Monday, December 11, 2006

Rothko Weekend

The last few days have been a bit different. On Friday night our ISDL modem went up in this weekend was offline (modem now updated thanks to the excellent people at T3). This is the first time in a while I (we) have been so for a long time. It was kind of cool, with the chance to clean up the hard drive and spend more time reading (XXXXX is so good, will review it soon here). The next thing is that this blog has moved over to the Google server. We now have easy tagging and it seems to be very smooth, although the spellchecker is not working at the moment.
The other great thing recently came last week with a documentary on Mark Rothko, a painter whom I have admired for a long time but never realized how relevant he is to contempory discourse. This is really obvious for me in the chapel:

Rothko worked with assistants for three years on the chapel near the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. He planned the installation for a total of six years. The documentary took the viewer into the chapel, opened a year after Rothko's suicide in 1970, and into an immersive environment of shades and tones. According to the documentary Rothko stated that he wanted the viewer to bring the light with them. Although he stated in 1943 that "It is our function as artists to make the spectator see the world our way not his way." it seems by the late 1960's Rothko had embraced a gestalt theory of forms and colours that drove the viewer into themselves, to their basic sensations and emotions beyond thought. This is a post symbolic form of artistic communication, and one that reminded me a lot of John Cage. Cage's 1952 performance of 4,33 reversed the performer-spectator relationship in a manner commonly found in digital media where the space it created (in this case at Woodstock New York) allows the spectator to fill it with their own noise. The Chapel and 4,33 both pass the pallet/microphone/page/screen to the viewer/listener/reader and ask what it is that brings them here? Who are they? What is it you feel?

Mark Rothko, Red, Orange, Tan and Purple. 1954 Oil on canvas

No comments: