To him who looks at the world rationally, the world looks rational in return.
Hegel, Introduction to the Philosophy of History
The perception of beauty is a moral test.
For the beautiful is nothing but the beginning of the terrifying…
Rilke, Duino Elegies
The human gaze has a power of conferring value on things; but it makes them cost more too.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value
1. Knowing what we know, we know nothing: we believe our eyes (and ears, and words) but they are too busy verifying what has been stored in our cataloged universe.
2. Every age has its icons: photographers freeze that moment, cinematographers capture that movement. The traces of those fetishistic rituals are revered in museums, theaters and online. Media has already transformed society; can visual artists, besides “doing it their way,” provide more than an ever expanding sensory massage?
3. Picture-perfect… captive audiences… can we look into our blindness?
We seek and look, like Nasrudin, BUT only where there is light*.
Can we go beyond what UG decried, art-as-sensory-massage, and is the mind just another organ awaiting similar stimulation?
Besides The School of No Media, this is an initial list of supporting materials:
Anechoic Chamber/Isolation Tank
The Society of the Spectacle & Against Cinema by Guy Debord
Notes on Cinematography by Robert Bresson
Mount Analogue by René Daumal
Sites of Vision: The Discursive Construction of Sight in the History of Philosophy by David Kleinberg-Levin
Voices by Porchia
U.G. Krishnamurti – but not the famous one’s books or his website
The Society of the Spectacle/Against Cinema/ In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni by Guy Debord
Roberto Rossellini’s historical films
Doron Solomons’ tonight’s headlines
Robert Bresson and Andrei Tarkovsky’s work
Chris Marker’s Sunless
Yael Hersonski’s A Film Unfinished
Patricio Guzmán’s Chile, Obstinate Memory & Nostalgia for the Light
Claude Lanzman’s Shoah
John Berger’s Ways of Seeing
Alain Resnais’ Night and Fog.
*The famous Sufi story of Nasrudin:
One late evening Nasrudin was walking home. Upon arrival he seemed upset about something. Just then a young man came along and saw the Mullah’s distress.
“Mullah, pray tell me: what is wrong?”
“Ah, my friend, I have lost my keys. Would you help me search for them? I know I had them when I left the tea house.”
So, he helped Nasrudin with the search for the keys. For quite a while the man searched here and there but no keys were to be found. He looked over to Nasrudin and found him searching only a small area around a street lamp. “Mullah, why are you only searching there?”
Nasrudin answered proud of himself: “Why would I search where there is no light?”