Monday, July 25, 2011

Virtual Reality

Sharing an interesting article on Salvador Dali.

Virtual Reality (article pg17-22. Source: Salvador Dali 1904-1989, Norbert Wolf)

Eating and painting as paranoid-critical , both existential and aesthetic forms of "communion" and communication: this is just one of the many effects in the panopticon of Dali's creation. To return to the question posed at the beginning of this text, how can one approach an artist and his works which are both, in their own way, "fed" by these and other similar "ingredients"? As the author of a text about Dali, it is tempting to try to keep pace with his "fantasticism", even if it is at the level of "delusion of interpretation" (this was a favourite expression of Dali's, which he discovered in the writings of Lacan,). As a result, however, readers would learn more about the author's own threshold of tolerance for libidinous and morally questionable material-about his verbal artistry and knowledge of vulgar psychology-than they would learn about the works of art. And the interpretation of artwork-be it that of Dali or any other artist-should not simply be reduced to an expression of a given author's psychological disposition.
It is probably impossible to completely avoid such temptations. The material with which Dali confronts all of his interpreters is simply too seductive. Its is too similar to a "Garden of Earthly Delights" (an association with a famous painting by Hieronymus Bosch in the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid), whose stimulants we succumb so often enough. Thus, it is all the more important to counteract this temptation by consistently sticking to more objective methods of analysis. With this in mind i propose-in addition to describing historical chain of development-drawing a comparison with "virtual reality". This constitutes a feasible guideline, one which at least supports an approach to the artistic-aesthetic category of Dali's oeuvre. The basis of this approach is as follows:even though it is true that Dali intended to employ superficial gags, artistic trickery, and elaborate trompe-l'oeils-occasionally in his early work and quite frequently in his later creations- it is nevertheless unjust to classify his entire body of work as charlatanism. Rather, Dali's true aim- at which he in fact succeeded- was to set the same process in motion over and over again: that is, the work of the imagination in the minds of his fascinated(and occasionally disgusted) viewers.
Now let us return to the key term "virtual reality", which can be explained by means if a statement by Jaron Lanier. Born in El Paso, Texas, in 1960, Lanier is anything but a contemporary of Dali's. He is a computer scientist and composer. He works with programming languages, video games, and a virtual reality system, one aspect of which I wish to single out for my comparison. Lanier has developed a pair of glasses that can simulate a three-dimensional, wide-angled image of a room on two micro-display screens. These are accompanied by a glove containing built-in sensors that deliver information about the hand’s position to a computer. The goal of Lanier’s invention is to use these instruments to enable a type of “shared dreaming”, a virtual reality in which a person’s subjective experiences may be shared with and perceived by others. In fact, several people can enter this same digital world simultaneously.
In the initial stage, these experiences are still completely pre-programmed. Lanier,however, envisions a time when they can be created and “coloured in” by a number of players working together. This would give rise to the exciting possibility of an exchange, of observing a subject through someone else’s “glasses”. This type of communication would then utilize a type of signal that would adopt the character of an actual event without being identical to the outer reality.
I am convinced that if Dali would have known about Lanier’s system, he would have been thrilled by it and would have proclaimed himself to be its visionary prophet. After all, as early as 1942, he had envisioned the possibility of “face masks for observing dreams in colour”.(Dali 1990,363)
It is true that Dali was continually attempting to place a systematic, objective value on his subjective and irrational experiences by presenting his audience with alternating views of various levels of reality-be the dreams, suggestions or shorthand for reality-than to a certain degree, he anticipated Lanier’s vision. After  all, Lanier’s goal is to divide the images seen through his glasses in such a way that user’ view of their actual environment parallels that which appears in the virtual world-that each one reflects the other, or that they have a progressive effect on one another.
The Phantom Cart,1933,oil on wood, 7.5 X 9.5 in Geneva,Switzerland,collection of G.E.D. Nahmad

Dali’s composition The Phantom Cart of which he painted two different version in 1993, serves as an example. A two-wheeled covered wagon rolls through the light suffused expanse of a barren plain in Ampurdan.  The apparition like town that is visible in the distance (possibly Girona) is integrated into the opening in the wagon cover in such a way that the silhouette of a church tower takes the place of the driver we would expect to see there. The journey and the destination melt into the depths of the perspective. So, too, do the reflected reality and the fiction that has been enhanced into a hallucinatory precision. The work as a whole remind us of Lanier’s bifurcated glasses and the hoped-for possibility of making an optical comparison between empirical experience and “virtual reality”- in this case, a somewhat ghostly one. It is certainly no coincidence that contemporary viewers marveled at The Phantom Cart; it captures the character of the Catalonian landscape in this region better than almost any other Dali’s paintings. At the same time, the piece owes its spectral tenor t the deliberate influence of “virtual reality”, embodied here in the church tower, which has been transformed into an active character.
The abovementioned concept of “shared dreaming” taking place within a creative process-something to which we might also apply the modern label of “interactive medium”-seems to me to be the primary goal of this style of painting that was so specific to Dali. At the same time, I disagree with those critics who take issue with Dali’s often hyperrealistic painting style, claiming that he leaves no room for his observers to let their own imagination take hold.
Dali never flirted with pure abstract painting. Futuristic and cubistic stylizations were the furthest extremes to which he allowed himself to go. He considered abstraction, particularly in its constructivist versions, to be nihilism or empty decoration. In his estimation, it does not fulfill the greatest commandment with which art is charged, which is to be connected with a communicable message or a “sharable” vision. This may sound strange given the cryptic nature of his compositions. On the one hand, Dali said, “How can you expect that the public will understand the meaning of images I transcribe when I myself-the person who creates them-no longer understand them as soon as they appear in my paintings?” (interview with Judson Hand in the Sunday News,April 11, 1976)
On the other hand. He emphasized that “the fact that I myself do not immediately understand my pictures does not mean that they have no meaning. On the contrary, their meaning is so deep, systematic, and complex that absolutely scientific knowledge is required in order to interpret them… They are the precise expression of a symbolic secret language of the subconscious”-and he Dali, was the recording device for that expression (Dali,XXVI)

As an alternative to abstraction, he presented a painting technique that was oriented towards traditional art intended for museums, the standards of old masters, and at times even the salon painting of the nineteenth century. He frequently bathed his scenes in a mercilessly glaring brightness. As he put it, he wanted to allow objects and figures to collide with one another “in the bright light of reality”. Art historian Uwe M.Scheede interprets this brightness as a metaphorical one: “It is intended to make the clash of objects that do not belong together clearly visible, thereby creating an inverse situation in which the illusory nature of reality is revealed” (Scheede 129)
Dali’s naturalism and hyperrealism- developed long before the American hyperrealism of the 1970s, which Dali greatly admired-increased the impact of the virtual exponentially. His artistic path thus overlapped in large part with that of surrealism, in the sense that its fundamental assumption was that surreality-that is, the supernatural-exists directly within the real world. Therefore, we could accurately classify Dali’s naturalism as “dream photography”.

Mecano's tribute to Salvador Dali- Eungenio Salvador Dalí   song 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Paradoxical You

On Drawing Lines

Life has turned out to be quite ironic these days. On one hand, one friend says that i am finally doing things i escape from, the other says it's a 'way forward' and still another says that it is the 'is-moment', the reality. And it doesn't stop there, my artist teacher (who saw my art for the first time) says that "There are so many things you want to say,but it shows you are lost, passionately in the process of finding that perfect language. [to escape eh.. (me in my mind) ;) ]

 And so it starts with drawing lines! Ironic. Ironic! Yes, according to her(and as a matter of fact) I really suck at drawing lines,and when i do, they're ultra rigid! Aghh...extremities! hmmm...true that. My art exudes truth and honesty that I dig in my relationships. There are NO boundaries,conditions, rules and regulations or obligations when you love someone. You just love. You don't reason love! It's like 'a small regret,you won't forget!'
Love is complicated (any kind). But if one dares/dreams to love/be loved then why escape/run away from challenging the complications? whatever happens to human feelings, the hurt in love, the truth and all that follows? Why is it a human tendency to elude from the divine truth? Truth that sometimes stares at you as grays in life... Well the truth is, however much you try and draw 'lines', keep safe your 'private space' (even question the phenomenon of private space) those lines will ultimately fade away... or in my teacher's words "You have to learn to give a gradation!" It all fades into the white... The ultimate truth is love! you can hide it, not believe it,run away from it but you cannot erase it!.
The truth is nobody wants their lives to be simple.. "the real truth is nobody wants realitypeople don't want their lives fixed. nobody wants their problems solved. their dramas. their distractions. their stories resolved. their messed cleaned up. because what would they have left? just the big scary unknown."
This is the reason we have an array of human feelings and emotions. This is the reason there are emotions named as fear,anticipation,ecstasy, jealousy, envy, rage,insecurity,  frustration, compassion, sacrifice, admiration, adoration, etc. challenging,contradicting and complimenting you to reach that ultimate reality!

Robert Plutchik- Wheel of emotions.
PS: I'm lucky to have all my relations intense and deep...bathed in truth and oozing love-the ultimate truth! The sooner you realize it, the better! =P

"Kehte hain agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaho.. to poori kayinaat use tumhe milaane ki koshish main lag jaati hai.."
"When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it"


15.7.11                                                                      old kajal(s), charcoal, photoshop

What Silence Said

Susheela Raman

Does the unknown bird enter and leave the cage ?

Paris café.
Our last rendez-vous
Rain swept, backwardscripted windows
Our shrunken heads reading signs and lips
One last dance, broken steps
Before your eclipse...

Was there thunder in your ears?
Mine were full of sand, not hearing
What your silence said
And if I turn around, your mouth open, no sound.
your eyes screaming, retreating into blackness...

A day too late, your news found me at home.
Mind bubbling up,
Angry water refusing a stone,
And then revenge, I felt life surge in my veins
A hunger you would never taste again...

Did you lose your faith in love?
Did you lose faith in human feeling?
Did you lose your trust in truth?
Did your heart find no way to healing
Like I lost you?

You left your lovers close behind,
All twisted up in time, you crossed the line.
It's all we have this thin twine, then nothing...
Just the emptiness you carved,
Your spine a lonely blade,
In space...
To the end a dancer...
Beautiful face begins to fade,
Thank you for being my friend...
Beautiful face begins to fade...