This clip is dedicated to the birds of the world. The music by Erik Satie has a meditative, peaceful character corresponding to the spaces where birds live away from human artifacts. It also conveys a sadness reflecting the disappearance of birds and their habitats on Earth. Graphics and development by Neil Horne. Music performed by Robin Alciatore via Musopen (public domain).
You can also watch it here.Mobile users (no flash) can watch it here.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Sacrifice, including human sacrifice, is a crucial precursor of the symbol systems of money and written language, according to Christina von Braun (Der Preis des Geldes). These symbolic abstractions emerged from sacrificial practices that had their origins in the transition to agricultural societies from hunting and gathering.
Agriculture required a transformation of the land from its original state as the domain of the gods into a human productive form. Forests and bio-diversity were cleared to make way for monocultures and pastures. As compensation for changing their garden into farms, the first instance of every product was offered to the gods. This offering from the harvest included the first of the grain crop and the first born animals. The latter included the first born human children. Prior to agriculture there had been no need for sacrifice.*
Only domesticated animals were sacrificed not wild animals. The sacrifice of human children over time became substituted with animals.
In a significant step towards abstraction, animal sacrifice became substituted by offering coins with domestic animal representations on them. A common animal on coins was the ox - a castrated bull - which unlike the bull was a highly functional animal on the farm. The key to its domestication was castration which made it capable of farm work.
The ox was highly desirable and therefore suitable as a sacrificial animal. A sacrificial animal had to be particularly valuable or the gods would not take note of it. The testicles of the bull were of great significance in ancient religious processions.
Over time, sacrifices of oxen - an animal of great barter exchange value - were substituted by symbolic objects of value representing them which were produced originally in temples. These coins had symbolic representations of the gods on them to guarantee their value and also images of sacrificial animals. They were made of valuable metals. They became the basis of monetary exchange and were later produced by the state.
Written language, which appeared at about the same time as money, used the symbolism of the time to define its characters. The significant first letter of the alphabet - α - subsequently 'a', derives from the head of the ox inverted with the horns pointing to the right (or downwards - 'A'). It represents, as the first letter, all that the ox represented. It is powerful but symbolises sacrifice (also human sacrifice), the giving up of its wild free-roaming status with a sexual aspect which is offered up to enter into civilised ordered society, the same sacrifice which Freud sees as the basis of civilisation or which Hobbes argues is required of people as they enter urban life and leave the 'brutish' life behind.
The alpha of the alphabet existed as a symbol before the ancient Greeks made it into one of a limited supply of characters to represent the sounds of spoken language. It had previously been a hieroglyph representing a thing. When it became alpha it became abstracted from things and could only refer to things in combination with other letters in the alphabet. As 'a' and 'A' it still has its horns and modern language users still make the necessary sacrifices to live in society as literate subjects, despite latent and explicit tendencies to break out and go wild.
*Classical paintings of gods show them in contexts of biodiversity, not in farmland.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
This crucial element for life on Earth has properties unlike all other substances. In its solid form it takes many shapes, forming diverse and beautiful crystals as snow as well as being able to form rigid sheets of ice. As a liquid in motion it accumulates minerals which are essential for the growth and health of plants and animals. It circulates in complex ways in oceans, rivers and creeks. As vapour it rises into the sky and returns to cleanse and enrich life on the ground. Water is the main substance of the human body.
Despite its abundance and beauty, water is abused all over the world. Shortages of this plentiful stuff are commonplace. Human societies persist in mixing it with toxic chemicals, sewage, and whatever needs to be carried away to other places, where others who are dependent on it live. Waterways are permanently contaminated. Building waste is pumped into urban rivers and flows throughout the land.
As world temperatures rise, the great reserves of high-altitude water, accumulated frozen in the mountains to supply the lowlands in seasonal cycles, melt permanently away. The fresh pure water is no longer stored but relocated into the salty oceans as they rise and flood the intertidal and coastal zones, leaving the mountains to dry out. The gradual flow of melting ice is replaced by torrential flows flooding the river banks, farmland and cities along the way.
A changed perception of water is required, not just for its beauty, but for life survival reasons.
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Seeing one image as two different inconsistent things depends on the observer. Without the object changing, the observer may see these symbolic representations on one occasion as a rabbit and in another moment as a duck without the the object changing at all. The duck may be seen as having a cheeky look or an angry expression or the rabbit may appear serious or happy. These details are projections of meaning by the observer. The changes in the signifier come from outside of its own symbolic form.
What happens if an observer has never seen a duck or a rabbit. The object is then seen as an unknown. And if they then are subsequently introduced to a duck or a rabbit, will they then say: "That is what I saw in that picture and now I know it was a rabbit (or duck) that I saw"? (Ludwig Wittgenstein)
The perception of objects is highly contextual and ambiguous. Meanings change as the observing agent moves around in social contexts acquiring more awareness.
When a number of these duck-or-rabbit objects are placed together in relation to one another, the ambiguity of the situation changes. They become characters in discourse, either as rabbits or as ducks. They are perceived as being in social interaction.
The observer can choose how to see them - as rabbits chatting or ducks looking at one another - as focus moves around the canvas. This freedom of choice may be sometimes interrupted by an unplanned impulse to see a duck when looking only for rabbits. Choosing in the field of vision is limited by how the perceptive process functions autonomously. This may depend on the way the symbols are facing, if one is thinking about rabbits talking or rabbits looking all in the same direction. Furthermore, we are set up as visual animals to always be on the lookout for the unexpected despite our intentional strategies.
The ambiguity of the picture means the eye is always rapidly moving around looking for meaning, projecting a systemic whole and then being thrown out of it again by a competing view.
Is it the object that is responsible for all this action? Is it the picture? Is it the symbol? Or is meaning an invisible self-referencing social relation of great complexity which constructs objects ?
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Photos of the new scarf at the Neptune fountain in front of the Red Town Hall can now be seen here. The scarf is a dotAtelier design realised in wool by Anyonion. The fountain was designed by Reinhold Begas and built in 1891.
Photos by Rita.
Friday, February 22, 2013
Photographs of the new dotAtelier scarf can now be seen here. Photos were taken by Rita. Best viewed in full screen mode.
This scarf is a realisation in wool of a dotAtelier design from the sandstone tessellation series inspired by mythological landscapes of the Eora people in eastern Australia . It is knitted in merino wool by Anyonion in Berlin on their two-tonne computerised knitting machine in Neukölln.
The sculptures - "Drei Mädchen und ein Knabe" - were created in Berlin by the East German sculptor Wilfried Fitzenreiter in Prenzlauer Berg.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Art and philosophy make possible a distancing from the demands of the immediate world, according to Schopenhauer. Through contemplation of aesthetic works and philosophical ideas, it is possible to become open to transcendental experience. Aesthetic objects facilitate the mind to step back from the world, to loosen up from one's embeddedness in networks of functional activity. In this state, the observer is freed from the sense of willing, of obligation to act, and becomes just being, an observer, a 'world-eye'. The fragmentation of day-to-day eperience is replaced by a more reflective perception.
Many candidate artworks fail Schopenhauer's criteria to be aesthetic as they do not promote contemplation and distancing.
Not all that is exhibited as art is art. Representations of everyday objects and people may not be suited to inspire a transcendental experience although this depends on how they are presented. They rather tend to be a fragmenting distraction, leading back into the scattered immediacy of the world with its wishes and imperatives, its 'shoulds' and 'have tos', and not into a distancing from it. (Nietzsche p 41, Safranski)
Friday, February 15, 2013
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
A new film by dotAtelier is now available on blip.tv.
Accompanied by the piano composition 'Wings One' by Margrit Roth-Spanknebel, played by the composer, 'Flying' presents entrancing images transforming in space-time, emerging and disappearing within one another. The hypnotic experience is optimised when viewed in a sympathetic ambience - comfortable, relaxed and somewhat darkened. It is best watched in full-screen mode to avoid the distractions of irrelevant colours and shapes.
Images and development by Neil Horne.
A higher quality version of the film can be seen at dotAtelier.net but it is a flash film with a long loading time.
There is a Vimeo version here which runs on iPad also. Many thanks to Vimeo for their helpful hints about rendering which helped to greatly improve the quality of 'Flying'.
A YouTube version (no flash), which can be viewed on iPad or iPhone, can be seen here.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
When I look at a picture I see it in my own way, although I can choose to see it differently. This is however different to interpreting. Seeing contains feelings and ideas which give a picture meaning for me and I see it in a particular way which is different from how others may see it. Interpreting is a more speculative approach and tentative. "When we interpret, we employ a supposition or express a hypothesis" (Wittgenstein p9).
A word is like a picture. It is a picture of its meaning. It has a feeling which we express by using the word.
Sunday, December 02, 2012
It is often the case that titles are not an enhancement of a picture but a distraction from it. Hence many dotAtelier images are now titled "Wunderkammer + number", where the title has limited significance. Each image is a uniquely identified object in the chamber of wonders.
At worst, a title results in the picture not being seen at all but just recognised as an abstract idea different to the image, satisfying the need of the viewer to be able to recognise an object but hindering them from looking at the picture for what it is. This is an extension into adulthood of the language learning process of children who see an object associated with a word and get positive reinforcement when they get it right.
An image, however, is designed as an object in itself, not a pointer to something else. It is an extension of the constructed world not a reflection of it.
The title of the image "In-der-welt-sein" is an exception to the usual naming system. This image's title does not distract from the picture. It assists in drawing attention to the image and to gain a perception of in-der-welt-sein from it.