Lecture 2 (7/2/18) – Realism, Symbolism, Abstraction

To distinguish realism from mere ‘naturalism’.
To remover ‘use of symbols’ from the term ‘symbolism’.
To understand abstraction as a pictural mode but also as a social phenomenon.

Two styles that bookend the emergence of photography (realism, symbolism)

One word that defines art and cultural practice from modernity to contemporary life… (abstraction).

Realism: a form emerging in 1850

Lecture 1 (31/1/18) – Storytelling and Essay Briefing

Narrative – Storytelling

Storytelling, a question of:

  • Sequence
  • Conflict
  • Translation of world into meaning
  • A conjoinment of knowing and telling

Narrative is essential – addressing time, morality, an identity which is produced and projected… Cognitive – narrative is essential to human thought and imagination (Brian de Palma: “People don’t see the world until its put in narrative mode.”)

Aesthetic – which is different to the argumentative/paradigmatic/scientific abstraction of world into formulas of truth.

Propositional – (via Barbara Hernstein Smith) “Someone telling someone else that something happened” – a telling (an illocution) but also a proposition (a speech act that is different from an assertion/commercial/question/promise.)

The ‘story’…
A thread of images (a sequence) joined by one constant (a river) with a ‘flood’
of associations (social, cultural, pictorial)
A unified ‘speech /vision’ that is contained a picture, but that possesses a
possibly multiple forms of ‘points of view’ [the little people, the bigger forces,
the impersonality of time/nature]

Narrative Across Media: The languages of storytelling, University of Nebraska Press, 2004.

Eugene Smith – Country Doctor

The Photobook: a history
Research into photobooks and ways to construct both handmade and printed.

Storytelling = attention to structure (what makes a good story, compelling narrative.)

Boris Mikhailov (non-linguistic narratives) Temporal – spatial sequences organised around a formal/conceptual/numerical device. A phenomena (red) that carries strong associations (from romance to soviet state) a number, four, that carries no content, but allows set of experiments of ‘showing-telling’ us something.