Category “Art”

A curt note on the film ‘Avatar’

When Cameron’s Avatar came out, I could find no-one to go and watch it with.  The price of being steeped in Seattlelite counter-culturalism, probably.  Personally, I thought it would be cool to go and watch a mainstream film.  (I call this inclination counter-culturalism-squared.)  Anyway, when, months later, I was finally afforded the possibility of viewing it with a couple of 5-year-olds, this is what I thought:

“Avatar is awesome”.

That’s right.  And on this issue, I’ll take on any of you tree-huggin’ hippies out there.  (First, I’d kick your ass at tree huggin’).

Next, I’d agree that, yes, Avatar is a block-buster movie and thus part of the unsustainable capitalist empire etc. etc.  And yes, no trace of artistic nuance graces the leveraging of archetypes (good|evil; hero-stranger|chieftain’s daughter; etc.|etc.) in Avatar’s rather planar plot.

But consider which entities occupy the archetypes.  Consider the themes that Avatar uses to exploit emotional capital.  Wait, humans as the bad guys?  Indigenous rights, anyone?  Resource exploitation?  These are the issues which speak to the 21st Century’s global audience?

Sure, I’ll go out and say it out loud: Avatar is symptomatic of … of … the changing World Spirit, if you will.  The tide is on Our side.

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Sensing Nature

Sensing Nature at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo – wish I could see this!

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The great wave off Kanagawa

Watanabe (1832), The great wave off Kanagawa.

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William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

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Travelers amid Streams and Mountains

Fan Kuan’s (范寬) Travelers Amid Streams and Mountains (溪山行旅圖)

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The Cove

A film about Ric O’Barry’s quest to document dolphin killing in Taiji, Wakayama, Japan.

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Target with four Faces

Jasper Johns (1955) Target with four faces

Four identical faces cut off from the eyes upwards. Unanimity. I hold this piece to wield tremendous force.

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Woman Holding a Balance

Jan Vermeer (1664) Woman holding a balance

But what is she balancing?  (The scales in the painting are empty).  Note painting of Final Judgment in background.

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Apollo and Daphne

Gianlorenzo Bernini (1622-’24) Apollo and Daphne

To my knowledge this level of technical proficiency has never been exceeded in marble.

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tunak tunak tun

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