Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Entry #122: Facial Differences Between Laughter & Tears are Minuscule.

"Excessive laughter, oftener than any other, gives a sensible face a silly or disagreeable look, as it is apt to form regular pain lines about the mouth, like a parenthesis, which sometimes appears like crying." (Hogarth, William, The Analysis of Beauty, 1753).

Full Text Available Online

Line of beauty
In the preface Hogarth explains that The Analysis of Beauty grew out of his need to justify his aesthetic commentaries on a "line of beauty" in art. This line had appeared on the palette in the corner of his self portrait of 1745. Lines with too shallow a curve are described as "mean and poor". Lines with too generous a curve are described as "gross and clumsy". Variety is symbolized by a wavy line in twodimensions and a serpentine line in three dimensions, as opposed to unvarying geometrical shapes like straight lines and circles

Respect for nature
Hogarth writes that artists should turn from studying paintings to nature. He opposes the artificial. He does not recommend copying. Previous art treatises had paid much attention to style, artistic manners and schemata. Hogarth urges the artist "to see objects truly", "to see with our own eyes".

From the Book:

On Symmetry
"If the uniformity of figures, parts, or lines were truly
the chief cause of beauty, the more exactly uniform
their appearances were kept, the more pleasure the eye
would receive: but this is so far from being the case,
that when the mind has been once satisfied, that the
parts answer one another, with so exact an uniformity,
as to preserve to the whole the character of fitness to
stand, to move, to sink, to swim, to fly, &c. without
losing the balance: the eye is rejoiced to see the object
turn'd and shifted, so as to vary these uniform appearances.
regularity, uniformity, or symmetry
please only as they serve to give the idea of fitness"

On Hair/ Intricacy

"The most amiable in itself is the flowing curl; and the many waving
and contrasted turns of naturally intermingling locks ravish
the eye with the pleasure of the pursuit especially
when they are put in motion by a gentle breeze.
The poet knows it, as well as the painter, and has described
the wanton ringlets waving in the wind.
And yet to shew how excess ought to be avoided in
intricacy, as well as in every other principle, the very
same head of hair, wisped and matted together, would
make the most disagreeable figure; because the eye
would be perplex'd, and at a fault, and unable to trace
such a confused number of uncomposed and entangled lines"

The Analysis of Beauty, Plate 1

From The Art Of Print:
Famous for his paintings, Hogarth's engravings are even more paramount: the imagery from The Harlot's Progress, Marriage a la Mode, The Four Stages of Cruelty, Four Prints of an Election, The Four Times of the Day and a host of others are crucial to an understanding of eighteenth century art and culture. Yet Hogarth's art stretched beyond his time and his masterful engravings are as relevant to our society as they were to his.
Training first as an engraver, Hogarth became an independent illustrator as early as 1720. In his spare time he studied painting techniques, notably under Sir James Thornhill. By 1730 he established himself as a portrait painter. Yet at the same time Hogarth began creating sets of anecdotal pictures which brilliantly satirized society and its activities. The first such set, A Harlot's Progress (1732), gained for Hogarth a strong and lasting national reputation. During the following decades he both painted and engraved individual works and sets of images which forged the cornerstone for English satirical art. Such great masters as Rowlandson, Gillray, Heath and Cruikshank followed in Hogarth's footsteps.

Analysis of Plate 1.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Entry #121: Nominal Size v. Actual Size

My roommate and I are building a climbing wall!

I took some pictures in the beginning (when it was just pieces of wood strewn about)… but then forgot about the documentation of the process. Building and making stuff is a Zen process that I highly recommend for those at a desk job. I think I shaved a few years off of my RealAge (I spent one weekend watching a PBS lecture given by the inventor of RealAge—fascinating).

I'm excited to use these suckaz (2)!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Entry #120: A Personal History

My mother describes my father as a bandit. Born into a wealthy family of French and Cambodian descent, he was trained as a scientist and later a translator for the United States Embassy as the U.S. Army made its way surreptitiously onto Cambodian soil.

Working along the Thailand border, my father pilfered food and drinks from marked U.S. crates and channeled them through the jungles of Cambodia. An expert geologist, he understood the ground well and traversed mines and other explosives by paying off the Red Army. It was dangerous— and eventually a young soldier, following the commands of his superior, took my father to a prison camp.

I was sixteen and reading about various death camps that were set up by Pol Pot in Cambodia on my home computer when I ran across a page about my father’s old high school, now known as S-21. In its glory days, it was filled with French and Cambodian students.

The high school is now known as "Tuol Sleng" or the Hills of the Poisonous Tree. Located in the capital of Cambodia, "Security Office 21 (S-21)" was established for the interrogation and extermination of those opposed to "Angkar," or The Organization. In total, there were over 100 centers at least the size of S-21 in which more than 500,000 Cambodians were tortured and executed.

"The Tuol Sleng school buildings were enclosed with a double fence of corrugated
iron topped with dense, electrified, barbed wire. The classrooms were converted into prison cells and the windows were fitted with bars and barbed wire. The classrooms on the ground floor were divided into small cells, 0.8m x 2m each, designed for single prisoners, who were shackled with chains fixed to the walls or floors. The rooms on the upper floors were used as communal cells. Here prisoners had one or both legs shackled to iron bars." (From Cambodia's Holocaust)

Upon arrival at S-21, prisoners were told about the rules of the camp in the form of a poster entitled "Security Regulations:"

The Security Regulations
1. You must answer accordingly to my question – don’t turn them away.
2. Don’t try to hide the facts by making pretexts this and that. You are strictly prohibited to contest me.
3. Don’t be a fool for you are a chap who dare to thwart the revolution.
4. You must immediately answer my questions without wasting time to reflect.
5. Don’t tell me either about you immoralities of the essence of the revolution.
6. While getting lashes or electrification you must not cry at all.
7. Do nothing, sit still and wait for my orders. If there is no order, keep quiet. 8. When I ask you do something, you must do it right way without protesting.
9. Don’t make pretexts about Kampucheas Krom in order to hide your jaw of traitor.
10. If you don’t follow all the above rules, you shall get many many lashes of electric wire.
11. If you disobey any point of my regulations you shall get either ten lashes or five shocks of electric discharge.

Meticulous records and photos were kept.

(It is a weird feeling to look at the photographs that bear the faces of my people. I want to know more and I can't help but feel ashamed of my life in America.)

What am I made of? There is evidence that whatever trauma a person is exposed to gets transfered to their offspring while en utero. Upon birth and throughout childhood, parents' behavior (mostly withdrawn silence or haphazard fits of anger) affects the emotional stability of their children.

These experiences are often suppressed and many kids can grow up fairly normal. However, for reasons yet to be understood, most experience major depression in their 30s. Another catalyst for major depression can be a traumatic event (a sort of tipping point).

Friday, August 17, 2007

Entry #119: 3D

My brother's work was featured for Rhino's website (3D modeling software used for product design and development)...

And tonight = senior show @ Art Center. I will be there to support my roommate- he's graduating! Yippee.