Find out what I'm doing, Follow Me :)

Reality vs Fear

Well, since this is my first blog I was a bit apprehensive as to what to write in my first post. And since in this module I'm meant to be exploring the way I am as an artist I thought I'd start with my favourite photographer, Duane Michals. I first discovered him in A Level when I was looking at how science is always seen as opposing art when really they go hand in hand but ignorance usually stops people seeing how they can attribute to one another. With artists like Eadweard Muybridge, Duane Michals, Francis Bacon and many others, they are trying to explain physical, medical, scientific problems through their own medium. Much like a scientist would write a paper or dissertation on say the way people with mental health deteriorate, Francis Bacon would ask someone with mental health problems to sit for him whilst he painted what he saw changing within them. Muybridge proved through a bet that all four of a horse's hooves leave the ground at one point through a series of cameras being set at different times to capture the motion. This is early animation and a breakthrough in photography and was done almost accidentally, and it changed how scientists perceived the locomotion of an animal. In many of Michals' work he deals with the idea of there being a parallel universe or reality that we as humans create for ourselves. What? Well in his work "Madame Schrodinger's Cat" which is a triptych of images where there is a woman sitting staring at a box, and underneath the photograph a narrative and suggestion that she has lost her cat (shown below). 

We automatically assume that the cat is in the box. Why? why would there be a cat in the box? Why not? Why would she sit there staring at it? We wouldn't have even presumed there was a cat in the room if it wasn't written underneath. It messes with our concept of reality, we look at an image, at an environment and from memory and what we learn growing up make assumptions about it. In the next image the narrative suggests that the cat is wondering whether Madame Schrodinger is or isn't outside of the box. This again furthers the confusion and no clue is given as to whether the cat is indeed inside or not. The last image is of the cat popping its head out of the box. And underneath the description states that the cat and Madame Schrodinger wonder the probability of us reading the text. Some art is there for aesthetic purposes, other is there to be interacted with, and others is interacting with you. Its simplicity is baffling as it creates such big and important questions in our minds. Why do we make presumptions about things we don't fully understand? As humans, what makes us different from the rest of the animal kingdom and it excels us into being the top of the food chain is out ability to think and question why things happen,what has caused it and what to do to prepare for it. It also hinders our ability to be free from these worries. We over think as well causing a paranoia if something can't be fully understood. Religion for example, most people turn to religion out of fear of their being nothing after we die. In reality, we die, are buried and are given back to the ground to fuel the planet which is daunting. So, people create this alternative reality which gives them a safety net in case it all goes wrong after we pass away. Nobody knows for sure, nobody should.
Back to Duane Michals and less morbid concepts, his work questions our reality instead of justifying what we think is real with simple techniques and methods. This to me is true mastery as his work looks like he hasn't tried when really his technique is sneaky and the message creeps up and surprises you. Plenty more of his work does this and I'm sure I'll re-visit him in the near future. Any of you that know me I apologise as I tend to witter on about Michals frequently. Until next time...