Creating a Composition and Gathering Insight

“Because of the envious nature of men, it has always been no less dangerous to find new methods and institutions than to look for unknown seas and lands, since men are readier to blame than to praise the actions of others.  Nevertheless […] although it may be irksome and difficult, it can also bring me a reward from those who are kind enough to keep in mind the goal of these labors of mine.  And if my poor intellect, my slight experience of current affairs, and my feeble knowledge of ancient ones make this attempt of mine imperfect and of little use, it will at least show the way to someone with more ability and a greater capacity for analysis and judgment, who can carry out this intention of mine, which, although it may not bring me praise, should not earn me blame.”                                          –Machiavelli, The Discourses

On Sundays I plant myself in Izzy’s café with an assortment of books.  As I read I mine for anything useful.  I mine through books mostly of philosophy and theory, underlining, noting, and trying to gauge the value of each new find, trying not to forget the majority of everything as time passes.  Even if I leave it at that, making no further attempt to organize the bulk of it all, I come away feeling stirred and inspired.  If I put a little more time in the following evening and try to compile the various pieces, try to form a new coherent whole that lends my own work strength, I grow more inspired and confident, witnessing my own literary golem begin to emerge, taking up my cause with its mismatched parts sourced from various pages. Ergo my plan, to carefully over time puzzle together an outlook and position increasingly supportive of my own aesthetic.

Some of the authors to whom I owe my latest insights are collected here in excerpts and arranged amongst my own writing. It’s my hope that their puissance shines through unaffected by any literary shortcoming of my own; Ultimately, I gather like a bowerbird and write only a little better.

Along with this collection of excerpts I’ve included a time-lapse video that shows my process of carefully arranging the composition with photo editing software. Many hours are spent gathering, layering, and modifying all aspects of the figure-cloth relationship, taking time to arrive at a final image that lives up to my expectations.  Reflecting back on the gathered insights I’ve included here will help keep me inspired and ensure that everything continues along in good form and at a good pace.

“Yet the Baroque is not only projected in its own style of dress. It radiates everywhere, at all times, in the thousand folds of garments that tend to become one with their respective wearers, to exceed their attitudes, to overcome their bodily contradictions, and to make their heads look like those of swimmers bobbing in the waves. We find it in painting, where the autonomy conquered through the folds of clothing that invade the entire surface becomes a simple, but sure, sign of a rupture with Renaissance space […] it is Bernini who endows them with sublime form in sculpture, when marble seizes and bears to infinity folds that cannot be explained by the body, but by a spiritual adventure that can set the body ablaze […] In every instance folds of clothing acquire an autonomy and a fullness that are not simply decorative effects. They convey the intensity of a spiritual force exerted on the body, either to turn it upside down or to stand or raise it up over and again, but in every event to turn it inside out and to mold its inner surfaces.” [1]

“…Next, everything becomes blurred again, everything comes apart, but this time in a molecular and pure multiplicity, where the partial objects, the “boxes,” the “vessels” all have their positive determinations, and enter into aberrant communication following a transversal that runs through the whole work; an immense flow that each partial object produces and cuts again, reproduces and cuts at the same time.  More than vice, says Proust, it is madness and its innocence that disturb us. If schizophrenia is the universal, the great artist is indeed the one who scales the schizophrenic wall and reaches the land of the unknown, where he no longer belongs to any time, any milieu, any school.”[2]

“Harmony exists when a multiplicity is linked to a determinable unity”[3]

“If, with Kant, it is objected that such a conception reintroduces infinite understanding, we might be impelled to remark that the infinite is taken here only as the presence of an unconscious in finite understanding, of something that cannot be thought in finite thought, of a nonself in the finite self, the presence that Kant will himself be forced to discover when he will hollow out the difference between a determinant and a determinable self. For Malmon, as for Leibniz, reciprocal determination of differentials does not refer to a divine understanding, but to tiny perceptions as representatives of the world in the finite self (the relation with infinite understanding devolves from it, and not the inverse). The infinite present in the finite self is exactly the position of Baroque equilibrium or disequilibrium.”[4]

“Harmonic unity is not that of infinity, but that which allows the existant to be thought of as deriving from infinity.”[5]

“That is the real definition of the individual: concentration, accumulation, coincidence of a certain number of converging preindividual singularities (it being said that singular points can coincide in a same point, as the different summits of separate triangles coincide at the common summit of a pyramid).”[6]

“The task of perception entails pulverizing the world, but also one of spiritualizing its dust. The point is one of knowing how we move from minute perceptions to conscious perceptions, or from molecular perceptions to molar perceptions.”[7]

“…This being the case, in considering the system as a whole we should speak less of automatism of a higher center than of coordination between centers, and of the cellular groupings or molecular populations that perform these couplings: there is no form or correct structure imposed from without or above but rather an articulation from within, as if oscillating molecules, oscillators, passed from one heterogeneous center to another, if only for the purpose of assuring the dominance of one among them. This obviously excludes any linear relation from one center to another, in favor of packets of relations steered by molecules: the interaction or coordination may be positive or negative (release or inhibition), but it is never direct, as in a linear relation or chemical reaction; it always occurs between molecules with at least two heads, and each center taken separately.”[8]

“…One is obliged to follow when one is in search of the “singularities” of a matter, or rather of a material, and not out to discover a form; when one escapes the force of gravity to enter a field of celerity; when one ceases to contemplate the course of a laminar flow in a determinate direction, to be carried away by a vortical flow; when one engages in a continuous variation of variables, instead of extracting constants from them, etc. And the meaning of Earth completely changes…”[9]

“In the life of forms, the baroque is indeed but a moment, but it is certainly the freest and most emancipated one. Baroque forms […] live with passionate intensity a life that is entirely their own; they proliferate like some vegetable monstrosity. They break apart even as they grow; they tend to invade space in every direction, to perforate it, to become one with all its possibilities. This mastery of space is pure delight to them.”                                  -Henri Focillion, The Life of Forms in Art

[1] The Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque Gilles Deleuze

[2] Anti-Oedipus, Capitalism and Schizophrenia Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari

[3] Elements of True Piety Gottfried Leibniz

[4] The Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque Gilles Deleuze

[5] The Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque Gilles Deleuze

[6] The Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque Gilles Deleuze

[7] The Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque Gilles Deleuze

[8] A Thousand Plateaus Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari

[9] A Thousand Plateaus Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari




3 thoughts on “Creating a Composition and Gathering Insight

  1. thanks frank.
    it remind me of my own way to make sens of things that came to me from so many came relatively easy with writing but to see it with the lapse video is a whole new trip for me.(didn’t not have that technology then) .the world is as complex but with the difference that we have so many more ways to unraveled it..
    would i ever go back to this intense perception and i still sharp enough????my day seems easier and simplified.i am still passionate in a diluted way.i feel some nostalgia.your approach to your work is
    it has been an interesting morning time pass with is meaningful .
    see ya.

    • Thank you for saying Camille! And yes, even in my lifetime the technology has evolved much faster than I understand it. My goal is to utilize the digital design programs in a way that lets me arrive at a composition that I could not achieve otherwise. In this way the technology helps me expand the possibilities rather than becoming a crutch for techniques that are already familiar.

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