RA#4, January 22nd. Idealism and Pragmatism Jan 23, 2019 2:56:08 GMT
Post by Ken (INTJ) on Jan 23, 2019 2:56:08 GMT
In the previous three rounds, the Rightist Art research team has identified existing pieces of art, artists, and genres for examination. Each participant has acted as an observer, deconstructing and reconstructing the underlying elements and symbolic meaning of these objects. During this period, I have attempted to create my own art, through the medium of film. My films were amalgamations of found media, reformed into a novel piece, often opposite to the original tone or moral of the selected works.
The act of creation required a conscious or intuitive understanding of communicative elements. Junkyard sculptors go into a scrap heap and choose pieces that they think are interesting, and weld these pieces together. When selecting media to reform into something original, I had to ask myself, "what makes this piece interesting? Why am I attracted to it? Or, what makes it repulsive to me?" As I began to alter and combine clips, I reflected, "what is the underlying connection or juxtaposition here? What do the opposing clips represent in their totality? What kind of tension or harmony am I attempting to construct?"
Take this analogy to mathematics. In mathematics and geometry, on a Cartesian plane, we speak of:
points as 1 dimensional,
lines as 2 dimensional, and
objects as 3 dimensional.
Then, we can add qualities such as speed to make the object move across a space over time,
(time being the fourth dimension.)
Furthermore, we could describe the change in speed over time,
which would be acceleration.
And further, we could describe the change in acceleration,
adding another dimension.
As the object accelerates and decelerates, it could also change in temperature, color, and size. With enough variables and dimensions in our system of equations, we could model the size, shape, color, brightness, and speed of a shooting star as it flies across the sky.
In this way, I saw first the power or significance of a clip: was it attractive or repulsive?
Then, by the combination of clips, I saw the tension or harmony.
From these two dimensions, I further expanded to the fluctuating relation between tension and harmony.
From this stage, I could add on layers of ideology, morality, and cultural or racial signifiers.
I could reference a multitude of existing myths, and coordinate the progression of these myths in order to construct a meta-commentary on the evolution of culture.
It might be considered "post-modern" to view art as a computer program rather than as an intuitive craft of passion. My intention was not to "go back" to a time prior to post-modernism, but to "go forward" to what lies beyond post-modernism.
The process of forming film often followed a "fruit tree model."
Fruit, a finished product, falls from a tree.
It then falls into the ground, where it decomposes.
The seed, the core of the fruit, then grows.
The seed emerges from the ground as a stem.
This stem splits off into branches and leaves, and finally, a multiplicity of new fruit.
To explain the analogy:
First, I took "fruit." This would be a song that struck me as significant, or a lyric, or a film, or a music video, or an abstract theme. This was the "apple falling from the tree" moment.
I then took a deeper look at the fruit. I ruminated on it. This was the germination process. I asked myself, "what is it in particular that I find so interesting about this piece?"
I would come up with an answer, and this answer would then speciate and become more specific. This answer then guided me to my next "fruit."
As an example, I would find a particular video which offended me, and ask, "why is this offensive?" I would answer, "because it pushes an extremely hedonistic, materialistic, animalistic, and merchandizing view of sexuality." I would then try to find other videos which had similar themes. This gave me a "palate" of colors to work with, to edit, to remix, to place in a series.
At first, I tried a process I called "concentration." With the example of sex, I tried to piece together as many sexually explicit (but currently uncensored by youtube and pushed on children, like Lady Gaga) clips as possible. This process was related to idealism. I wanted, as clearly as possible, to represent the ideal of "hedonism, materialism, animalism, merchantism." The effect was nauseating. I would release drafts to the public, and the response was extremely confused.
"What is the meaning of this? Why post this? What is the purpose of this?"
I tried to be as cryptic as possible because my intention was to create such an intense concentration of an ideal that the ideal itself would become obvious and require no interpretation whatsoever. Interestingly, I began to notice that much of the confusion over my pieces surrounded my "intention." The question of intention, I discovered, was a question of pragmatics. What was my intended effect? Did I want to simply nauseate people? Did I want to celebrate or worship hedonism?
In the question of intention, which I recognized as a question of pragmatism, I began to form plans to add a pragmatic element to my concentrated ideals. This required an explanation of my intention, which is a narrative.
My audience, implicitly and explicitly asked, "what is the purpose of portraying this sexuality? Are you endorsing it or lambasting it?" At that point, I recognized the continuum between propaganda and art.
Propaganda is symbology which is explicit in its intention. It is exoteric. Propaganda shows a picture of a man, edited to look evil. Dissonant music plays. A caption and a voice over highlights: "This is a bad man. He is bad because he broke the rules." Propaganda beats people over the head with a simple message. Propaganda creates associations between personality, ideology, music, and visuals. Those associations are in alignment with one another to create extreme positivity or extreme negativity. There is little subtly, there is little ambiguity.
Art (colloquially) is symbology which is implicit or esoteric. A painting of a vase, or a landscape, or a portrait has no explicit moral. It has no explicit political message. However, as attested by John David Ebert, each art has its own metaphysic.[J] The portraiture of Carel Willink portrays European people as powerful, foreboding, stark. Some would look at his portraiture and call it ugly, fascist, or brutal. Others see it as beautiful, inspiring, dramatic.
Twerking is a form of art. Twerking has its own metaphysic. Those who are aligned with twerking see it as liberating, inspiring, sexy, uplifting, sanguine, fun. Those who are, in their perspective, disaligned with twerking, see it as animalistic, hedonistic, bestial, idiotic, primitive, and mindless. Twerking inspires opposing reactions from opposing people.
The job of art is distinct from propaganda. Whereas propaganda seeks to explain symbology, thus engaging with a person's consciousness, art seeks to engage with a person's Being, their metaphysic.
Why do liberal democrats say, "the fascists and Stalinists were evil, but they sure had good propaganda!" They disagree with the ideology behind the symbology, but the metaphysic of that symbology inherently resonates with their own metaphysic. They disagree with the pragmatic purpose of the propaganda, but they resonate with the spiritual ideals represented by the symbols in themselves.
When Hugo Boss or Arno Breker or Stalin commissioned clothing, architecture, and sculpture, they did so with a pragmatic intention: to create a positive association in favor of the ideology of the ruling regime by using positive ideals. Liberal democrats often can see the positive ideals in a healthy strong male form, but reject the ideology.
I attempted to do the opposite of Breker or Stalin: I took what I perceived as negative symbols, with a negative metaphysic, and I attempted to concentrate them and distill them to reveal their essence with minimal explanation. I wanted to use them to betray their own intentions. In the same way that a liberal democrat looks at a Hugo Boss uniform and says, "beautiful uniform, evil ideology," I wanted these same liberal democrats to say, "I thought humanism and capitalism was a beautiful ideology, but all the artwork it produces is ugly!"
I wanted to choose images which I thought were representative of the current regime's ideology. For this purpose, I did not use images of child drag-queens. Even though these exist and they are legal, and therefore approved by the regime to an extent, they are more fringe than, for example, pop music. Pop music is universal not just in America but all around the world. It is a globally accepted style and a globally tolerated metaphysic. I wanted to use the most popular music videos, with million of views, videos which were accepted by older people and younger people alike.
My product was disgusting. It reminded me of the poetry of Gottfried Benn.[G] What was my pragmatic intention?
In order to give pragmatic meaning to the distillation of the ruling metaphysic, I spliced in clips of figureheads who helped bring about the current regime. I then tried to consider what would be the exact opposite of the negative metaphysic. In this I looked toward Laibach, who ride a thin line between satire and glorification of both Bolshevism and Fascism. Two elements emerged: a worship of futurism, and Faustian exploration, as well as naturalism and traditionalism. After subjecting the viewer to 17 minutes of negativity, I attempted 3 minutes of catharsis and pointed toward a possible solution, beyond merely walking backwards in time.
Over several months of collecting clips, editing them, reforging them, releasing drafts, I learned technical details about video editing, audio editing, and transition timing. Most importantly, however, I gained a deeper understanding of the perspective of the artist. Through work, I came to better understand the perspective of medieval craftsmen, of Soviet propagandists, of corporate advertisers, of pornographers, of priests, of playwrights, and cartoonists. Ultimately, these are the people who establish the metaphysic of a civilization. Their ideals may be contradict one another, and these conflicts often stem from the central power of society, whether that central power is priestly, martial, or mercantile. But in any case, ideals mean nothing in the abstract. Ideals only gain meaning when we develop a thumotic connection with these ideals. Most people gain this connection through propaganda. Some people claim to gain this connection by reading essays or studying data from sociological studies -- they claim that they were convinced through pure logic. But we can never value anything through logic alone. Logic and empiricism connects cause and effect, but can never tell us which effects we SHOULD desire. It is metaphysics which does that. Propaganda and art exist together on a spectrum, ranging from the exoteric "Public Service Announcement," to the esoteric and cryptic. The function of this spectrum of representation is to align our Will with a certain metaphysic.
[J] Art After Metaphysics Part 1 by John David Ebert. Or, a brief introduction to the concept.
[G] Poems and a short bio of Gottfried Benn.