Check out my new website, which hopefully exemplifies all that we’ve learned about creating web content! My website is geared towards future employers in art related fields such as museums, galleries, and organizations. So, I tried to instill it with an “I love art” feel by putting a De Kooning abstract as my background and using brushstrokes and paint swatches as graphics.
Sexual Diversion: Cybersex
Virilio focuses on how technology has made cybersex and pornography an accessible and often desired part of life. In my opinion, he seems to imply that technology is solely to blame. However, the world has always been a sexually fascinated one, and you can see this with art, which has always served as a means for pornography to surface. You can see it as early as 22,000 BC sculptures, to the 1400’s Birth of Venus by Botticelli, to Ingres‘ scandalous Grand Odalisque.
No matter what the time period, there has always been a fascination with what Virilio calls “the object-woman”, but also with sex. Technology, however, has provided new and more accessible ways to fulfill sexual desires, and Virilio claims that this cybersex technology will ultimately distance us completely. For example, he talks about the data suit innovation that “orchestrates sexual sensations” as a replacement for sex, and virtual weddings as the newest way to tie the knot. Do you agree with Virilio’s arguement? Do you think technology can completely replace our desire for both sex and love?
With these new technologies, there are more demands for women. Multimedia has changed the way we percieve the female body. Now not only do women have the pressure to look a certain way, but technology provides the means to reinvent the way we look. Again, while technology has certainly made this accessible, there has always been “an ideal” women are pressured to adhere to. If you look at Botticelli’s painting, Venus is depicted with perfect and ideal proportions. Because Ingres’ woman is intentionally painted as distorted, his Odalisque was not recieved so well. These ideals existed long before technology. However, technology has allowed these ideals to more dominantly infiltrate our lives.
The Industrialization of the Eye
In his “Eye Lust” chapter of Open Sky, Virilio argues we are not seeing the way we used to, and proclaims we have been afflicted with a “perceptual disorder” that makes us visually challenged. Thus, this has led, or will lead if it has not already, to the industrialization of vision. As a result, we are no longer “eyewitnesses of tangible reality.” This industrialization of the eye according to Virilio is affected us in the physical sense, but, more importantly, the ethical sense.
Virilio discusses a myraid of modern innovations that have altered the way we see. Now, we have more than just glasses to transform the way we see. He exemplifies this with the recent creation of the laser scanner. “This system uses lasers employed in eye surgery that can safely scan low intensity beams directly onto the back of the retina and modulate colour images.” Therefore, science has changed the way our eye operates, and has allowed us to easily obtain an artificial vision.
Kafka says innovations like cinema are like “pulling a uniform over our eyes.” So, just as the technological innovations have altered the physical nature of our eyes, it changes the way we percieve the world. Mass media now seems to dictate what we see. Virilio claims we are clearly not truly free to choose what we see—do you agree? Have modern innovations changed our vision for the worst? In the 1920’s, artists agreed with Virilo that the way we now see is not sufficient. I may have mentioned this in a past post, but the eye became a dominant symbol to show their disdain for the modern mechanized eye. Salvador Dali‘s The Painter’s Eye depicts an eye on crutches, worn down by the fast paced modern world. The fact that the eye holds a myriad of paintbrushes implies that, in the modern world, there is only one eye, one machine, working. Our vision has become mechanized to the operate according to one machine. Dali therefore implements modern elements, such as the phone, the car, and the brick man with the clock on his face in the background, to represent the effect of mechanization on vision. Like the brick man in the background, our eye ticks along with modern society. Through this representations, the eye symbolizes the vision as a mechanized aspect of society as Virilio seems to also infer.
My Highlights of Paul Virilio’s Open Sky
I’m not going to lie, my understanding of Paul Virilio’s Open Sky is a little shaky, but I do appreciate his myriad of references to art and art history. Here are my favorites:
- Vincent Van Gogh: “If anyone thinks I paint too fast, the are watching me too fast” (26).
- August Rodin: “No, it is art that tells the truth and photography that lies, for in reality time does not stand still” (27)
- When someone told Edgar Degas that “a landscape is a state of mind,” he replied “no, it’s not! it’s a state of eye!” (41)
It seems that Virilio utilizes these references to show the changing ways in which we percieve the world. The photograph is no longer the still frame it once was. Our changing technologies have enabled us to see and communicate more than ever before. So how has this changed the way we interact with each other?
Carroll’s “Legal Landscape”
In Writing for Digital Media, Brian Carroll highlights the legal contexts in which web content creaters operate under. The chapter analyzes the limits on their freedoms and how these laws have changed over time. These laws have created much tension and conflict. One such conflict is a result of copyright and intellectual property issues, which include the following:
Let’s focus on copyright, which initially served to protect only printers and not artists, but has since shifted to include all created authors. Copyright can most notably be limited by fair use, which essentially means the work must be transformative and not negatively affect the original. So where is the line with art? If Andy Warhol had painted his Campbell’s Soup Cans under today’s laws, would they be considered fair use?
About the Columbia Museum of Art
I stopped by the Columbia Museum of Art this past weekend as I was driving home from the beach! The museum first opened to the public on March 23, 1950. The mission of the museum is to “celebrate outstanding artistic creativity through its collection, exhibitions and programs, interacting in ways that engage the mind and enrich the spirit.” The museum was smaller than I had expected for such a large city, but it still had an incredible variety of art. The lobby even included this incredible blown glass piece by Dale Chilhuly.
Mark Rothko Exhibit
I mostly went to see their exhibit on Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko. The exhibit, called Mark Rothko: the Decisive Decade, closes January 6th. The exhibit follows Rothko’s career from his early influences from other artists, to his interest in mythology, to his fascination with dreams, to, finally, his interest in in the relationship between color and emotion, which inspired his most well known paintings. Here are my favorite pieces from the Rothko exhibit:
African Face Jugs Exhibit
After taking African Art my sophomore year, I have had a love for all African Art. It might seem a little weird, but Picasso, too, was inspired by their face masks. The exhibit features a collection of African face vessels made by African American slaves in South Carolina.