift we can give to future generations is a sound education.
12.)We must always encourage the progression of technologies to help advance our society. We must spend tax dollars accordingly. We should hope to not be living in a world of war, so as a country we need to stop devoting money to regressive policies worldwide and start the appropriation of funds to the scientific, education, engineering, computing and other technological fields that will be responsible for the advancement of our information driven world.
13.) Most importantly, Governments must get back to what they have always been intended to do, which is do their best to protect the people of their country. Partisanship has ruined our political system, plain and simple. If the government doesn’t begin to recall where they obtain their “power”, then they are doomed to fail in the future.
14.) That being said, the fashion in which those elected govern needs to be changed. Democracy is not having elections and sending the elected off to govern in a remote location. In a relative sense, They don’t have to even deal with most who have elected them, at least for a couple years. Those who “rule” should always be subject to the people, not just once every 2, 3 or 4 years. Democracy has become a joke in the United States, it would be laughable if it wasn’t for the constant disappointment that people are becoming accustomed to.
15.) From the perspective of the government institutions, our goal should be to maximize the potentials of our country while making sure to respect the well being of neighboring countries and peoples. I mean this GLOBALLY, not just in American relations. Money and Power should not be objectives, direct or indirect. Governments should be STRIVING for the approval of the people. When a main objective of the individual elected official becomes re-election, there is a serious problem at hand.