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18 NOVEMBER 2012

The Fallen Easel: an evocative and visually stylish provisionality

"John Baldessari's 1987 work titled The Fallen Easel is made up of nine framed panels containing fragmentary images that seem to add up as a complex non sequitur. The lone diagonal panel shows a grayscale screen print of an easel laying on the ground, while other panels show faces and hands that are sometimes obscured by ovals of bright flat colors. Clearly, we see a rebus of sorts, but its substitution of picture–fragments for a syllogistic circuit remains just outside of the grasp of routine readability. Mentally reassembling them does not help, and the narrative context that would enable the work to be analyzed in the manner of a dream is missing. We can only conclude that the relationship between the work's diverse elements is one of an evocative and visually stylish provisionality, but we remain haunted by it, for it keeps us coming back in search of the key that will unlock its beguiling mystery of allegorical displacements and substitutions. Yes, this is an update of a kind of surrealism, but there is something else going on here as well, something pertaining to the typical psychological distance created by mass media imagery striped of its pretense of narrative coherence. All at once, the linked histories of Surrealism, Pop Art, Conceptual Art and Postmodernism flash before our eyes. We are not in Kansas anymore, but is unclear exactly where we are or where anything else is for that matter."

(Mark Van Proyen, November 2009, art ltd. magazine)

Fig.1 John Baldessari (1987). "The Fallen Easel" colour lithograph and screenprint in five parts printed on paper and aluminium plates. Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer. Photo: courtesy of Legion of Honor Museum.

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TAGS

1987allegorical displacements • allegorical substitutions • allegory • beguiling mystery • colour lithograph • complex non sequitur • composition • compositional practice • conceptual art • diverse elements • easel • flat colourfragmentary • fragmentary images • framed panels • John Baldessari • Legion of Honor Museum • linked histories • mass media • narrative coherence • narrative context • non sequitur • not in Kansas anymore • obscured view • oval • picture fragmentspop artpostmodernism • pretense • print retrospective • provisional • provisionality • psychological distance • readability • rebus • routine readability • screenprintsurrealism • syllogism • syllogistic circuit • The Fallen Easel • unlock • visually stylish provisionality

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
11 AUGUST 2012

Kevin Kelly: screen culture is a world of constant flux

"Screen culture is a world of constant flux, of endless sound bites, quick cuts and half–baked ideas. It is a flow of gossip tidbits, news headlines and floating first impressions. Notions don't stand alone but are massively interlinked to everything else; truth is not delivered by authors and authorities but is assembled by the audience. Screen culture is fast, like a 30–sec. movie trailer, and as liquid and open–ended as a website. ...

On a screen, words move, meld into pictures, change color and perhaps even meaning. Sometimes there are no words at all, only pictures or diagrams or glyphs that may be deciphered into multiple meanings. This is terribly unnerving to any civilization based on text logic."

(Kevin Kelly, 19 June 2000, "Will We Still Turn Pages", Time Magazine)

Fig.1 JasKaitlin "hypermediacy" taken on April 25, 2010 using an Apple iPhone 3GS [http://www.flickr.com/photos/64776338@N07/5996281055/].

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TAGS

200021st centuryaudienceauthorised voiceauthorityauthorshipbook • classic logic of books • cohesive narratives • constant flux • credibility • cultural change • double screening • dual screening • endlessly tweakable • fast action • first impressions • flowfragmentaryfragmentation • framing narrative • gossiphalf-baked ideashypermediacyinformation in contextinterconnectedness • interlinked • Kevin Kellyliquid • meanings change • multi-tabbing • multiple meanings • narrative framingnon-linearopen-ended • people of the book • people of the screen • quick cutsreflexive modernityscreen culturesensemakingsound bitesynthesise knowledge • text logic • tidbitsTime Magazine • traditional narratives • turning pages • various contexts

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
05 MARCH 2011

Christian Marclay's The Clock: timekeeping through moments in cinema history

"'The Clock' is constructed out of moments in cinema when time is expressed or when a character interacts with a clock, watch or just a particular time of day. Marclay has excerpted thousands of these fragments and edited them so that they flow in real time. While 'The Clock' examines how time, plot and duration are depicted in cinema, the video is also a working timepiece that is synchronised to the local time zone. At any moment, the viewer can look at the work and use it to tell the time. Yet the audience watching 'The Clock' experiences a vast range of narratives, settings and moods within the space of a few minutes, making time unravel in countless directions at once. Even while 'The Clock' tells the time, it ruptures any sense of chronological coherence."

(White Cube, 2010)

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TAGS

201024-hourappropriation • Christian Marclay • chronologicalchronologycinemacinema historyclockcontinuumcut-updurationfragmentarylinearmomentsorderingre-purposereal-timerecombinantremix culturerupturesequencesuture • synchronised • temporal • The Clock • timetime of day • timekeeping • timepiecevideo collagevisual literacywatch • White Cube Gallery • wrist watch

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
24 NOVEMBER 2009

Pedestrian Rhetoric and Scaffolding for Meaning

"naked city's fragments are linked by arrows, but fragments which are linked to each other are in different orientations and do not have any logical or straightforward relation to each other. the fragments do not include all of paris and the distance of the gaps between fragments do not illustrate the real distance between fragments. the arrows, while facilitating the egress of our imaginary psychogeographical wanderer, also seems to put spatial distance between the fragments, creating the gap, which is like what Michel de Certeau (chapter on Walking in the City – The Practice of Everyday Life) describes as a procedure of 'Asyndeton', or 'opening gaps in the spatial continuum' and 'retaining only selected parts of it that amount almost to relics'."

(无认屋)

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TAGS

1957architecturecontingencydesigndiagramdiscursive fieldengagementenvironmentephemeraeveryday lifefragmentaryfragmentsGuy Debord • in context • in situinformation spaceinterpretationmapmeaningMichel de Certeau • Naked City • orderingParisplacepsychogeographyrelationrhetoric • scaffolding • Situationistssocial interactionspacestructuretactic • Walking in the City • wanderer

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 NOVEMBER 2005

Tactical Behaviour Vs Strategic Planning

"I call a 'strategy' the calculus of force–relationships which becomes possible when a subject of will and power (a proprietor, an enterprise, a city, a scientific institution) can be isolated from an 'environment.' A strategy assumes a place that can be circumscribed as proper (propre) and thus serve as the basis for generating relations with an exterior distinct from it (competitors, adversaries, 'clienteles,' 'targets,' or 'objects' of research). Political, economic, and scientific rationality has been constructed on this strategic model.

I call a 'tactic,' on the other hand, a calculus which cannot count on a 'proper' (a spatial or institutional localization), nor thus on a borderline distinguishing the other as a visible totality. The place of a tactic belongs to the other.[20] A tactic insinuates itself into the other's place, fragmentarily, without taking it over in its entirety, without being able to keep it at a distance. It has at its disposal no base where it can capitalize on its advantages, prepare its expansions, and secure independence with respect to circumstances. The 'proper' is a victory of space over time. On the contrary, because it does not have a place, a tactic depends on time–it is always on the watch for opportunities that must be seized 'on the wing.' Whatever it wins, it does not keep. It must constantly manipulate events in order to turn them into 'opportunities.' The weak must continually turn to their own ends forces alien to them. This is achieved in the propitious moments when they are able to combine heterogeneous elements (thus, in the supermarket, the housewife confronts heterogeneous and mobile data–what she has in the refrigerator, the tastes, appetites, and moods of her guests, the best buys and their possible combinations with what she already has on hand at home, etc.); the intellectual synthesis of these given elements takes the form, however, not of a discourse, but of the decision itself, the act and manner in which the opportunity is 'seized.'"

(Michel de Certeau, 2011)

Michel de Certeau (2011). "The Practice of Everyday Life", University of California Press; 3rd Revised edition edition (11 Nov 2011).

[20] The works of P. Bourdieu and those of M. Détienne and J.–P. Vernant make possible the notion of "tactic" more precise, but the socio–linguistic investigations of H. Garfinkel, H. Sacks, et al. also contribute to this clarification. See notes 9 and 10.

[Michel de Certeau makes a distinction between 'top–down' strategic planning and structure that impose a 'proper' place and behaviour upon subjects of power – for example, the classical score is the proper score, everything mapped out (or at least, that's what the powers that be think – the conservatorium that I was trained in though that all the musical content of a work was IN and ONLY IN the static permanent score, fuck the temporary sounds and performances – logos). Whereas, tactical behaviours comes from the 'bottom–up', guerrilla style, in which there is no proper place for things, no condensation of activities into discursive or commercial commodities. Shit happens is kind of what it means. Improvisational, tactical ways of operating that aren't solely bounded by strategies from above. This is the political potential of Jazz, freeing up listeners and performers to be with the immediate moments of sound and play. What is tactical planning and tactical structure then? It must be a minimal way in which to encourage guerrilla behaviour without denying it. Blogging and Picture communities on the net might be examples, but think then of how corporates try to take over this spontaneous communal grass–roots activity and commodify it (Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum tried to market themselves through a corporate blog about how fictional 'Fred' loved it some much and found many tactical uses for it beyond chewing it). When Jazz improv becomes codified and taught/assimilated into conservatorium schools, then it loses its purely tactical nature and becomes strategic. Which perhaps is always going to be the case if we agree with Guy Debord that the strategic Spectacle will always come to incorporate the tactical interventionist Fringe.]

TAGS

Edward Laumann • Erving Goffmanfragmentary • guerrilla style • Guy DebordHarold GarfinkelHarvey Sacks • has on hand • Jean-Pierre Vernant • Jeremy Boissevain • Joshua Fishman • Marcel Detienne • Marcel Mauss • Michel de CerteauPierre Bourdieuproper • propre • scientific rationalitystrategic modelstrategytactictactical behaviourtactical engagement • victory of space over time
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