Paul Valéry quote : “Proportion must act…

La proportion doit agir sans se montrer.

Proportion must act without showing up.

Paul Valéry

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Movies, Previews, Surprises

When you’re a movie lover, you know that good movie directors hate the “tests” producers organize with films.

They show the movie privately, in a theater, then the audience has to answer questionnaires.

According to the results, then they cut and alter the movie. That’s horrible, right?

It’s pretty rare that the director has the “Final Cut”…

But this week I’ve been a little surprised by this :

Sydney Pollack, in the bonuses of “The Way We Were”, explains that the movie had a problem after he made a preview. The balance is always hard to find, but here he says that it was a failure. Thus he simply cut a few scenes, like with an axe, and showed it to another room the day after. Big success.

I supposed that if he did this, it’s because he “felt” there was a problem – which came here from the balance between the love story and the political story.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070903/

Then I read, in Walter Murch‘s book “In the blink of an eye” (he’s a great film editor – Apocalypse Now), that he was not against film preveiws. I was VERY surprised, but he explains that one should not ask the audience anything after the preview, but day(s) after, in interviews (IRL or phone).

Here’s my tool :

When you have a bold, decided opinion about something “one SHOULD NOT do, ever”, it can be interesting (or at least a game for the mind) to hear people you respect having another opinion. If you listen, you’ll discover subtleties, knacks, and delicious exceptions. After all, there’s one risk : you could expand your knowledge, or at least add a facet to it…

Hmmm, what’s the next step?

Thanks for reading!

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“Two Birds”, and other “long-range laconic details”

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I took this picture, then, back home, I opened it on my Macintosh and discovered the two birds, which came as a little miracle. I thought the picture was good (roofs/landscape, the light, the funny road), but it became cool because of these two guys, right?

One could call this “small impressive things”. Borgès called it “long-range laconic details”…

We have in France an idiom for this, le je-ne-sais-quoi (“the I-don’t-know-what”), the little thing that can make something magic, and also can spoil everything. One philosopher even wrote a book about this “almost nothing” (V. Jankelevitch, Le je-ne-sais-quoi et le presque rien).

No doubt he was fond of music, which is almost a wizardry on this topic (thinking about unexpected (or hidden) dissonances or modulations).

It can blossom in many discreet things, purposed mistakes or strange seeds.

This is important in Arts, where perfection is often boring.

“Beautiful books are written in a kind of foreign language”, says Proust.

In a poem, a single word can be strangely placed (or repeated, like in Gertrud Stein’s, “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”) and a sensation appears :

“Now listen! I’m no fool. I know that in daily life we don’t go around saying ‘is a … is a … is a …’ Yes, I’m no fool; but I think that in that line the rose is red for the first time in English poetry for a hundred years.”.

It can be a single phrase in a whole song. The example of J. Denver :

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia
Mountain mamma, take me home
Country roads

Seems a simple song about nostalgia, but hidden in the song you find “Driving down the road I get a feeling/That I should have been home yesterday”, which colors it differently, right?

“Everything that goes wrong… goes right” is one cool secret.

Details, games of subtleties, purposed mistakes, flakes of gold, unexpected elements, all are “je-ne-sais-quoi”s which put the audience into a state I love.

Thanks for reading!

AUSTRALIA. Sydney. Hunter st, city centre. 2002
Trente Parke
  1. Strangeization Tool & Eyebrow Criteria
  2. Intentional Maladjustments & Braiding Assessments
  3. Wes Anderson, Edouard Manet and modernity
  4. The “Brushstroke Pattern” & Progress in Arts : Offering Awareness

“Great” photography & Pompier painters, part 2/2

It’s the same pattern for photographers.

First, this little thing. The world of Internet is full of “gorgeous” photos, like this sunset and this glass ball. But you won’t find anything like this in the world of good photographers.

 

Open a book of masters of color photography (Shore, Eggleston, Herzog, Leiter…). This is NOT what they do. The gorgeousness is elsewhere than in the result of pushing cursors (very colored, very sharp, big bokeh, etc).

It can puzzle you, or make you feel the mood of a place, or anything.

I know that it becomes the philosophical problem of “Beauty”, but in this article I extract the comparison.

On the left is a Venus, she’s perfect, like in porcelain, on the sea, doing an arty movement with her hand, and little angels are gazouilling around. It’s pompier, mythical, boring. On the right is Olympia, she’s a whore, she watches you (you’re the client). Both come from the same time.

 

Now take a “splendid” pool (with a big logo on the bottom, which is a sign of bad sign), and then Stephen Shore’s pool. Which one is a good picture?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

“Great” photography & Pompier painters, part 1/2

Ce qui est trop parfait met Dieu en colère
“What is too perfect makes God angry”

 

Academic Art is the art and artists influenced by the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts. In the 19th Century, the French called it “l’art pompier”, especially historical or allegorical ones. It derives from the helmets with horse-hair tails, worn at the time by French firemen, which are similar to the Attic helmet often worn in such works by allegorical personifications, classical warriors, or Napoleonic cavalry. It also suggests pompeux (“pompous”).

Pompier art was seen by those who used the term as the epitome of the values of the bourgeoisie, and as insincere and overblown.

(Thank you, Wikipedia)

These painters (like Gérôme or Bouguereau) had a splendid technique, but they stayed in History, in this Pompier catégory : boring and perfectly made.

 

Now I admit there’s a guilty pleasure watching these guys’s works. But this is NOT what you want to study for months, right? Which I did with Manet…

There’s a pattern here : an annoying dance between “It’s splendidly made” and “It’s nowhere inventing here”, no emotion, just technique…

If we agree with the core of Arts (“What’s new here?”) – and that there’s nothing new here – we can watch this pattern/structure in other places, like photography. This will be the part 2!

Thanks for reading!

Intentional Maladjustments & Braiding Assessments

Here are a few pictures where I put the cursor incorrectly. Maladjustments.

Too much grain from too big ISO. Unfocusing. Underexposing. Motion blur from opening too long. Overexposing…

Et tout ça intentionnellement ! Of course, most of the time, it’s intentional…

AndI wanted first to write an article from it, something like :

In what other fields do we (or could we) invent intentional maladjustments? Poetry? Teaching? Architecture? Why? What does it bring?

 

I think it’s one of the core of this blog. My state of mind does this all the time. I watch a bunch of pictures, and it’s automatically weaving : I braid assessments, from the simple (I like it/I don’t) grow branches of analysis : How is it made? What does the photographer want? And in the hole pack, where’s the structure/pattern?

And a few more, probably, but I stop here because it’s three. A braid – in French, c’est une tresse…

The structure I show here is : intentional maladjustments.

The guy who invented penicillin shows another structure : serendipity, or fortunate discovery – which is very amusing to explore, leading to one of the most pleasant quote I ever found (from Pasteur) :

Chance favors the prepared mind

 

I finish with this question : how do you use this “mental gymnastics” process (the game of finding structures)? Why is it useful? When could it be useless, or even harmful?

In front of Art (example : “The Unhinger” : Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe (1863) is a MESS), do you just plunge into it, finding beauty, or do you immediately want to read about it or meet the artist, to understand what he wants (in him/for you)?

Have a nice day!

 

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The traditional version of this story describes the discovery as a serendipitous accident: in his laboratory in the basement of St Mary’s Hospital in London, Fleming noticed a Petri dish containing Staphylococci that had been mistakenly left open was contaminated by blue-green mould from an open window, which formed a visible growth. There was a halo of inhibited bacterial growth around the mould. Fleming concluded that the mould released a substance that repressed the growth and caused lysing of the bacteria.

Wrong Way Up and… the game of “finding structures”