September 2012

Federico Armando Beltrán-Masses, 1885-1949, Graphic Idealism, the New Aesthetic and the best porn

Pierrot malade, ou Pierrot et Colombine, 1929

Frederico Beltrán-Masses was a Cuban-born Spanish painter whose reputation flourished in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Friends with William Randolph Hearst, whose portrait he painted, his influence is apparent on the films of the era, particularly his body aesthetic, the look of his women. He’d already shown his notorious Salome, painted in Paris in 1918, at the XII Venice Biennale, 1920, in a pavilion dedicated to his work. When shown in London, in 1929, she was called the most daring nude ever painted, “a naked woman in a pose which no lesser artist could have attempted,” depicted in an athletically erotic position, crutch forward. It could be said that Beltrán-Masses’s athletic eroticism was fashion forward. But of course his exoticism, an Everyman’s Babylonia, his orientialism, which makes him an heir to Moreau, must also have had its fans in Hollywood.

His paintings have this patina – a built-in pathology of age, as if the materials were already in decay before he put them on the canvas. It is theatrical. But there’s a veil, a gauze, an accretion of textural detail – over everything, so that even when it’s clear, with the whites of Pierrot’s costume and the throw on the fauteuil, a sick haze is still there. Which is probably what attracted me to this painting: theatricality and pathology. And the effects of time in which both take part.

These characteristics are what I’m missing from the high definition imagery, the retina tech, which Duchamp would have recognised as belonging to a merely retinal artistic culture, that fills every screen, and screens everywhere. The tablet and touch screen might have returned something of the tactile but so much about their materiality, the glass, the plastic, the metal, while it will last a fraction of the time of one of Beltrán-Masses’s paintings, places it outside of time, which is its own sort of theatricality and pathology, but is in fact inimical to touch since our bodies tie the temporal and tactile together in a decaying, rotting and inevitably dying knot.

There’s something wrong with these paintings, even the flesh of Beltrán-Masses’s nudes, his Salome, and it’s not simply in the elision of genital detail. They look wrong and dated. It’s not simply the implicit prudery eschewing the pornographic. It might be an a-graphism. What these paintings show is the opposite of graphic. As if the clean lines and clear forms we are more familiar with and which we consider closer to nature, to visible reality, were borrowed or stolen exclusively from the clarity, the cleanliness of letters, scripts, writing, in a kind of graphic idealism. Which of course has nothing to do with nature, time, sickness and our bodies, or health, for that matter.

It lies. Graphic idealism. It glitches and because it is machine made it gives rise to an imagistic unconscious, unconsciouses, satellite imagery, computer eyes, distant from the human and un-willed. Which has been called a New Aesthetic. But these machinic aspects are possibly its solitary virtue. (Although I’ve written this sentence three times because my touchpad is playing up. Should I leave the lacuna in obeisance to this virtue?)

I’d been missing something from the imagery on my phone and computer and television and the advertisment hordings and the magazines and … and funny that newsprint retains something of an ongoing state-of-decay recalling the process of time, even more now with digital capture and printing of images showing technical progress doesn’t make for better quality. (But the involuntary shakiness, unmatching colour separations, pixelation and artifacting of the newspaper photo perhaps epitomise the New Aesthetic?) And where what I’d been missing most is most absent is where you might most expect to find it: in graphic depictions of the nude body. Porn I’ve always thought of as the first pomo artform. Bodies come together like the conjunction of letters, like X’s, spread at either end.

A friend said the best porn is the worst. But so much relies on the support medium. VHS is able to be worse. Digital break-up of flesh-tones immediately leaves the territory of even the slimmest pretext of eroticism. As an aside, this could be an observation applicable to digital imagery itself, whether reticulated at the retinal level or on the verge of breaking down in newsprint: a depth all surface. With Andy Warhol as prophet and profiteer. But I hope there’s something more profoundly superficial going on here: the digital image when it fails to represent – in its untimely decay – leaves behind representation altogether. Thinness or lack of profondeur is not the issue, nor is the intimation that the digital body at its most intimate might suddenly reveal itself at its least like a body.

Here the digital makes a short cut – tout court – allowing no natural passage of real time and cutting short the process – of decay or progress. I mean the decay can be built in to painting, the material decay bound to occur, and it can also occur. And what is presented by its inherency in the artistic project or aesthetic – decadence – is the boundedness of materiality: the unescapable depredations of… What? A throwaway society doesn’t see its treasured artifacts decay. Even its iPhone 5’s. Time no longer represents time as process. We fall immediately from one thing into another, through the screened image into what is technically chaos. The spectacle is what is longest lasting in its immediacy, then. Then there is no then.

hommangerie
imarginaleiro
immedia
infemmarie
luz es tiempo
porte-parole
representationalism
resolution
theatricality
thigein & conatus

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specialist in next level black data featuring two works of Michael Hight: he traveled and lived and painted or workers above

porte-parole
snap

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The Cemetery of Principle

the cemetery of principle0101.avi from Simon Taylor on Vimeo.

...
anciency
enomy
immedia
point to point
textasies
X

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what data is “getting shared”?

Rainey Reitman’s report on Datalogix and Facebook a

link

network critical

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Peter M. Gunn in the Huffington, with the timely title, “Time to Socialize Social Media”

“Attempts to keep the government “out of the Internet” are not made to preserve the freedom of the American people; they are made to advance the neoliberal project. Only this time, there’s not even a state to dismantle.” – here [hyperlink to Quartz in original]

The argument runs that public institutions offer more and better protection than private companies. Electronic communications – including social media – ought to belong to society, be regulated by law, as a public good serving the interests of private individuals. Peter Gunn compares the regulatory requirements regarding security of information between the Post Office and Facebook, Twitter, finding those placed on privately owned corporations more readily negotiated, managed and sidestepped. A failure of social responsibility built into the business models of big social media.

In the first paragraph of the article, this observational aside: users of social media are the ‘product’ of corporate social media. Which may be true of exchange value, how private data including contact details, facial characteristics, online activity, connectivity, is ‘sold’ or ‘leased’ to advertisers and marketing interests. But is another instance of the alienation of labour. Since the labour that goes into producing the ‘user’ – who is the sum of all data, or graph – is rendered invisible.

Semiocapitalism, says Guattari, outsources, abstracts, extracts value from data manipulation, but there remains a material basis, whether it’s the workers in parts of the world distant from the centres of capital accumulation or it’s the user producing data for corporate social media to sell. To call the latter the product is to buy into the same way of thinking that manages to serve and exploit.

My project with Little Elephant is to make the user’s labour visible even as he or she produces himself or herself. This labour is the little elephant everywhere which big data ignores and needs to ignore to continue the sleight of hand whereby those served are exploited. This labour is expressive or creative.

Online mediatised identity is constructed. The data that goes in to building the ‘user’ belongs to the user as source of labour or ‘little elephant.’ For the labour to be valued the act by which it is generated needs to be made visible.

I would therefore prefer to address social media’s social responsibility in a socialising of online media that measures its success less in terms of ownership than by how well it serves the private interests of individuals and how adequate its mechanisms are to this task. I think it is more a question of expression than ownership.

Public ownership of electronic communications and online social media perpetuates the private/public divide, which is exactly that from which corporate social media profit, in claims that the private actions of individuals are its products, enabling them to extract value from those actions and that labour by giving the appearance that this is a public service and one in the public good.

network critical

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better design – now how about process, architecture and function?

network critical

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others… from Julia Kristeva’s Black Sun: counter-actualisation

(&&&[Deleuze])=-1...
infemmarie
luz es tiempo
pique-assiettes

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you never asked you never knew just how much I would’ve given you if you’d told me at the right time

snap

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oh my god

is that

the guy

is that

the guy

is that the

guy

sweeseed

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new osmosis: well this is embarrassing, the new aesthetic

snap

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