Reviewed by Amy Ione, August 2020
Leonardo Reviews, https://www.leonardo.info/review/2020/08/from-melies-to-new-media-spectral-projections
From Méliès to New Media: Spectral Projections is an exploration of the presence and importance of film history in contemporary digital culture. Using a media archaeology approach, the author, Wendy Haslem, aims to demonstrate that innovative new media forms are not only indebted to, but firmly embedded within the traditions and conventions of early film culture. Throughout the book Haslem presents an array of projects that deftly move through topics, like indexicality, semiotics, memory, and digital restoration to light, materiality/immateriality, creative experimentation, time and obsolescence. While the overall goal is to introduce a new language of cinema and an alternative approach to historiography, the net result is a good start but falls short. The study is strongest and most original when presenting contemporary projects and examples of spectacle. Haslem tells us:
“Many of the films that I explore in this book favour spectacle over realism, some prioritize non-linear, experimental narration over linear, classical narrative form. Many of the older (and some of the newer) films exhibit surfaces etched with markers of time, and as such, they provide a rich surface aesthetic to encounter and explore. My approach to writing on film has always been to try to explore the surface of the film itself. That means prioritizing the aesthetic, looking for moments where details of the spectacle reveal history. My tendency is to zoom into surface details, focusing on the traces of celluloid that remain present within a digital ecology. Material detail, surface, aesthetic and mise-en-scéne drive my film analysis. This is also an approach that prioritizes the senses. (p. 28)
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On Display: 2020 Small Works Exhibition
Homage to Paul Klee (Blue Night) by Amy Ione
Percept: Space Study, #3 by Amy Ione, painting
Dates: March 1 through March 30, 2020
Opening: March 7, 1-4pm, 401 Main Street, Edmonds, WA 98020
Edmonds Art Walk, March 19, 5-8pm
Mutation Study #1 (left) is on display in the Berkeley Art Center (BAC) Annual Members Exhibition, Part 1,
January 11–25, 2020
1275 Walnut Street
Berkeley, CA 94709
January 11, 6pm–8pm
Presented by the Center for the History of Collecting, Frick Art Reference Library, The Frick Collection, NY
Thursday, May 23, 2019, 2 – 7 p.m.
More information: https://www.frick.org/research/center/symposia
This half-day symposium focuses on collecting site-specific, large-scale, and light-based works by artists including, among others, Walter de Maria, Nancy Holt, Robert Smithson, Michelle Stuart, and James Turrell. A panel of scholars, curators, collectors, an artist, and a conservator explores related challenges of installation, maintenance, preservation, and ultimate stewardship. Virginia Dwan, Suzaan Boettger, Jarl Mohn, Jessica Morgan, Leonard Riggio, and Michelle Stuart are among the participants. Sponsorship from the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation and Northern Trust has made this event possible.
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Myrrh (AKA Trudy Myrrh Reagan), with her bright circular abstractions, “portholes into the unknown,” interprets a dozen different realms of science. In her new book, Essential Mysteries in Art and Science, she elaborates on the science behind the paintings in a dozen well- researched essays about these realms.
The friendly aspect of this book is its visual appearance. The first section is an art book, presenting Myrrh’s Essential Mysteries series of vivid paintings. The second section is a charming personal account of the artist’s encounter with science, illustrated with her other science-related works, together with many small illustrations that support points in the essays.
This has been Myrrh’s 50-year project. She began as a “newbie” married to a physicist, picking out patterns in nature to use in her work. She soon fastened onto the powerful ideas in science, those that define the outlines of the cosmos in which we live. “As I changed, so did science,” she says halfway through the book. It includes several sections on the explosion of interest, beginning in the late 1980s, in complex, dynamic, and chaotic phenomena. As well, she explores questions under investigation and those that are simply enigmas. In an age where cultural ideas and branches of sciences themselves are silos that do not communicate well, hers is an account that gracefully relates them all.
$45.00 + tax and shipping, available at www.myrrh- art.com/gift shop or directly from the artist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In my 2007 Leonardo review of Rosalind Krauss’ book Perpetual Inventory I characterized her essay on William Kentridge as the most compelling in the book . Krauss introduced him as a South African artist whose animated films pursue the problems of apartheid and spoke about how he creatively mixed film, drawing, and erasure with highly charged ideas. She also spoke about how his peripatetic approach, improvisational process (fortuna), and his use of erasure spoke of a creative practice that combines drawing and seeing with making and assessing. Krauss concluded that regardless of whether Kentridge’s drawings for projection come together in a series that examines apartheid, capitalist greed, eros, memory, or whatever, his process is not based primarily on the theme of the series. Rather, in her view, and I share her view to some degree, the works result through the dictates of his creative process. William Kentridge: Process as Metaphor and Other Doubtful Enterprises by Leora Maltz-Leca sees his philosophical relationship to the work as more important than his creative practice per se. Therefore, one intriguing question on my mind as I wrote this review is why Maltz-Leca, and indeed Kentridge himself as relayed in this book through a number of interviews, did not change my mind.
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The interview with Amy Ione, Director of the Diatrope Institute, is now included in the Interviews from Yale University Radio (WYBCX) index of The Art World Demystified, Hosted by Brainard Carey. It is available at http://museumofnonvisibleart.com/interviews/amy-ione/. This collection is an oral history of the Lives of the Most Excellent Artists, Curators, Architects, Critics and more, like Vasari’s book updated.