READER ‘*J” DISCUSSES THE INHERENT VIOLENCE THAT LIES WITHIN THAT (ALSO) INHERENTLY LOVING ACT CALLED ‘ART’:
‘….(Since Manet) and the wonderful painting Le dejuenuer sur l’herb, as a critique of the disembodiment in modern life.. The irony of that painting of course is the woman looks back out at the viewer with two fully clothed men surrounding her at a picnic..the picnic is in the park, the artificially implanted nature within the city..There is a second woman bathing in the background who looks like she could be floating in cyberspace..The people are in a space of nature but the abstraction at play and the artificiality of the atmosphere make the setting seem more virtual and odd…The artificiality of the painting then comments on the disembodied subject of the self in Haussmannian world of imperial Napoleonic era that has dictated much of what has become western culture, the bearings of capitalism and modernism…as much as Manet’s painting shows us the the isolation in modern life, digital interactions today further isolate humanity and distort human communications. Digital interactions mimic social interactions, but they are not the same thing..Human embodiment at some point is being replaced by technology and shapes a different way of exchange… language is broken down into codes (0’s and 1’s and emoticons *-j) So we could go as far as to say it is the black mirror of modern technology which renders human sentience invisible and we cannot escape the fact that contemporary art is always a reflection of the times.
Baudrilliard writes further on ‘The hyper-Realism of simulation’ – “The hyper -real represents a much more advanced stage insofar as it manages to efface even this contradiction between the real and imaginary. Unreality no longer resides in contradiction between the real and imaginary. Unreality no longer resides in the dream of fantasy, or in the beyond, but in the real’s hallucinatory’s resemblance to itself. Reality loops round itself in pure repetition…it attempts a kind of circular seduction where one can easily mark the unconscious undertaking to become invisible.” Hence this constant overlapping, mirroring and replacement between image and self furthers the anxiety of identity and emancipation loss…he writes further..” we live in times where there is more and more information and less and less meaning”.
If the artist’s hand in modernist and romantic terms represents the vehicle of creation and the hand is the genius of the artist there is a separation between body and mind but also for the hand that is severed from the body for the sake of the genius, (this relating to genesis and the theory of original truth.) …And as with Cezanne who proclaimed to know the truth and to show it to us through painting.
For Derrida the hand was like the face, it was a monstrous sign because man is a monstrous sign but for him it was also like a gift…he describes….”the thought of the hand belongs to the essence of the gift , of a giving that would give, if this is possible, without taking hold of anything. If the hand is also, and no one can deny, an organ for gripping (Grieforgan) that is not its essence, is not the hand’s essence in the human being.”
…we can go even further and say that the production of every image is an act of violence, that there is inherent violence in image creation and manifestation. Every image claims to capture some form of reality through its documentation of time and space, it supposes reality and truth through its creation. Jean-Luc Nancy writes in The Ground and the Image about this relationship saying while “Violence has its truth, truth has its violence” and that,“Violence does not serve truth; it wants instead to be truth”. So the truth- value that is assigned at the moment of creation; as well as the intended or intended use of the image becomes the image’s violence. Derrida’s description of Handwerk, describes the difficulty in registering where the hand begins and ends (and the same goes for knowledge, thinking and writing), there is no sign of the borders surrounding image, violence and truth. The image exists because of imagining, and the excessive violence of wanting to be truth.
With the internet today filled with so many monstrous images, every image of madness is also possible. It is a place to further fantasies, for more obsessing, hiding out, as well as a platform for exchange and encouragement. Carl Elliot wrote in 2000 an article for the Atlantic called “New ways to be? Mad” in which he writes of the looping effect of madness and what he calls “semantic contagion” in which the technologies that are supposed to treat mental disorders also create more variations of those mental disorders. The web is filled with a longing for identity of every kind of fantasy, indicating how madness can be influenced by technology.
Marshall Mcluhan famously writes “the medium is the message”, the message, however is inherently the mediums violence. Germany’s nationalism was founded with the invention of the Gutemberg press in the mid-fifteenth century, and with the dissemination of print to a wider audience. In particular Martin Luther’s translation of the bible from Latin into german in the 1500’s caused the Lutheran Protestant Reformation and thus the German church’s separation from the Catholic church. This is the larger scope of the technological effect in the religious and political world, but the printing press also changed modes of communication altogether. Oral communication was now rendered bound and linear by the dominance and precedence of the book. Mcluhan referred to this time as the “Gutenberg Galaxy”, a historic time when there was a greater emphasis on literature and structure. Each medium then, not only contains its own message but also has a inherent violence that people can further employ through violent channeling, as Hitler used Radio (a medium that only allows a one-way direction of a message) to further the violence of his dictatorship. Technology, like language has the capability to further the violence but it is not inherent in it, it exists prior to it. The Machine that wants to take over, (the imperial fascistic mind set), may be the greatest parasitic threat to challenge a world order defined by the presence of self in every medium and expression.
So what then happens if we consider the relationship of paint on canvas, figure- ground within the language of art as inherently violent? It turns the process of mark making into an excess of signs rather than artistic creation. Formally the artist was a genius, and their art was something transcendental to the essence of knowing and becoming, and now the role is shifted to that of a conscious thinker who must be aware of what he or she is creating and bringing into the world. Certainly more artists should be more aware of the images being created, as careless and excessive as most are: how might their images, paintings, objects, installations occupy a piece of this world? Well, we can never truly know but alas we had to ask.’