Hopper / Antonioni / Chekhov : Effects of Reality

Roland Barthes explained the “Effect of Reality” as a way to establish literary texts as realistic.

He said that some descriptions, in novels, have no other reason than to make us feel it’s a real place.

“…in one of his novels Flaubert describes the room of his main character and mentions a pyramid of boxes and cases standing under a barometer. These kinds of details are called notations by Barthes; he contrasts them with the main outline of the story, which he labels predictive, probably because on this level we can make certain predictions about the development of the story.”

F. R. Ankersmit

 

  1. We find this “tool” in some Antonioni’s movies, L’Avventura or L’Eclisse for example. A scene lasts a little to much. The camera shows something (a gaze, a street) without “real” reason. No other reason than this : suddenly you “feel” as if you touched reality, getting out of the-dream-of-watching-a-movie.
  2. We find this “tool” in Hopper’s paintings. For me, it’s his main talent, asset. We watch : some people are here, just “being” – they wait or think, who knows? These paintings stop you, wondering what these people do, if they’re bored…
  3. We find this “tool” in Chekhov’s short stories. His descriptions are not here just to “paint the scenery”, but (and very shortly/effectively) make us feel something. So much that I remember plenty of places of these books!

Of course, it’s used in many other art pieces and form.

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I think this is linked to our idea of boredom. In Antonioni we often watch someone doing nothing – breathing, watching something, thinking. It breaks the usual “flow of events” we often see in movies. Or we see a conversation leading to nowhere. Blank seconds. We see people dealing with boredom. And maybe we are hurt, of surprised, or… bored a bit. And it’s an effect of reality, right?

Sometimes it’s just “a place shown”, like in Hopper‘s work. The light on a wall suddenly makes you “feel” the place. You can almost hear the little wind, or the street, the sea. It’s as if your brain suddenly touched the reality he wanted you to feel.

 

What will we do with this? Why and how does it work? Why is it… good? What about photography? One purpose of it could be to “make us touch” reality, instead of amazing us? What do you think?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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“One day you have to pay the bill”

–  “One day you have to pay the bill”, he said…

When do we say this? When we see someone acting badly, right?

  • Let karma do its job!
  • Give me some time to prepare my revenge!

To whom do we say this?

  • To the person. Like a threat? “One day, you’ll pay the bill, Billy!”.
  • To a friend, or a random ear, designing the other.

 

Are these consolations for the weaks? Or a more standing up orientally wise : Being like water, in the flow of vain things?

“He did wrong, he’ll pay one day”. Probably. Or not.

Watching the world from a calm place.

 

After all, as we all know, shit happens, therefore shit happens to the mean people too.

When you see someone who’s been a mean moron having an accident, sorry you’re not sorry. Bim! Good to him!

But sometimes the retribution is really awful. Much too awful!

The French word for “retribution” is “châtiment”, which sounds very frightening. Like a mean, horrible and rare punishment. Brrr!…

Is it the same for “retribution”?

You stupid hateful manager gets liver cancer, or his son dies in an accident, oh waow and ouch! This is not cool. But there’s one or two percents of smile in one’s head, right? One should not, though. Oh OK everybody’s innocent : it was, in fact, a complete random event. There’s not justice. Nobody pays the bill.

Ouch though. Bill’s payed and very payed.

 

Or more probably : the mean donkey finishes by hurting himself, right?

Schopenhauer said “All stupidity is overwhelmed by self-disgust”. Maybe, and even probably, this structure can be applied to meanness. The “being an asshole” thing is a burden, a toxic heavy one. One day, it kills with bitterness.

 

Well, we will all have to pay the bill for something, after all…

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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Works that create an irrepressible need to express yourself

Works that create an irrepressible need to express yourself

Take music, for example, you can study it in many ways : historically, genres, energy, impact on society, lyrics, etc…

There’s a book I love (Francis Wolff, Pourquoi la Musique ?) which studies the impact of music on human kind. What music does to us.

Any work of Art can be studied that way, a book, a sonata, a painting or a poem.

What does it do?

  1. Emotion
  2. Remembrance
  3. A need to dance
  4. A need to know more about the artist
  5. A need to get more of her/him!
  6. Relief
  7. Calm down
  8. Focus
  9. Meditation
  10. Understandings of the things of life
  11. Knowledge
  12. Beauty sparks

 

Etc…

Some artists are so… peculiar that they can trigger this : “An irrepressible need to express yourself”.

Why? How? How does it work?

I read it about Proust, and I agree : it’s because his huge Lost Time group of books, besides being a fantastic work of literature, is also a big, constant river of ideas, of “tropisms”, little movements of the mind. It touches little parts of your brain you know very well but, well, nobody talked about it to you before. Therefore you have the constant impression that this guy knows you very, very well. It can become a drug (and it is !).

This puts you into a movement. You need to move, to work, to write, to tell. Your well set big trunks of ideas, in your head, begin to move. Things get alive. They want to get out.

Also, there’s the risk of mimicking the artist who triggered it. Get over it. Don’t care : the flow is here, ready to do its flow thing.

Work, work, work. And thank the person who, in the past, had the talent to open your desire to express.

Who are the person who did this to you?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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Proust crée chez son lecteur un besoin irrépressible de s’exprimer.

“The letter’s style is the receiver’s style”

Le style de la lettre, c’est le style de celui qui la reçoit :

“The letter’s style is the receiver’s style”, I saw this sentence today, from a specialist of Proust, quoting approximatively… Lacan.

Let’s pull this string :

When someone writed a letter, there’s a will to communicate, it’s an effort to ‘tell’. The writer bothers, the writer dares.

And it’s NOT the conversation dance. When we talk with someone, it’s a tango, an adaptative dance, constantly moving, meandering together, watching each other; tango.

A letter is written alone, thinking about the other. Empathy.

Words on paper become a letter, an object, a “localized structure of the signifier”, says Lacan.

You adapt a style to the reader. Therefore it’s interesting to read the letters written by an author you like. You see them… in many styles.

You write a letter to a neighbor, a lover, a mother, and you bend your spirit, trying to adapt to what you know about the receiver…

Mmhh, that’s all, what do you think?

I don’t know. There’s probably a scale to draw about written things, from the letter to the article, from the book to the tweet.

Or else, do you write for yourself, expecting it could touch the other?

It’s linked to this : Paul Valéry about “writing for someone”?

 

Thanks for reading!

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The Rhonda Byrne ladder

The Rhonda Byrne ladder?

The Law of Attraction, “the principle that you attract whatever you focus your energy on (good or bad)” has a best seller : The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne.

Of course, this is crap. If you’re robbed or you house gets on fire, it’s NOT because you “negatively thought about it”. And if you want to loose weight, just try to “think thin” and watch the results, haha.

There’s an “other” secret in this book and the Law of Attraction : the author doesn’t give a monkey’s about “how” it works.

She mainly says : you want something, you ask for it, you watch, and if you get it, thank you.

 

This is obviously a ladder – and it’s maybe the reason the book had such success :

  1. If you’re a religious person, you’re in your warm bath : Jesus (or your Angel) always takes care of you and just offered you this perfect parking place you needed, cool.
  2. If you think the Universe conspires to help you, it’s the same. Just attract what you need by thinking about it. It’s the secret.
  3. If you are a normal, good sensed person, you can play it too : want some, ask some (to a tree, or whatever), watch around and if you get it, thank (the tree or whatever – you don’t care), just thank.

 

Both (sorry, troth) solutions of the ladder work. What this “game” provides is maybe… focus and good will.

If you get up on the wrong side of the bed, you really have a good chance to spend a bad day, right? And it’s not because of the Law of Attraction. If you want you daughter to succeed her exams, think about it : do you pray the Lord, or do you spend time with her when she needs it?

 

My tool here is : Where are other ladders? Which concept will we choose to operate on, from the bottom to the top, effectiveness wise?

 

Thanks for reading!

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When funny is being not funny (Geluck)

Humor is complicated. What is hilarious for you is really boring for your brother, and vice versa.

Some guys play with words, or they exaggerate, or they make puns, or they just say (and shouldn’t) what reality is (Dilbert) :

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In Belgium, they have a guy named Geluck, who – like often – doesn’t know how to draw, and invented a cat. Its name? Le Chat; The Cat. Voilà.

His system is to invent “not funny” things, which, in a complicated process many people have, makes it funny. For example :

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“I invented this clock. The first one gives the time. The second one gives the time it will be in an hour”.

Hahaha. Burst laughing, or not?

Who are other “comicals”, who are fun because they’re not?