Constellation:- Entropy, Ecology and Modernity (session 4)

Order and Disorder-

Here we looked at formulating ‘the basis of a reunion between creative artists and the industrial world.’

‘We know more certainly every day that whatever appears to us harmful in the universe has some beneficent or necessary operation… But the evil is not for the same less fearful, because we  have learned it to be necessary; and we easily  understand the humidity or the tenderness of the spirit which would withdraw itself from the presence of destruction… That man is greater, however, who contemplates with an equal mind the alternations of terror and of beauty… But separated from both by an immeasurable distance would be the man who delighted in convulsion and disease for their own sake; who found his daily food in the disorder of nature mingled with the suffering of humanity.’ –John Ruskin, The Nature of Gothic, 1851-­53.

Another quote by John Ruskin say ‘There is no wealth but life. Life, including all its powers of love, of joy, of admiration. That country is richest which nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy human beings.’ – Into this Last, 1862.

For this session we also had to respond to this week’s topics and recommended reading. The first one was Creative play where we had to make a visual response to the phrase ‘Art (and design) in the age of mechanical reproduction.’ Here we had to experiment with observational drawing and use of reproduction processes (such as collage, photography, photocopies, prints, casts, moulds, internet etc). What does reproduction bring to this project? Play with scale, multiples, quality of reproduction, contrast, tone, colour etc.

Here I’ve taken a photograph of a women modelling a dress and put it onto Photoshop. I have edited using brushes and different lighting techniques to create a much more interesting piece. Adding to your work digitally using many different kinds of software allows you to create something better, editing things like colour, lighting, shadow, tone etc. It’s fantastic as it allows you to have an infinite amount of possibilities, which can not be done by taking a simple photograph.

The second response we had to make was, choose at least one quote or passage from The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ (Walter Benjamin) and ‘The Theory and Organisation of the Bauhaus’ (Walter Gropius) that you think is particularly relevant to the following questions:

Does a camera more than a painting extend our comprehension of energies, forces and actions?-

“The eye perceives more swiftly than the hand can draw.”

How does a reproduction differ from a unique image or object? Does it increase a sense of the ‘universal equality of things?’-

“In photography, process reproduction can bring out those aspects of the original that are unattainable to the naked eye yet accessible to the lens, which is adjustable and chooses its angle at will.”

How did Walter Gropius suggest the Bauhaus could combat the ‘disorder’ of society in the ‘machine economy?’-

“Human achievement depends on the proper coordination of all the creative faculties. It is not enough to school one or another of them separately: they must all be trained at the same time. The character and scope of the Bauhaus teachings derive from

the realization of this.”

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