The Crystal Ball

Often enough, experiencing a work of art can be like looking into a crystal ball.  Our eyes and minds search for clues and embrace the little mysteries.

These oracles have appeared in films such as the 1939 The Wizard of Oz and the 1940 The Thief of Bagdad.  In the latter, it was known as the “all seeing eye.”  Watching movies can be like watching other people’s dreams.

The Surrealists used to go from movie to movie (leaving the theatre as soon as the plot started to make sense).  If you’re lucky, you can get a similar sense of poetic displacement by channel surfing cable T.V.  Somehow though it’s just not the same.  Now if you had fifty stations showing old movies, cartoons and  documentaries, then maybe you’d get somewhere.

The great Surrealist Andre Breton also described paintings and drawings as being windows looking into other worlds.

When reading a book or watching a film, it’s possible to get “swept away” and feel as if you’re in another world.  As you immerse yourself, you can get pulled into that world and out of the one around you.  Yet in the end, you’re in both at once.

Creating art is often a solitary pursuit.  Yet, there are many instances of collaboration, especially in theatre, cinema, music and dance.  Created alone or created communally, art can be great or mediocre or anything in-between.  What’s there is there.  We hope that the best can be visible.  You shouldn’t need to have a crystal ball to find good art.

one thinks, one chortles (pen and ink)

one thinks, one chortles (pen and ink)

Of course, the computer screen is one of the wildest crystal balls of all.  The Internet is home to much, yes great and mediocre or anything in-between.

I’ve heard it compared to the “wild west.”  There’s a lot there to be sure.

In searching for art and in going through the “mass media” one needs to develop a sort of critical sense.  You need to be able to discern what’s real and true and what’s not.  There are plenty of mistake and inaccuracies.  When in doubt, check other sources.  This is true, in general, but is especially true on the net.

Then too, there’s always the search for quality, trying to find something amazing.  It’s like panning for gold, this sifting.  We go through something similar scanning the news  and trying to make sense of the world. 

Likewise, search for cultural nourishment continues.  Sometimes it’s more like cultural “kicks” or junk food.  To me, a few “time killers” go a long way.  Waste time before time wastes us??

Searching for information and culture can go into unexpected directions on the net.  I’m always amazed that I can type the most obscure names into a search and a lot of  sites and articles will appear

Surfing the net reminds me of how my mind works in finding poetic analogies and juxtapositions.  One thing leads to another.  Words are not always what they seem to be.

If it is a crystal ball, it’s a very interactive one.  Websites, email and  blogs all reach out to other people in ways.  Sometimes it’s connected to money (or other “concrete gains”).  Sometimes it’s not.  It connects us but it can also isolate us and make us seem even more cut off.  Is this real?

Will 3D spectres float out of the screen and plop onto the table or evaporate before our eyes.  Will we be able to stick our hands into the screen?  (Only in art, I suppose).  The future’s been here but it’s still the past too.

Eventually, I’ll write more about my response to and interactions with the computer.  Yet this is a start, “take one.”

March 19, 2009


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: