Fifty Six Concerning anti-mimesis

Have you ever heard the phrase “life imitates art?”

It is a concept called Anti-mimesis which is a philosophical position which is directly opposite to mimesis, which is the proposition that (in a nutshell) art imitates life. Anti-mimesis is a concept that was highly favoured by Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. It has been around since ancient greek times when it was proposed by Aristophanes and it is a concept that is normally applied to classics and fine art having an influence on the way people live their lives and the way people perceive their surroundings.

It is also a concept that I have been thinking a lot about recently…although I confess I did not know the term anti-mimesis or the history of the concept until I decided to write this blog. I have been considering it in conjunction with vastly different concepts to the artistic and poetic ones espoused by Oscar Wilde, but I think they are concepts that hold true to the ideal. I have been considering this:

To what extent have science fiction writers of the past shaped our present? Well, not only early science fiction writers of the past but writers who are still writing excellent books today, but who wrote ground breaking science fiction works 15 – 20 years ago. The concepts and technology in some of these books seems almost common place when read now. Some of it has permeated so far into modern life and language that it is almost unbelievable that within living memory it was futuristic, far-fetched or unheard of.

I have plenty of photos to choose from that are influenced by sci-fi / cyberpunk culture, here are a couple of very different character:

 

These photos are an illustration of the influence Sci Fi has had on my thinking, but I suspect they are better examples of art imitating art rather than life imitating art (art imitating art happens all the time…it is affectionately known as inspiration). So what am I talking about when I refer to modern sci-fi writers influencing our present?

Think about the technology in the world around you, and consider how much of it has been influenced by the episode of star trek the inventor watched as a child, or the book they read.

Mind you…there is a large degree of it happening the other way round too…so possibly life imitates art which imitates life which imitates art. Before you know it we are stuck in a mimesis – anti-mimesis cycle and have lost the ability to figure out where the original influences came from. Which is, I think where this blog ended up with a tiny tiny brain explosion on my part. This explains a) a lot about my brain and 2) why this blog has been in the draft section since October!

It is worth looking up 🙂

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Fifty Five: Concerning artistry

Is it true that to be an artist it is enough to say “i am an artist”?

I mean obviously you have to do some art too but how much and how good does it have to be to call yourself an artist?

Image

This is a photo of a photo i took some time ago, but i have recently been playing with transfer printing images onto fabric using acrylic gel medium. i am in the process of incorporating these pictures in to other works that involve other fabric and paper and collage…

I am just about comfortable enough to call myself a photographer…but I have no background in art apart from an appreciation of it given to me by my mum. I have no training, no ability when it comes to drawing stuff that is supposed to look like something and no idea what I am doing.

I can create things…this much i am sure of, i have created things and made things all my life, but is this enough? as an engineer and scientist I find myself annoyingly pretentious if I say that I am an artist… especially if I add the words mixed media into the mix.

To say that I am an artist, in my eyes elevates me above the stage I am at…but someone once said that in order to become something you have to become it…or words to that effect,

in other words, don’t just try to be something, be it…

but is calling myself an artist, and doing artistic things enough?

How do I know if I am good enough?

Sorry if that seemed a little self indulgent…It was just something I was thinking about…any opinions out there would be welcome…

Forty One: Concerning impossible ballet

Originally Posted on the 24th March 2011

I have found a new obsession, not one that I can do, but definitely one I can watch! One Tuesday evening I went to the Ballet, it was the English National Ballet performance of Swan Lake, it was brilliant! It was a little confusing as a story, but as a beautiful thing to watch it was amazing.The basic principle of Swan Lake for those who don’t know is that a price falls in love with the Swan Queen and the battle an evil sorcerer type. There is apparently a lot more to it than that, so I will furnish you with a link to the story:

http://www.ballet.org.uk/repertoire/swan-lake-story.html

There seem to be some swans with spectacularly good dancing abilities! This leads me to today’s photos:

This was taken in Windsor of some swans on the Thames what is not immediately obvious is that these swans were actually dancing, all swaying their heads in unison! This leads me to believe that there is a grain of truth in the swan lake story.

It is worth looking past the unreality of the story however. It is necessary, during many forms of entertainment, to suspend disbelief for the duration, and if this escapism can be accompanied by something spectacular to watch, then that is a good thing. I have spoken before about the skill of looking past the mundane to see the beauty that is there in everything. I think that the choreographers and writers and directors of these ballets must be masters of this art! To take a story and bring out its beauty and present it to the world in such a way that can be appreciated is truly a skill!

At this point it is of course necessary to mention the skill of the dancers, the Swan and back up swan scenes were definitely the best and most spectacular, they not only displayed phenomenal individual skill but somehow managed to do this in formation! I am seriously considering the fact that ballet dancers may be not entirely human, they can achieve things which by all human standards seem impossible, and manage to do it with grace. I am, by the way, fully aware that this is a product of hard work and training; I do, however, prefer to believe the magic that is presented, one of the times when seeing the front rather than the reality is actually preferable!

I am already looking for another one to see, as obsessions go it is not too bad. after all an obsession which increases your knowledge of arts and culture must be good!

Just to add weight to this, I am going to add another photo,  I didn’t take this one however, it is taken from the visit london website

and just goes to prove ballet dancers can do the impossible!

Forty: Concerning the nature of time

Originally posted 21st March 2011

Something I read recently inspired this post, that and the localised time zone I have been carrying around on my wrist for a while. As well as the realisation that only a select few people care about how many watches I am wearing, I have also noticed that people who have known me for a while now don’t even find it odd that I give them two answers when the ask the time! Until this morning the two watches I have been wearing were both fast but by differing amounts and the fact that this didn’t really impact on my life or bother me at all just supports my theory, that the capturing and caging of time is a merely human obsession and that it measured time bears no relation to real-time. This time taming is the subject of today’s picture:

The passage of time is in evidence all around us, the rusting of metal, the rebirth of the world after winter and the remarkable rapidity with which my hair changes colour! I am not about to deny that time exists or that we move through it, I am, however going to pose the hypothesis that we do not move through it at a constant rate. Time is not a linear stream on which we walk (or paddle) with undeviating precision, but a billowing cloud which can be stretched and folded according, not to need but to perception. Real time is dictated by our perceptions, you have all heard the phrases “time flies” “make time” “find time” “manage time”. “Manage time” is interesting if time was uniform and linear would it need managing?

This is only a theory, but you know deep down I am right, there are days where you have so much to do that it makes your head hurt to even consider it and yet with no apparent extra effort, everything gets finished with spectacular efficiency. Compare these to the occasions when you have very few tasks to achieve and yet time seems to flow away like water!

All this said, time exists and it is the only thing we have that is ours. We can use it, spend it or fill it with anything we like; the absolute fact is if we don’t make the most of it we will lose it!

I continue to measure time in 2 places on my wrist, even though the only time we need captured and measured time is when we want to conform to human constructs!

Thirty Nine: Concerning the nature of networks

Originally posted 16th March 2011

It has recently come to my attention how powerful networks are, whatever form the network takes, it seems to become more powerful than a sum of its parts. Many people I know have been made redundant recently (including myself) and there are a large number of them who have found new jobs have done so through personal recommendations and connections they have either through work or friendships (or both). This is a phenomenon that is apparently well-known in the multiverse hence the old adage “it’s not what you know but who you know”, it is not, however, something I have ever believed in until now! This is the inspiration for the picture I have chosen today, not because it represents any of the people I know, but it does look like a node with links radiating out from it!

If you look closely in the back ground you can see another network of radiating links ready to link up with this one and strengthen the network even further. This network theory seems to be something I cannot get away from at the moment, purely coincidentally it is the same subject I have been studying with the OU, it seems that networks of any form are enhanced by both the members of the network and the links between them. After all, where would the internet be without the computers linked to it or the connections between them!?

This is a little bit of an eye opener for me; I am a fundamentally anti social person, keeping a small number of close friends and until recently not really making the  connections you need to have a functioning network of friends let alone useful business contacts! Recent events and friends I have made has made me realise it is worth widening your network and hopefully the connections you make will allow you to be part of something great. It is good to remember that everyone you come into contact with will change you in a small way and (this one is harder) that you will affect them too and even years later it is surprising what people remember!

You never know, maybe I will be remembered as the one who, for no real reason other than deliberate oddness, wears two watches!

Thirty Eight: Concerning flying to Brazil

Originally posted 14th March 2011

Today my Husband embarked on an adventure that will take him all over Brazil in the name of his work. I am envious of this trip, I want to go to Brazil but I know that travelling with work is not as exciting as it sounds and travelling with someone who is working is probably not the best way to see a country.

I expected to feel a little bit lonely, but I know I am perfectly capable of being on my own. I expected to be envious of the adventure. What I didn’t expect was to be this worried that something would happen, on the flight or during the trip. It is possible that I am over thinking all this, but it was unexpected. I didn’t worry when he went to San Francisco, I didn’t worry when we both went, yet now I worry. It is as if, before this past year I never really believed that bad things could happen to me or my family, now I have been made to accept that they can, it has opened the worry floodgates!

I know worrying doesn’t change anything, and that by writing this, I am being a little self-indulgent, but if you can’t be self-indulgent on your own blog once in a while where can you be?

Photos to go with today are tricky, but this is a little bit relevant

Mark, climbing about in a waterfall!

Thirty Seven: Concerning the notion that everything is not relative

Originally posted on 12th March 2011

Recently, someone said to me “it is all relative”  as I am sure they have said it to you and I am sure they will continue to say. But it is this notion of relativity that I want to talk about today. Not going to get into Einsteinian physics because I am just not that good, what I do want to talk about is the concept that something can increase or decrease in merit purely because of the things around it. I am sure that there are no absolute answers when it comes to this, but it is something worth thinking about.

If I break my leg, does it hurt less because someone else breaks both of theirs? I don’t think it does,I think that each case has its own inherent properties. If I am sad, the fact that someone else is sadder doesn’t make me happier. I do not think that every case of misfortune is equal, it is evident that loosing a limb is worse than loosing a sock I am not trying to belittle  anything that has happened to other people I am just saying that the scale of someone else’s bad luck doesn’t change that of yours.

It is interesting that when people use the “it’s all relative” statement they are normally trying to make you feel better. You never hear some one who is happy about having passed an exam being told, “well it’s all relative…someone just won the Nobel peace prize”! I think it is important to recognise the magnitude of something for what it is. Telling someone that they should feel better about something bad because some people have it worse is insulting!

It is a truth that can be applied to many walks of life, a tall building doesn’t get shorter because the on next door is taller. A piece of art is as good as it is, it is not suddenly worse because someone makes a better one!

eye

It was tricky to find a photo, to go with today’s postulation but I thought I’d go with this. It is a picture I took of the London Eye and I like it. There are hundreds (thousands/millions) of pictures of this subject, I do not like mine any less because there are thousands of better ones or any more because some are worse. The quality of the picture belongs to it and cannot be changed by comparison.

Incidentally I do have to be careful to not take this principle too far, there is still room in life for perspective, just be aware that by telling someone that “it could be worse” it may make them feel worse because it makes them feel they have no right to feel the way they do.

I like wearing two watches, I may vary it and try two different ones on monday…someone will notice one day 🙂