Tuesday, January 31, 2006

a good blog to look at

since it's on the internet we might as well share cool stuff...here is a blog from another 1020 class...you can read through to get an idea of what the assignments were which prompted the particular responses.


my own relationship to detroit

this is a topic/essay long in the waiting and will not be at all covered in the space of this five minute blog... so here is a short list of thinking on this as we have been talking in our 1020 class, and, the superbowl will be held in downtown detroit this coming weekend for the first time ever...well the first time it will be in detroit, it is the XLth superbowl if you know how to read those kinds of numbers...

the short list:

-superbowl...have to go downtown and take some photos of the fancification of the d. i've heard in places buildings are being covered for aesthetic purposes...is this a rumor or is it true??
-superbowl...the homeless people are being rounded up to get them out of the way for the weekend, but i think they are also having some special events and activities for them at the local area shelters/organizations...they are asking for donations...the biggest money event in d's recent history and the homeless need donations to be fed for the weekend...
-wayne state...having returned to the city after years of living away (mariana islands, new mexico, colorado, connecticut) after first attending u of d mercy across town...getting to know the culture of wayne to begin with and reknow the culture of the city. it's nice to be urban. i also love walking in the woods. my hope is that one day d. will be spiffied up enough so that you could walk down woodward, say from the wsu area, all the way to downtown and have shops and restaurants and art gallerys and etc neat stuff (not even trendy fancy stuff like royal oak but just regular commercial business and city stuff...pedestrian stuff...commerce and stimulation of the urban space...). that is one idea. last year i spend time in nyc in which you can walk for miles etc... i mean, you can walk down woodward now, but there is not a whole lot to do and see.
-essay project...i have in mind a couple of writing projects that involve walking around, visiting different areas of the city, writing short pieces in response to the space the place (but not in the sun ra sense of outer space though sometimes in some areas of d. you feel like you are on another planet not in the 1st world usa the wealthiest country on this planet...so maybe this is in some way related to sun ra and his ideas...)...i also was thinking about doing a quick version of this with the superbowl downtown scenes writing that up whatnot...i think photos are important...or filmaking...amateur documentaries of the mysterious and underrated, underdiscussed city of d. ok, so, yes, documenting detroit in a way...

that's all for now, keep thinking and watch as the people pile in for the weekend.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Response assignment for 1020 week of Jan 30

Write 2-3 paragraphs about your Personal Essay. What are you writing about? Which articles from the book did you choose to use? Why did you choose these; why are these articles interesting to you?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Response assignment for 1020-week of Jan 21

Copy this assignment and respond to it on your blog with a clearly labled title such as: blog response for the week of jan 21.

Your assignment this week:

Write 2-3 paragraphs about your relation to detroit and/or the metro area using examples from, or references to any of the articles we read about the suburbs or the city.

The responses are due before class on Friday.

Monday, January 16, 2006

on DADA and its history

annotated: 2 articles from DADA

1. Lista, Marcella. ‘Raoul Hausmann’s Optophone” ‘Universal Language’ and the Intermedia’

Lista looks at Hausmann’s interest in creating a machine that would convert sounds into images and images into sound as part of his vision which included a ‘sensory revolution based on a haptic or touch-based perception of the world’ and a new art of light and sound (84). He wanted, through art and the use of electricity to convert light and sound, to form a new understanding of both history and modernity. ‘The Dadasoph’s [Hausmmann’s] appropriation of the raw materials of light and sound places the question of language at the core of physiological experience, understood as a ‘translation’ process carried out by the senses’ (91). As a forward-thinking artist, Hausmann is interested in sensorial effects in both literal and metaphorical ways; the technology of conversion was a means toward perceiving not only light and sound and language, but experience, in new ways.

2. Pierre, Arnauld. ‘The ‘Confrontation of Modern Values’: A Moral History of Dada in Paris’

Pierre here gives a narrative of the momentary coming together and the ultimate splitting of Dada from its contemporary other modernist ‘schools’. The essay begins with the organization of gatherings organized by Breton and others in 1922 intended to bring innovative artists together under an umbrella of common values. Although he notes that this may have been the beginning of the end, he spends time looking at the specific work of the various ‘schools’ and where they intersect with the idea of l’espirit nouveau—a unifying theme coming from Apoollinaire. Tzara though soon claimed Dada distinct from the others though at the time it ‘appeared to be less a movement with a specific identity than a consortium for ‘modern international activity’ (243) and was evident in the various journals and activities in which artists and styles mixed and mingled. Ultimately the rifts between artists and groups grew and Dada particularly refused ‘refused to be labeled ‘modern’’ as a question of survival (250) in part to distance itself from any sense of commercialism or consumerism in the practice of art. Eventually, Breton and others who had worked to unify the arts, decisively broke with Dada, Picabia recognized the loss of spirit and Dada’s move to become a ‘school’ (252), and whether or not aesthetics sometimes gave a common theme to the work, the unifying theme of l’espirit nouveau no longer held these groups together.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Breton's Nadja

‘Who am I?’ the narrator of Breton’s Nadja asks. This first line of the book may set the tone, or assist in the journey toward myriad interpretations, of just what Breton is doing in the book and who or what Nadja actually is. I don’t think it’s important necessarily to know whether or not she is a real person with whom the narrator had some sort of relationship, but what is more important is her effect, what she symbolizes or what place she fills in the book. How is he telling what he is trying to tell through the use of this female character love interest? But another question to ask is does he even have an intention about what he wants to tell or how he wants to get a particular message across? Surrealism almost necessitates a writer having a lack of intention, of letting the work discover itself on the page. As in a dream where the dreamer wanders through various states of recognition and understanding, so might Nadja be read, as the writer and reader simultaneously experience the narrative as a product of the writer’s mind and dream-like state. I think this is certainly a way to think about it. Though I’ve not read much surrealist literature lately. But I feel also like this narrative is quite lucid and thoughtful to simply be in the form of a wandering dream. And although there may be no particular conclusion, my personal interpretation includes references to the narrator’s hints that he is seeking something, seeking himself, seeking to understand himself even. ‘Who am I?’ indeed, and how better do we see ourselves than through our relationships with others; or can we not see ourselves reflected in them, or from them maybe? In the first section of the book the narrator is mostly alone with his thoughts wondering, at least in part, on the manifestation of his own existence, the extent of which cannot be fully known, for one cannot have a ‘completed image’ of one’s own mind as it morphs and manifests with time (12). This is my reading. Certainly the prose is abstract and dense and wandering away from specific pronouncement as it moves through this first section before the reader ever first hears of Nadja at all. He tells the story of the two gates like a ‘mirror of…strength and weakness’ which after reading through the whole book and then going back I read as his way of telling us that he and Nadja are part of the same; that she is his female side, his balancing side, his artistic and free side, his other side that compliments him but that also is subject to lunacy (she leaves for the sanatorium and is not heard from again in the end). Through the character of Nadja the narrator is able to more fully experience and express his own existence. On p17 he writes ‘Need I add how differently I regard Huysmans from all those empiricists of the novel who claim to give us characters separate from themselves, to define them physically, morally—in their fashion!—in the service of some cause we should prefer to disregard!’ I don’t know exactly what he is talking about here but maybe there is something to more realistically portraying characters that are true to ourselves. Maybe if we actually, better understand the characters we create we will better understand the true manifestations of our own existence. We might at least become more comfortable with the process of discovery and manifestation and the constant mingling and changing of these. That after all must be the point.