a priori expressions are limited to the physical materials*; in extreme forms it is
hoped to produce a phenomenological experience of the physical presence of the
material as a material
(*note link to Marxist theory, Greenbergian modernism)
technological potentials IMAGE
of moving images CAMERA
(movies) describing BASE
areas of technological EDITING
technological potentials always determine aesthetics
in materials-oriented formalism; this is why development
and expansion of materials is so important to that formalism
understanding this formalism is a necessary condition for
escaping from it
[this list of seven categories is sufficient to cover all formal
development of movies and statics in any support system,
whether film, television, computer or any other medium as
The connection of formalism to specific technological particulars of a specific
historical moment has killed it. (Greenbergian formalism is a dead end.)
What is needed is a formalism of ideas drawing together all that has gone before:
a hybrid, mongrel, impure formalism
We need to make movies, not films, videos, etc.
We need to make statics, not paintings, photographs, etc.
We need to make Art, not money, fashion or fame
(to paraphrase Cage)
We need the right goals to make the next thing
When we work to be famous, to be successful (money), etc.
We do not do what is needed.
We no not need just any artwork, but the right sort
We do not need just any aesthetic, but the right sort
We do not need something else than what we are doing
We need to begin by saying "no" so that we can say "yes"
What is it that we need?
previous formalisms privilege the materials above the cognitive-material-formal relationship.
this tends to become reductive: the physical properties of the materials become
much more important than the above relationship where the materials are the
intersection of the cognitive processes and the formal properties of a specific
work revealed in the materials (through the shaped materials). thus physical
material is itself less important than the shape those materials are in, and the
cognitive* experience of a living person interacting with it.
* cognitive, in this sense, means all thoughts, emotions, responses of the individual in
experiencing the work. (the work appears through the material-formal relationship)
In effect, meaning and experience are more important than the physical materials,
but are only considered as revealed in and through the audience's interaction with
the work. Meaning is a function of the probability of the interpretation. Intentions,
beliefs, etc. of the artist are of no relevance to this formalism (they must be visible
within the work to matter).
biological rather than materials-oriented formalism
cognitive/perceptual -- understanding or thinking process
previous formalisms, because of their privileging of materials ignore the possibilities of
anything which does not further this arid 'purity.'
historically, formalism is a matter of purity, thus exclusion rather than one of
synthesis, hence: combination. The formalism I am discussing is not the romantic
total work of art, but rather one where specific experiences are designed within a
array of potentials (all works are a selection from these potentials anyway)
the need is for a formalism based on the relation-response to the materials, not the
materials in themselves (not Greenberg). this would be a formalism of emotions
than meanings (always plural) rather than a formalism dedicated to
phenomenological presence and purity -- both lead to aesthetic boredom quickly.
previous formalisms lead no where: they contain their own failure (formal exhaustion) within
their limitations and exclusions.
a new formalism must be based on inclusion rather than exclusion -- "more" rather
self-referential: refers to itself within the context of the work itself
auto-referential: refers to itself, not within the context of the work, but
through the materials. i.e. the 'noise' level of the work makes one aware of
the materials, thus of the work through (within) those materials.
[unconscious reference, reference without attempting it or "being aware" it]
self-reference is a typically Modern technique while auto-reference tends to be the result
of naive attempts (without technique or materials) at what is produced by master craftsmen.
while this is often the case, simply leaving 'in' the flaws of production
(dirt, fingerprints, hairs, scratches, etc.) can result in an auto-referential work. The
photographs of Brancusi, and the early films of Warhol are prime examples of the auto-
referential technique in action, although in the case of Warhol this is coupled with a
very calculating self-referentiality as well. (home movies)
we speak of self- and auto-reference as formal elements of the object as interpreted to
refer to the physical reality of the object itself. self-reference is a function of
interpreting content, while auto-reference is a function of interpreting materials