O'Gorman Chap 2

Transparent Language and the Transparent Image

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant--
Success in Cirrcuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind--

Or every man be blind--
The Truth must dazzle gradually
With explanation kind
As Lightening to the Children eased
The Truth's superb surprise
Too bright for our infirm Delight
Success in Cirrcuit lies
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant

Treason of Images
 (image: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CijcaA9yq58/TMwN77GzSLI/AAAAAAAAHv4/idtWaPo9gfg/s1600/Magritte%253B%2BTreason%2Bof%2BImages,%2B1928.jpg)

Treason of images. P 34: short circuits a discourse apparatus - that of language as transparent and expressive of a world or a true self. To say that Dickinson's poem expresses what she thinks about Truth is to point to the Treason of Images and say, "That is a pipe." We get a momentary sense of accuracy, but when we take a slightly different perspective, we have to say that the poem can't express a self or what that self might think any more accurately than the painting depicts a pipe.

With that paragraph above, I'm attempting to short circuit the discourse apparatus of text as self-expression - specifically, that of highly regulated print text as self expression. If that paragraph is a self (it's not), it's an over-determined one, highly constrained into a formally polite, fawning self.

Now consider a realistic portrait painting, done in oil, which is a medium that permits the kind of color and brushwork that makes "realism" possible: slow drying times, intense colors, fine brushwork, and smooth surface. You can't do this with water colors or acrylics.

A realistic oil portrait or self-portrait at first suggests transparency to world and by convention, transparency to another's self or essence. The convention is that a highly skilled painter creates a moment or scene of expression that reveals (it's normally hidden?) a essence. The artist channels the essence of the sitter in paint. Does this self painted know itself? If not, is it a particularly bright self? What are we ignoring when we look at an image this way? Whose conventions are we blindly following? Those are the kinds of questions O'Gorman wants to call to attention in short-circuiting the discourse apparatus.

And a look at the source of this image will suggest that the image already short-circuits the historical discourse apparatus of "oil portraits by old masters." Source

 (image: http://www.cssauthor.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Portrait-of-an-Old-Woman.png)
Portrait of an Old Woman
CSS Author and

Jim Morrison. The photographer has captured an essence, right? Or is that just an easy way of placing the image, even neutralizing it? We don't see the construction of a musician as fetish, gendered, isolated in studio space, the image selected - and ultimately selected to sell magazines and albums, but also as an image of face-and-torso to associate with a voice, a band, a set of songs, and now a grave in France. The pose (and notice that pose is in tension with "true essence"): A reference to limbless Roman sculpure torsos and to crucifixion, both are part of the rock and roll discourse conventions.

 (image: http://trialandheirs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Jim_Morrison_1968.jpg)

How about this. Is this more transparent? More like capturing the essence of Mick for it's apparent candidness?

 (image: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-GLOF8bRSZfs/T5qu0x1WoYI/AAAAAAABFN8/jgewDJnywJw/s640/Michael+Oberman+-+It's+Only+Rock+and+Roll+(12).jpg)

When the image is an image of an image.
How about an image that pretends to be nothing but image w/Lady Gaga as located on Rolling Stone. Patently designed and devised, with Gaga wearing a plastic transparent bustier-corset (it isn't really transparent). The gesture of openness is based on 15th century oils, and it references Botticelli pretty blatantly in curve and in the departure from the original: confronting eye contact, open arms offering, with plastic bubbles - not really transparent - filling in for the hair of modesty/sensuality in the original. The discourse apparatus is hard at work: This image can't be placed in the public w/o referencing the Botticelli original, can't be referenced w/o allusion to the other versions and the entire history of the western nude.

O'Gorman wants to consider how we might short-circuit the discourse apparatus - does this one? Consider that Gaga's figure and the bubbles are not photoshopped but that Gaga is wearing a transparent costume that would create the effect w/o the image.

 (image: http://cdn.stylefrizz.com/img/lady-gaga-rolling-stone-magazine-june-2009.jpg)


News image: Oswald being Shot
Choose your transparency: a full frame:

 (image: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-lRm0cotCmhA/T0DOIPNIciI/AAAAAAAAFTU/7NrElR2gVSo/s1600/Lee-Harvey-Oswald-Is-Shot-Bob-Jackson-Photo.jpg)

a cropped and darkroom modified version to focus on Oswald's face and the gesture.
 (image: http://www.smu.edu/~/media/Images/News/2013/Fall/Lee-Harvey-Oswald-shot.ashx?h=381&w=500&la=en)

 (image: http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2013/166/f/f/lee_harvey_oswald_assassination_in_color_by_bojanglesthecat-d696gqm.jpg)

Or this: Oswald in a Jam. Perhaps this one short-circuits the discourse apparatus.
 (image: http://mabuvinyl.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/oswald.jpg)

Don't let this go by too fast. Notice the tagging on the back wall, and that Ruby as a right-handed shooter is now a left-handed guitar player. That the headgear of the detectives and Jack Ruby the nightclub owner is that of the blues bothers. That the pain of being shot passes well for the expression of rock and roll singing. (That murder and mayhem is a central trope for the blues.) That assorted detectives and backgrounders stand in as roadies and fans. That the guy on the far left now (2014) looks like he's texting on his phone, and that the act of texting, while anachronistic in 1963, would be perfectly possible at a jam in 2014.

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