Joel-Peter Witkin

BORN: September 13, 1939: From John Wood: “No visual artist since Blake himself is better suited to illustrate the Songs of Experience than Joel-Peter Witkin, for Witkin is the most profoundly religious photographer in the history of the medium and probably the most god-haunted American artist of the twentieth century. His imagery, like Blake’s, is a direct outgrowth of his spirituality. Witkin understands that art and religion are made of the same things: sex, death, and God. In Blake’s own time few people could perceive the prophetic nature and spirituality of his work. Two centuries later we see him far more clearly, but in his day his visionary claims coupled with an art like no one had ever before seen or read made him an outsider. When artists see beyond what others insist on calling the ‘real’ world, when they shape new realities, such as Cézanne and Picasso did, or shape new mythologies from the very flesh of the ones we know, and then insist that the deity they reveal is historical, orthodox, and authentic, those artists begin to disturb us deeply. They undermine our security. They demand we look again at what we thought we had seen, that we look through their eyes, and that we look more deeply than we ever before had looked.” From the artist (Songs of Innocence): “If our first book was glorious, this one will be mystical. There is a Buddhist saying — To everyman is given the key to the Gates of Heaven — but the same key also opens the Gates of Hell. That is the difference between innocence and experience. It is what compels our desire to live. It is why, for those who can see it, Blake is God’s jester. Blake was so wise that he could see ‘nature as the work of the Devil.’ He stated that ‘The Devil is in us as far as we are in nature.’ It is only when we are disengaged from mortality — at death — that evil leaves us. Then, after Judgment, either our chains are broken or we are ‘his’ Evermore. Logic, the rational – these are options, the Soap Operas of Divine Belief. Philosophy is a soiled diaper… Darwin playing in guano some where in a Bosch landscape. The subjects of my work are not freaks, degenerates, or the grotesque. They are ourselves. In this violent and visually wallpapered age, I have chosen to evoke the darkness rather than the light: as Goya, Blake and Redon have. Because we argue for Divine Madness as an honorable choice in a society devoid of human honor. The themes of my work are the things which constitute human existence, history, beauty. The work has at its very core the evidence of conscience presented as photographic metaphor. I strive to create experiences no one has seen or felt before.”

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Joel-Peter-Witkin/108071172547273?sk=wiki

OBSERVATION: In the realm of art, all is possible, limited only by the artist’s imagination and the control of media, tools, and technology. Truly original artists establish new boundaries for the definition of art, stretching their own capacity to imagine, forcing the audience to participate, or surrender.

TOBEY

“One night [ca. 1920] I was in my studio drawing my own portrait. On the ceiling, a light. All of a sudden I thought: suppose I were a fly. I could fly on to the easel, fly around me, go for a walk on my back, go up to the wall, etc…. In this closed space I projected the path taken by the fly: no more frame, no more Renaissance.”

“The old Chinese used to say: ‘It is better to feel a painting than to look at it.’ So much today is only to look at. It is one thing to paint a picture and another to experience it: in attempting to find on what level one accepts this experience, one discovers what one sees and on what level the discovery takes place. Christopher Columbus left in search of one world and discovered another.”

“‘Let nature take over in your work.’ These words from my old friend Takizaki were at first confusing but cleared to the idea – ‘Get out of the way.’ We hear some artists speak today of the act of painting. This in its best sense could include the meaning of my old friend. But a State of Mind is the first preparation and from there this action proceeds. Peace of Mind is another ideal, perhaps the ideal state to be sought for in the painting and certainly preparatory to the act.

http://www.cmt-marktobey.net

OBERVATION: Mark Tobey (December 11, 1890 – April 24, 1976), can be defined as a genuine artist, one worthy of the name, who saw the known and the unknown, who held insight into the abstract world of the unconscious, being able to define and make real glimpses into the world of human capability. All of us benefit from individuals like Mark Tobey, in that he, and others like him leave a legacy of ideas, thoughts, and actions that open our minds to new vistas.

IN A BETTER WORLD 2010

In a Better World (Original Danish title: Hævnen) is a 2010 Danish-Swedish drama thriller film written by Anders Thomas Jensen and directed by Susanne Bier. The film stars Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, and Ulrich Thomsen in a story which takes place in small-town Denmark and a refugee camp in Africa. Its original Danish title is Hævnen, which means “The Revenge”.
A Danish majority production with co-producers in Sweden, In a Better World won the 2011 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards.

Director Susanne Bier said: “Our experiment in this film is about looking at how little it really takes before a child – or an adult – thinks something is deeply unjust. It really doesn’t take much, and I find that profoundly interesting. And scary.”

PSYCHOGRAPHICS

Criteria for segmenting consumers by lifestyle, attitudes, beliefs, values, personality, buying motives, and/or extent of product usage. Psychographic analyses are used like geographic (place of residence, or work) and demographic (age, income, occupation) criteria to describe and identify customers and prospective customers and to aid in developing promotion strategies designed to appeal to specific psychographic segments of the market for a product. For example, the market for soap may consist of various psychographic segments described by their primary purchase motives (beauty, health, grooming), usage styles (daily, weekly, salon-only), or lifestyle (frequent travelers, parents).

The psychographic characteristics of the market affect advertising copy, packaging (travel size, child-proof, decorator pump), and channels of distribution (supermarkets, pharmacies, specialty stores, internet).

Psychographic data can be gathered firsthand through personal interviews, focus group interviews or questionnaires, or purchased from research companies in the form of list overlays for direct marketers or market profiles for general marketers.

OBSERVATION: Establishing limits, and quantifying social strata are tools utilized by advertisers working to expand markets. Through the careful collection of personal data, this information can be extrapolated into expected cause and effect, or decision making strategies of consumers as potential customers for products and services.

In the grand scale, marketers, such as Edward Bernays applied psychographics combined with advanced psychological theories regarding control of social masses to expand marketing potentials. In contemplating these ideas, we can clearly see the complexity of modern society in terms of individual purpose, decision making, and the desire for businesses to collect data regarding these behaviors. Consumers, for the most part, are probably unaware of the means employed in extracting personal psychological profiles (extrapolated as larger scale demographics) utilized in creating advertising, marketing, public relations, and other social-political strategies.

Discourse on Voluntary Servitude

I see no good in having several lords;
Let one alone be master, let one alone be king.

These words Homer puts in the mouth of Ulysses, as he addresses the people. If he had said nothing further than “I see no good in having several lords,” it would have been well spoken. For the sake of logic he should have maintained that the rule of several could not be good since the power of one man alone, as soon as he acquires the title of master, becomes abusive and unreasonable. Instead he declared what seems preposterous: “Let one alone be master, let one alone be king.” We must not be critical of Ulysses, who at the moment was perhaps obliged to speak these words in order to quell a mutiny in the army, for this reason, in my opinion, choosing language to meet the emergency rather than the truth. Yet, in the light of reason, it is a great misfortune to be at the beck and call of one master, for it is impossible to be sure that he is going to be kind, since it is always in his power to be cruel whenever he pleases. As for having several masters, according to the number one has, it amounts to being that many times unfortunate. Although I do not wish at this time to discuss this much debated question, namely whether other types of government are preferable to monarchy, still I should like to know, before casting doubt on the place that monarchy should occupy among commonwealths, whether or not it belongs to such a group, since it is hard to believe that there is anything of common wealth in a country where everything belongs to one master. This question, however, can remain for another time and would really require a separate treatment involving by its very nature all sorts of political discussion.

For the present I should like merely to understand how it happens that so many men, so many villages, so many cities, so many nations, sometimes suffer under a single tyrant who has no other power than the power they give him; who is able to harm them only to the extent to which they have the willingness to bear with him; who could do them absolutely no injury unless they preferred to put up with him rather than contradict him. Surely a striking situation! Yet it is so common that one must grieve the more and wonder the less at the spectacle of a million men serving in wretchedness, their necks under the yoke, not constrained by a greater multitude than they, but simply, it would seem, delighted and charmed by the name of one man alone whose power they need not fear, for he is evidently the one person whose qualities they cannot admire because of his inhumanity and brutality toward them. A weakness characteristic of human kind is that we often have to obey force; we have to make concessions; we ourselves cannot always be the stronger. Therefore, when a nation is constrained by the fortune of war to serve a single clique, as happened when the city of Athens served the thirty Tyrants, one should not be amazed that the nation obeys, but simply be grieved by the situation; or rather, instead of being amazed or saddened, consider patiently the evil and look forward hopefully toward a happier future.

OBSERVATION: Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, Etienne de la Boetie 1546-48 This introductory excerpt to the discourse introduces the premise: human behavior within the social context of servant, and the served. In the mid 1500’s La Boetie examined the need to understand how social hierarchy and organization fell into place, elaborating these ideas in the full discourse. The relevance of this essay remains intact, questioning how authority is distributed throughout human social hierarchy.