"Any new possibility that existence acquires transforms everything about existence." -Kundera|
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However, thanks to Mondrians obsessive repetition of this subject matter, we can see how even the highest degree of abstraction still has a root in the figural. We can still locate the relationship between the sensible object (the tree) and the successive forms as it becomes more abstracted from this object. Descartes would have surely been a fan of Mondrians work with Descartes persistence on thinkers using successive method to reach conclusions. For example: A links to B, B links to C, C links to D, and therefore it can be said with confidence that A links to D through this continous movement of though.
My question here for non representational art is as follows: Is there a possible absolute non representation in which no causual relation can be found to objective sensible world? Is the artist capable of creating something that is unbound to sensory relations? I have the assumption that this is not possible. Assumptions however, are not worth much until proven through some branch of knowledge, so back to the drawing board to find if it can be proven true or false, plausible or implausible.
"It's hard to tell where you leave off and the camera begins.
A minolta 35mm SLR makes it almost effortless to capture the world around you. Or express the world within you. It feels comfortable in your hands. Your fingers fall into place naturally. Everything works so smoothly that the camera becomes a part of you. You never have to take your eye from the viewfinder to make adjustments. So you can concentrate on creating the picture.... And you're free to probe the limits of your imagintaion with a Minolta. More than 40 lenses in the superbly crafted Rokkor-X and Minolta/Celtic systems let you bridge distances or capture a spectacular "fisheye" panorama...
When you are the camera and the camera is you" - advertisement (1976)
"The promise inherent in photography from its very beginning: to democratize all experiences by translating them into images." -Sontag
"I see photographs everywhere, like everyone else, nowadays; they come from the world to me, without my asking..." -Barthes
"This, I think, is the photographic imprint: the nearly hallucinatory record of uncountable numbers of unnameable forms, impressed on my eyes with a senseless insistence." -Elkins
"Photography develops in tandem with one of the most characteristic of modern activities: tourism. For the first time in history, large numbers of people regularly travel out of their habitual environments for short periods of time. It seems positively unnatural to travel for pleasure without taking a camera along. Photographs will offer indisputable evidence that the trip was made, that the program was carried out, that fun was had. But dependence on the camera, as the device that makes real what one is experiencing, doesn't fade when people travel more." -Sontag
"Kodak put signs at the entrances of many towns listing what to photograph. Signs marked the places in national parks where visitors should stand with their cameras." -Sontag
"Photography has become one of the principal devices for experiencing something, for giving an appearance of participation," -Sontag
"A way of certifying experience, taking photographs is also a way of refusing it—by limiting experience to a search for the photogenic, by converting experience into an image, a souvenir." -Sontag
"We live according to a generalized image-repertoir. Everything is transformed into images: only images exist and are produced and are consumed." -Barthes
"Photographs do not simply render reality—realistically. It is reality which is scrutinized, and evaluated, for its fidelity to photographs. Instead of just recording reality, photographs have become the norm for the way things appear to us, thereby changing the very idea of reality, and of realism." -Sontag
"Essentially the camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality, and eventually in one's own." -Sontag
"The omnipresence of photographs has an incalculable effect on our ethical sensibility. By furnishing this already crowded world with a duplicate one of images, photography makes us feel that the world is more available than it really is. Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution." -Sontag
"Camera Lucida hides photography's non-humanist, emotionless side. Photography is not only about light and loss and the passing of time. It is about something harder. I agree with Barthes that at one of its limits, ordinary photography of people has something to do with the viewer's unfocused ideas about her own death. But I also think that photography has given us a more continuous, duller, less personal kind of pain. Again and again photographs have compelled people to see the world as they had not needed or wanted to see it. Photographs have forced something on us: not only a blurred glimpse of our own deaths, a sense of memory as photographic grain, a dim look at the passage of time, or a poignant prick of mortality, but something about the world's own deadness, its inert resistance to whatever it is we may hope or want. Photography fills our eyes with all the dead and deadening stuff of the world, material we don't want to see or name. Photography insistently gives us the pain and the boredom of seeing, and the visual desperation that can follow." -Elkins
"The powers of photography have in effect de-Platonized our understanding of reality, making it less and less plausible to reflect upon our experience according to the distinction between images and things, between copies and originals. It suited Plato's derogatory attitude toward images to liken them to shadows—transitory, minimally informative, immaterial, impotent co-presences of the real things which cast them. But the force of photographic images comes from their being material realities in their own right, richly informative deposits left in the wake of whatever emitted them, potent means for turning the tables on reality—for turning it into a shadow. Images are more real than anyone could have supposed. And just because they are an unlimited resource, one that cannot be exhausted by consumerist waste, there is all the more reason to apply the conservationist remedy. If there can be a better way for the real world to include the one of images, it will recquire an ecology not only of real things but of images as well." -Sontag
"It does matter that the world given to me in these photographs is demanding, and its demands are inexplicable: in that dilemma I glimpse photography at work, insisting how hard is it to see the world, and insisting that I find that difficulty, which has always been there for me to discover, in photographs." -Elkins
"Life itself is not the reality. We are the ones who put life into stones and pebbles." -Frederick Sommer
"The creations of man or nature never have more grandeur than in an Ansel Adams photograph, and his image can seize the viewer with more force than the natural object from which it was made." -advertisement for a book of photographs by Adams (1974)
"Photographs are perhaps the most mysterious of all the objects that make up, and thicken, the environment we recognize as modern. Photographs really are experience captured, and the camera is the ideal arm of consciousness in its acquisitive mood." -Sontag
"That most logical of nineteenth-century aesthetes, Mallarmé, said that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book. Today everything exists to end in a photograph." -Sontag
"The photographer is always trying to colonize new experiences or find new ways to look at familiar subjects—to fight against boredom." -Sontag
"The heart of the photographic enterprise lies in the very creation of a duplicate world, of a reality in the second degree, narrower but more dramatic than the one percieved by natural vision." -Sontag
"Reality has always been interpreted through the reports given by images; and philosphers since Plato have tried to loosen our dependence on images by evoking the standard of an image-free way of apprehending the real. But when, in the mid-nineteenth century, the standard finally seemed attainable, the retreat of old religious and political illusions before the advance of humanistic and scientific thinking did not-as anticipated-create mass defections to the real. On the contrary, the new age of unbelief strenghtened the allegiance to images. The credence that could no longer be given to realities unterstood in the form of images was now being given to realities understood to be images, illusions. In the preface to the second edition (1843) of The Essence of Christianity, Feuerbach observes about "our era" that it "prefers the image to the thing, the copy to the original, the representation to the reality, appearance to being"—while being aware of doing just that. And his premonitory complaint has been transformed in the twentieth century into a widely agreed-on diagnosis: that society becomes "modern" when one of its chief activities is producing and consuming images, when images that have extraordinary powers to determine our demands upon reality and are themselves coveted substitutes for firsthand experience become indispensible to the health of the economy, the stability of the polity, and the pursuit of private happiness." -Sontag
"We have not conquered reality at all. The idea that the photograph is representing it has to be attacked." -Hockney