Art Museum Notes

The following is a fairly faithful transcription of the notes I made in my sketchbook at three art exhibits, several years ago. I hope you find them as interesting as I did.

The links were added after the fact, of course.

An-My LĂȘ: Small Wars


these military tents, vehicles, etc.
just staked out in a featureless desert
  • really gives a feeling of makeshift,
    arbitrary imposed structure
    • culture, human actions and thoughts

  • would be a good setting for a game
    • reminds me of IvoryDrive's Black
one of those soldiers there lying in the shade of the camouflage
reminds me of my dad when he was younger

setting up facades, models, in the desert
for simulated training environments
  • physical, not digital
    • in the desert
The camouflage really does make them blend in.
It would be hard to see while driving through
the desert, eyes getting bored, skipping over things
  • hiding in the gaps of attention

I like those bamboo and forest photos

Snipers - a lot of pictures of those
It's an interestingly different role
and way of approaching gun combat
  • hidden, but not really that much
    • gaps of attention?
    • desert vs. jungle
the Distant Flare photo is interesting

Kim Jones: A Retrospective

books and covers - paths, portals, symbols in the mind
  • living, organic, growing, moving book covers?
    how does that change things?

    • showing an instance of dynamics of the system
      that is described within
playing wargames on maps - Tufte
"work on it, get tired of it, work on it more"
  • long-term devotion to a creative construction,
    a miniature garden - viki

    • similar to Civ2 micromanagement and slow pace
      keeping higher levels of organization in mind,
      but individually controlling the smallest parts
I like those weird stick/clutter/adhesive costumes
  • good for ragdoll?
  • MMO customization?
"indeterminate form" "biomorphic forms" "hybrid creatures"
  • one must map out Jones' particular symbolic language,
    his "personal idiom of figures, animals, and forms"
    to understand possible or intended meanings

    • connection to "homeless, camouflaged soldiers, peasants,
      or any number of mystic figures found in religions worldwide"

    • Raven?
Installation art is a good source for miniature garden,
anthropomorphic, symbolically rich, minimal constructions

stick interweavings similar to jungle/forest
war games become abstract, mathematical structures
when you zoom out, like cellular automata

particle trails connecting the elements of this installation,
depicting dynamics of their relationships,
and also in their individual operation
putting books, meaning-rich pictures
into crevices and hidden surfaces
in ordinary physical objects and landscapes
  • the objects without secret books all point to the special one
    somehow, in their arrangement or orientation
Having to lie down, or crouch, or whatever
to engage with whatever material is hidden there,
can bring or force a particular physical context to the situation,
which is usually seen as uncontrollable
in the design of digital content

Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art

Gutters - in comics, in books - rooms in architecture

Books used to have a lot more different forms, before perhaps
economic processes pushed it to a local maximum?
  • When a new medium is invented, many forms emerge,
    each as guesses of what might work

  • scroll (continuous) - no gutters?
  • pleated (accordion) - gutters partly there
  • pages (normal book) - gutters permanent between pages
Ink can make letters visible, or cover them up and distort them

distortion of discrete signals vs. continuous?
  • what happens when the interpreting rules, the context, changes?
What feelings are contained in the flow
and halting and reversing of line in written characters?
  • alternative to interpreting visually, it's kinesthetic.
Sketch books are another sort of book

Paper cutting (like with an X-acto blade)
could be a way to do Northwest Coast art

using the stacked pages of books as a blank substrate
on which the results of a process could be recorded
  • like burning patterns
letting ink build up beyond its use within the context of books,
and let it take on a life of its own
putting the reading of an image in an explicitly sequential form
by putting parts of it on each page

Where does ink get its power?
Partly in the materials and processes used to manufacture it.
  • similarly with paper

Different languages, different writing systems,
different cultural approaches to books, text

Silk worms, living letters

The book, "transmits knowledge but does not
guarantee its authenticity."
  • what would a book be like that does
    guarantee its authenticity?
Tools, instruments, for writing and printing
  • specialness, valuableness, preciousness of objects
  • containing stories within? worlds? hints of them?
a chunk of stone forming interesting spaces and patterns,
held by a stand
  • stands, frames = important
Early Chinese characters were very rounded, lacking tension.
The modern characters are angular and hold much more discretely
understandable tension and flow, like traditional formline art

Sleeping books
  • as architectural ruins
  • active cultural objects, carriers of social messages,
    eventually become dead relics
  • "vulnerability of memory and history"
How would this look anthropomorphized,
like in Discworld's Unseen University library?

What does it describe?
  • pathways in the universal possibility space,
    ant trails formed but fading away

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