Monthly Archives: November 2007

Introducing Congersman Putto, and all what he implies

Congersman Putto
This gruesome little creature was the first of series done by our dear friend Karen Truesdell, at the time of the Clinton Impeachment Hearings, as anodyne for the anger she felt at Congressional pettifoggery and hypocrisy. He’s magnificent in every part and detail, and an eloquent expression of what ‘artistic vision’ is all about. You can see a larger clutch of Karen’s work, and I have other as-yet-unscanned negatives from 35+ years ago, which I’ll get to digitizing Real Soon Now.

A series of encounters and juxtapositions seems to be projecting me in an unanticipated direction, and bids fair to eat up lots of time in the next while. Probably the first impetus was Philip Scott Johnson’s Women in Art

which I first saw about 6 months ago (see boni’s decoding of dramatis personae) –and Women in Film, from July:

and another vector was seeing a video that one of my sisters in law was working on, using iMovie to create a presentation of videos and stills from a visit to Barcelona. And the visit to Karen’s house and studio also contributed to the stew of graphical ideas.

In the last week I’ve had several bouts of “what if…” mostly having to do with rethinking my Nova Scotia Faces project. The pbwiki version doesn’t please me (many of the images don’t load, and it’s altogether too Web 1.0 in its approach), and I’m seeking a more dynamic presentation mode. A couple of days ago I woke up thinking about a morphing approach, creating short video segments which could be distributed to vast potential audiences via YouTube. It seems that Philip Scott Johnson uses FantaMorph, which offers a generous 30 day trial with all the features, and is less than $100 for the SuperDuper version… so I’m playing with it, and with Adobe Premiere Elements, and thinking of many possible applications and projects.

See, this feels sort of like 20-some years ago when the Penny Dropped about hypertext, and I saw the dawning of a new personal future… Multimedia presentation and distribution at my fingertips, and an endless series of little briquets of narrative.

A specific project (getting back to the Congersman): Karen’s remarkable sculptures really should be better known, and it would be fun to work on that project with her (though she’s in California and I’m in Maine… still, it’s basically digital stuff). I’m imagining her voiceover with a swooping sequence of visual details of a lot of different pieces (gotta avoid the Ken Burns clichées, though…). Another: chronological sequences of pictures of people… and presentations of any number of subsets of my Nova Scotia Faces holdings. And so on.

links for 2007-11-21

Franzen rules, OK!

On son John’s recent recommendation, Betsy bought and read Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections. Once she surfaced, she insisted that I’d love it. I do. It’s interesting for the qualities (flavor, savor, fibre) of its writing and for its relentless and multifarious takes on Family, and it sheds polychrome lights on various recent passages with members of my own extended Family. Rueful chuckles and sympathetic snortings are sure to be evinced from most readers, and some will experience the Scream of Recognition here and there… A couple of passages:

(of the Pater Familias, who is losing it)
…the panic of a man betrayed deep in the woods whose darkness was the darkness of starlings blotting out the sunset or black ants storming a dead opossum, a darkness that didn’t just exist but actively consumed the bearings that he’d sensibly established for himself, lest he be lost; but in the instant of realizing that he was lost, time became marvelously slow and he discovered hitherto unguessed eternities in the space between one word and the next, or rather he became trapped in that space between words and could only stand and watch as time sped by without him… (pg. 11)

(and Frantzen does Lists like nobody else)
…Gary took a morning to inspect the whole property slowly, inside and out. He found cracks in the grouting, rust lines in the bathroom sinks, and a softness in the master bedroom ceiling. He noticed rain stains on the inner wall of the back porch, a beard of dried suds on the chin of the old dishwasher, an alarming thump in the forced-air blower, pustules and ridges in the driveway’s asphalt, termites in the woodpile, a Damoclean oak limb dangling above a dormer, finger-wide cracks in the foundation, retaining walls that listed, whitecaps of peeling paint on window jambs, big emboldened spiders in the basement, fields of dried sowbugs and cricket husks, unfamiliar fungal and enteric smells, everywhere he looked the sag of entropy… (pg. 172)