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Paradise Lost and the Dream of Other Worlds

Hrileena Ghosh, Jadavpur University

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Abstract

The doctrine of plural worlds is an ancient concept which received a new lease on life as a result of developments in astronomy in the sixteenth century. In his epic Paradise Lost, John Milton repeatedly references this idea. Milton uses the concept of plural worlds in two distinct forms: at the literal level, he invokes the possibility of plural worlds within the created universe of the poem, and on a more metaphorical level, he invokes the possibility of the existence of several distinct but overlapping worlds. This paper seeks to consider how and why Milton uses this idea in the ways he does.

The Spectacle of Science: the Art of Illusion in Prints of the French Revolution

Claire Trévien, University of Warwick, UK

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Abstract

In this article, I will discuss prints from the French Revolution that utilize scientific instruments as political metaphors. France’s fascination with science during the Enlightenment has been well documented, notably by Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent and Christine Blondel in their recent investigation of its uses as a popular form of entertainment. Whether it was seen as an ally or a foe, the spectacle of science attracted Revolutionary artists. This pull reveals not only an understanding of scientific material thanks to the groundwork of the Enlightenment, but also a need to reposition science within a Revolutionary context. What the prints have in common is ‘spectacle’ in the sense that they are pre-occupied with the idea of illusion, not just as a negative act of deception but as a creative and potentially empowering process, allowing the viewer to see beyond reality into a brighter future.

Léo Marchutz – a Painter in the Centre of Early Cézanne Research

Agnes Blaha, University of Vienna

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Abstract

From around 1933 onwards, painter Léo Marchutz, in cooperation with art historians John Rewald and Fritz Novotny, began to catalogue and photograph the landscapes painted by Paul Cézanne. The important role Léo Marchutz played for their attempts to use photography for the scholarly purposes of art history and in the development of a network of Cézanne researchers interested in this methodological approach can be reconstructed in detail from their correspondence. In addition to the possibilities these documents offer for a historiographic study of the development of early research in modern art, Marchutz’ work can also be seen as an example for the often underestimated reciprocal influences between creative practice and art historic research.

The Forking Paths of Open Your Eyes and Vanilla Sky

Carolina Ferrer, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Canada

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Abstract

In March 1992, researchers from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean inaugurated in Paris the conference Épistémocritique et Cognition, thus giving official birth to epistemocriticism. This new branch of literary criticism incites us to make a re-appropriation of culture as a whole. Essentially, this perspective calls on us to explore the relations between literature and science. The purpose of my paper is to extend epistemocriticism to film studies. Thus, I analyse how bifurcation theory and Borges’s story “The Garden of Forking Paths” operate as main interdiscoursive artefacts in Alejandro Amenábar’s Open Your Eyes and in Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky. Accordingly, I believe that extending this perspective to film studies, we can achieve a better understanding of what happens in these forking-paths films.

CREATIVE: Invasive Species by Roy Frank Staab

About the Artist

Roy Frank Staab (b. 1941) attended Layton School of Art and received a BFA from UWM in 1969, extending studying in Europe, settling in Paris.  He had first exhibition in 1977.  His artworks found place in the collections of the Muséed’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France, Le Fonds national d’art contemporain, Paris, France.  He began making site-installation art in 1979 in France. In 1980 he moved to New York City [works-on-paper in Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY].  By 1983 he shifted to working entirely in nature, employing natural materials from each site and became a peripatetic artist making his ephemeral outdoor sculpture installations in many places throughout the world. He received grants from the New York Foundations for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, U.S./Japan Creative Artists’ Fellowship, Artist-in-Museum Yokohama Museum of Art, Joan Mitchell Foundation award.  He has installed works in Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the United States.

Artist’s Statement

I learned to question and opened the door to experiment and experience, finding the freedom to make art ‘my way’ and choose or reject traditional techniques as a means—to create visual experiences that excite me. It took ten years for my art to evolve from painting, to line structure on paper, to installation. I started to make works in/over water—large works, my drawings in space, using only natural materials gathered from near by. I like the idea of working with nature, geometry and physical science to make works that can be considered a meditation on perception and being—with the idea of ephemeral, nothing to hold on to but the visual experience; Art that is and transcends the object. I make art in nature and refer and depend upon nature and natural sciences to work with me on the art.

Artworks

Invasive Species*
Invasive Species*

 [*because of the fish that escaped that were non-native and took over the native species there in Chen-Long, Taiwan]

There is the oyster fishing industry where they grow oysters and then they reuse some of the shell to grow a new stock. I found piles of discarded shells.  I came up with the idea of putting them on bamboo, held in place by the tension of a slit.  But I learned later, that was the old way they used to grow oysters there. The work is designed to be a long free form like an abstract fish [that I told the children] to fit the land area. I use the oyster shells all facing the sunrise to give the very white glow at that special time.  I was told of the high water rainy season and made the work to be magic.  The rain did not come in May as predicted, but in the end of July, making my art complete with reflection and isolation in the water.

Suspended between the living and the dead
Suspended between the living and the dead

In Philadelphia—I use the cantenary curve (gravity) and wind for my art to move and swing. The situation is to make a work over the canal in a visible place accessible to people to. I chose a place where trees suspend over the canal. But one tree, an elm, was dead, hence the title ‘Suspended between the living and the dead’. I had to test the branch of the dead tree and make sure it will hold. I put up a measuring line between the trees and then took it down and extended it out along the canal edge. The materials for the lines are collected from the nearby abandoned lands. I did not want the line to stretch out as it did on another work, so I use the Japanese knotweed as the main support and tooth-picked it end to end and then layered the line with other weeds such as goldenrod, mug wart and bundle it using jute cord. Sometimes the wind in the tops of the trees makes the work bounce, other times it moves and sways by the wind in the work.  It is held out by bamboo and balanced by stones where needed.

Eau Claire Currents
Eau Claire Currents

For the work Eau Claire Currents, made for the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, a suggested idea as to make a work on the sandbar in the river below the walking bridge.  But the two times that I came to see the site, the Chippewa River was in flood because of the heavy rains. I responded to the site, the bridge and my concern that the people walking over the bridge could see something, not just hang down hanging down, but pulled out by the current. I use the bridge railing supports for the placement of the work and the measure between the lines, for the right shape and proportions of the lines. I am concerned with it lasting as long as possible so the junctions had to be above the water, as I know that the natural materials breakdown in a short time in the water and current.  Ephemeral art belongs in nature and I have no problem with that. The ‘Y’ shaped tendrils were made with wild weeds and bundled with jute. I chose to punctuate the ends in the water using torpedo shaped logs. To my surprise when they were tied on, instead of just staying in a straight line of the current [they were not streamlined enough], they move back and forth giving movement to the work that I like. Slowly, piece-by-piece, parts break off and slipped silently down the river. The work is made with all organic materials and will rot as other river detritus does over time.

More info about Roy Staab and his art can be found at http://roystaab.blogspot.com

Exploring Dickens through a Director’s Lens: a Study of the Cinematic Presentation of A Tale of Two Cities

Gatha Sharma, Shiv Nadar University, Gautam Budh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh

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 An interesting thing always noticed by avid movie-buffs is when one watches a movie made on a novel, automatically one starts identifying characters of the novel with the actors who have played those characters. Actors give new identity and life to the characters hitherto without any proper face or shape, enclosed in the black alphabets and yellow pages of the books. This paper is an attempt to see how the complex art of Charles Dickens find expression through cinema. A Tale of Two Cities is one of the two historical novels written by Charles Dickens. Attempting historical fiction is a tough task. Author has to shift back mentally to those ages and keep track of not only historical but also political, social, economic and spiritual environment of those times. Historically, A Tale of Two Cities has tried to capture extremely volatile years of French Revolution. Impacts of French Revolution were far-reaching and had been felt for many decades afterwards by Europe and later became an inspiration to many freedom movements in Asia, Africa and Russia. Praise to Charles Dickens for attempting such a story and also to all those directors who tried to portray such a razzmatazz on the big screen.

Cooking as Performance: Negotiating Art and Authenticity in Ratatouille

Poushali Chakraborty, Rabindra Bharati University, India

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Abstract

 Be it quotidian or haute cuisine, ‘Caviar’ or ‘Quesadillas’, cooking has always been a performance, in its experimentation to create an “appetite appeal” (Carafoli 146). This paper, through an analysis of Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava’s directed, Disney animation Ratatouille, explores the engaging analogies and correlations between the processes in cooking and performance. The stage is being replaced by a single performative site – the kitchen, which becomes the theatre of action, producing the ultimate ‘orgy of olfaction’ (Kirshenblatt-Gimblett 7). A direct communication is shown to be re-established between the spectator and the spectacle, between the actor and the spectator, from the fact that the spectator is invited to share the secret of the kitchen, and ultimately, is, not only affected by the sight, feel, taste, or smell of the final performative outcome – the food, but also impacted upon by the identity of the performer – Remy, the ‘tiny chef’ – nothing but a provincial rat.

Revolutionary Roads: Violence versus Non-violence: A comparative study of The Battle of Algiers (1966) and Gandhi (1982)

Vikash Kumar

Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi India

Considered one of the finest realist films ever which reconstitutes perfectly the revolution by the people of Algeria, The Battle of Algiers (Pontecorvo Gillo, La Bataille d’Alger, Igor Film/ Casbah Films, Italy, 1966) presents us an image of a world of anger and agony. The making of The Battle of Algiers possibly heralded the birth of Algerian cinema as it was the first film made just after their independence. In fact, this cinematographic masterpiece reveals to its viewers a plethora of images depicting the Algerian people in their quest for independence. Made in the year 1966, by Gillo Pontecorvo and based on the personal experiences of Yacef Saddi, Military Head of the FLN (Front de liberation National/ National Liberation Front) who also collaborated on the script of the film, The Battle of Algiers, interestingly, was directed with the aim to highlight the invisible aspects and unheard voices of this violent revolution by the people of Algeria as well as the counter measures taken by the colonial power to suppress the movement.

Performing “Fine Arts”: Dance as a Source of Inspiration in Impressionism

Johannis Tsoumas,  Hellenic Open University, Athens

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Abstract

The proposed article aims to highlight the importance of the most significant performing art which, according to the author’s opinion, is dance, in influencing one of the most magnificent movements in world art history: Impressionism. Through an diachronic and deep cut in time, namely, the last decades of the nineteenth century France, a period commonly known as fin de siècle, this article attempts to illuminate the unseen sides of this magical “physical ceremony” which was meant to affect dramatically not only art, but also the social status of the country. The process of human movements, especially female ones, through the interaction of body and music was ultimately the cornerstone of the configuration of not only the aesthetics, but the overall ideology of some of the most prominent representatives of Impressionism, but also Post-Impressionism, as in many cases it determined their own lives. The imposing and much debated waltz, the classical ballet as well as the charming can-can and, its ancestor, the playful quadrille, were harmonically blended with the enchanting tools and materials of the Impressionist artists and the result was some of the most astonishing works of art in the world art history.

The Semiotics of Violence: Reading Italo Calvino’s The Castle of Crossed Destinies

Debamitra Kar, Women’s College, Calcutta, India

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Abstract

This paper attempts a reading of Italo Calvino’s novel, The Castle of Crossed Destinies (1969) from a postmodern perspective. The novel has always been seen as structuralist experimentation, particularly because it was written at a time when Calvino was associated with the OULIPO, the group of the French philosophers like Claude Levi-Strauss, Roland Barthes and others. The paper argues that the simultaneous reading of the words in the text and pictures in the margin, challenges the very practice and method of reading. The novel suggests that it can be read as a card game, a game that accentuates deferral and plurality of meaning. These conflicting readings create the semiotics of violence, which again is reflected in the theme of the stories. The paper cites example of three stories which show that the violence of language is codified as the violence of the feminine on the masculine, arguing that the feminine challenges the rules, laws, and structures of language as well as life and destroys things that adheres to any strict binary form. The conflict between the rule of the Father and the lawlessness of the Mother leads to no higher synthesis—it ends in violence that refuses all routes of communication or meaning.

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