Cheap philosophy

Today is one of those days in which one questions itself about the meaning of things (of Monty Pythons memory).

One of these things is about the feeling of disease that started mounting in me at the same speed new blogs about photography entered my aggregator (circa 2/3 blogs per day starting from September).

So, thanks to a strong dark mood I started trying to make a reason about it. As always I ended up with several ones (why in the hell I cannot find a good singular solid answer to any question is an other question).

First Having studied Philosophy for almost 30 years I can't stand the way in which it is used speaking about photography.

Mostly all the use that I am seeing is a literal or common sense based interpretations, if not superficial use of citations in a wrong context. Some of them are so blatantly banal to make me sick. Maybe it is only me but to seriously study a philosopher it takes a time as much longer as his own life and even a bit more. Fortunately if you have studied seriously a philosopher's work you can find the thing even hilarious.

It is the case of the use of Wittgenstein's "Tractatus", one of the most sacked it seems. Here the amusement comes from the self deleting ending of the sequence of aphorisms and the subsequent studies Wittgenstein made that literally negated some of its conclusions.
I am sure, in this case, that the "citers" never reached the end of the "Tractatus":
7) What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence

Second The stubbornness in persevering in the well known ignorance of the photographer. Once justified by the quite complex process now times is less and less acceptable. It is the case of using aesthetic judgement purely based on the idea of art as a way to express feelings from the beginning of the last century. I understand here that the large diffusion of Susanne K Langer in USA (and worldwide) schools may have left some digestion problems. Even worser is the re edition of trivialities as the one relating the pure vision of childhood and innocence as aesthetics, the funny thing is that in Naples the child are also called, with good reasons, "impuniti" (unpunished). In Italy we had "Giovannino Pascoli" (1855/1912) as a proposer of the concept, eventually it came out that he had a rather twisting childhood (in the face of the proclaimed innocence).

Those aesthetic concepts were made by people who had absolutely no idea of what art was to became and what is the function of art in a mass communication based society. They are, if used literally or as a norm, of no use. Projecting Art as a mere device to express emotions sterilizes the function that Art had, and has, as a vehicle of innovation in thinking (something we badly need) and negates the possibility to communicate between humans with means other than words. The result is an endless sequence of flowers, gooses, short sighted views and other honanistic practices presented as Art (capital A), followed by bloggers asking themselves if they are producing Art or not.

No surprise if landscape photography shifted from the photographers domain to that of architecture and geography. If photography wants a place as an active form of culture it has to cooperate on the same level of competence as any other knowledge domain has. Otherwise it will be convicted to be an exotic kind of packaging of nice "feelings".

The easy sacking of history of art (better if older that 200 years). This certainly has something to do with the remake mania that pervades most of Hollywood movie makers (as if there was nothing new that could be said). So we are seeing any kind of remake of some kind of painting school.

Well there are some news here. The originals were quite better. First because they had meaning or better an extension while the remake has as only referral the original itself. Second because they had a function that was to inform or to exercise some technique. At the end what comes out is an exercise in nihilism claiming its status of Art by mere terms of being a copy of an object to which someone, in a different time and context, attributed and aesthetic value (in some cases not event that). Picturing a bunch of red tomatoes on a white table not necessarily makes a piece of Art even if the light comes from the northern sky.

The reader of this blog knows that I am a supporter of the use of the knowledge historically accumulated about painting and every other visual art as a starting point or as a toolbox for image making. But I never suggested to use the paintings as cheap models to copy unless for educational and study purposes so I do not feel guilty at all.

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