Sunday, November 24, 2013

CIWT Does Hockney Symposium --- Day 2/316

Walk:  Clay Theater (Blue is the Warmest Color)
Distance: 1 mile, small yoga home practice

At the Hockney show my friend and I spent the most time in front of his immersive multi-video montages of the English countryside.  They are shot with nine cameras and projected at different film speeds thus presenting a fragmented view that approximates the actual way we experience reality.  We take in a scene initially then our eye roams and fixes on different objects of interest. The videos with their pure color and multiple foci are startling simple; at one point in this winter montage a black bird flies off of a snowy limb and disappears into the sky.  Completely natural and breathtaking; it is as if you've never seen a bird before.

Interestingly in yesterday's Hockney Symposium at the de Young, Wider Vantages Are Needed Now, these videos are the works (among hundreds in the show) that all of the artists, filmmakers and technical 'honchos' chose to focus, comment on and compare to their own work.  This was not scripted, it seems everyone came to the montages on their own - and some had not even seen them and were literally blown away that Hockney is pursuing the exact same questions in his artistic life as they are in theirs.

This was my first real understanding of the depth and seriousness of the inquiry into the actual way we see that was begun by the Impressionists and stated even more clearly by the Cubists.  It is often said that after Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, nothing in the art world was ever the same. Clearly Hockney and the other guests assembled at his symposium would agree and are relentlessly on the trail of somehow capturing the reality of how we experience reality.

A ciwt few takeaways from the symposium:

- Trevor and Ryan Oakes (young artists)  discovered that the nature of light is spherical.

- Gail Wight (young artist) made several videos demonstrating that the living organisms in our stomachs may be very responsible for our psychic lives.  (ciwt: wondering if the stomach actually initiates rather than simply responds).
-  The filmmakers were (not surprisingly) my favorite of group of presenters.
John Gaeta (Matrix), Florian von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others,..), Dennis Muren (8 Academy Awards for Visual Effects,..).  At one point the film, Gravity, was brought up, and I think the moderator expected the filmmakers to praise it.  Instead, to a man, they panned it!!  (Yes!). Best that could be said was that it was like a good space ride at a theme park.  But, even then, they thought Disneyland's Back to the Future is much more inventive, pushes the edge of camera work. Donnersmarck's ten year old daughter came out of the theater saying "Daddy I don't want to go into space."  So much for young girls being inspired.  (See ciwt 2/274 re: Gravity)

-  The Digital experts (Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Alvy Ray Smith and Peter Norvig) all sounded like they were giving mini-versions of their TED talks.  Don't know whether this is because what they are involved in is entirely in the doing and not easily verbalized to the 'common man.' I'm hearing a recurring theme with tech presenters:  something along the lines of everything technical expands by a factor of 10 every five years coupled with 'hold onto your hat' because we have absolutely no way of understanding or predicting how utterly different things are going to be.  I keep listening for more, but consistently hear a tone of resignation.

It was fun seeing David Hockney sitting in the front row truly absorbed.  Wonder what he'll produce next.

*If you're wondering why you see multiple 'Winter' images, Blogger has this little trick of disappearing pictures ciwt has added on her 'compose' page.  Thinking it is gone, she adds another (maybe another if the space goes blank again). But then in the actual post she finds Blogger has included them - all!. No remedying this - sigh, resignation.   Today though the multiples might be appropriate....

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