Thursday, April 26, 2007

Deconstructing Deconstruction

Micheal Jackson and a monkey - "Jeff Koons"

What would you say if I told you that there was an insidious dark ideal infecting the art culture, the very belief structure of which is paradoxical? It is a faith of non-belief and it is merely being accepted, not challenged, as the only system of intellectual thought. All else is dismissed as "kitsch". And not surprisingly, this movement "appropriates" (bastardizes) all forms of "kitsch" for the purposes of pointing out its futility. The acolytes of this dogma tend, in the arts, to hide behind irony as a shield for a lack of quality, content, or emotive integrity. A prime example of such an "artist" is Jeff Koons (above), who passes off other people's "craft" as his own, and whose only discernible product is shock value. - "He says with a sardonic grin."

"To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation." - Yann Martel, The Life of Pi

What is this philosophy of doubt of which I speak? Why, it is nothing more than an abstract categorization called "Post-modernism": a single label within the structure of philosophical theory meant to categorize the idea of the negation of structure. (Sounds like a paradox, no?). One of the main premises of post-modern thought, and the one for which I have the most criticism is the idea that all experience, all life, everything is essentially meaningless. This stems from the deconstructive thought of Heidegger , Kierkegaard, and Derrida,
further complicated by Schroedinger and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
However, I view uncertainty and probability as something separate from negation.

This absurdist philosophy or rather, nihilism, is a process and not a conclusion, just as deconstruction is a process and not a conclusion.

In the dialogue of painting one might see our contemporary era as a re-constructive era. Where the tenets of Derrida informed the deconstructive elements of post-modernism, the act of mimesis or the appropriation of “obsolete vernacular” is a sign of the discontents that our contemporary culture finds in the detritus of post-modern thought. Now we pick up the cogs and springs to reassemble them – to create order if only because we feel it is needed. We reclaim the mysterious origin of art – meaning. It’s interesting that we might confuse nostalgia with meaning, but does that make it any less potent, universal, or reflective of life? For that’s what art does… reflect life.

Obviously this is a weighty topic which could not simply be condensed to one listing... So,
this diatribe will be continued in later postings, so hold tight and please feel free to let me know your responses etc...

Richard T Scott


Ng Woon Lam said...

Just to say a few words about uncertainty principle by Schroedinger and Heisenberg.

Uncertainty principle is not 'Uncertain'. It is widely used in electronic designs. It is used to predict the range in with particles behave (its momentum variation Vs its location which is a CONSTANT - famous Plank's Constant).

With that, we can predict the behaviours of electrons in a region and therefore we design according to the range of values of the electronic behaviour.

** HENCE we are 'CERTAIN' because we have 'Uncertainty Principle' to define ranges for us to work!! Haha!!

I feel making painting is the same.

1. I see certain tone and color. I am not sure what color it is. Since visual behaviour is dynamic, I can't tell exactly what color and tone it is.

2. However, I can see it fall into certain region. Then I decide today I like it stronger or weaker; lighter or darker; warmer or cooler. I am like an electronic designer using Uncertainty Principle.

3. Then decision is made. So I am sure what I want.

The truth is if I can't decide => it means I can't paint.

By the way, I find Schroedinger's equation is the hardest thing to learn in High School Physics, so I know I am not smart enough to be an electronic engineer.

Therefore, the answer to artists to know how to paint, if painting is important at all, is to learn all the visual dynamics than to reject them. I can only feel sorry for those who can't paint; just like I can't understand how to use Schroedinger's equation.

New York City said...

Thank you for the comment. I agree with you on several points. However, due to the uncertainty principle you may measure a range or probability, but not a precise quantity. First, all tools of measurement are inadequate ultimately, and second - the act of measurement alters the state of the particle measured thus: the perception of reality alters the reality.