"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Saturday, February 10, 2007

chance imagery

i read part of George Brecht's "Chance Imagery" [.pdf] today. i found the part about "randomness" particularly interesting. allow me to indulge:

"chance images are characterized by a lack of conscious design. [...] in general, the reason for the importance of randomness for purposes of scientific inference will be the same as the reason for its importance in the arts, that is, the elimination of bias." [Brecht, p.17, emphasis added]

this got me thinking about the relationship of randomness and sense, and how meaning is derived mostly from the proximity of certain images and sounds, the creation of contexts.

this is why experimental film can sometimes frustrate me, b/c it seeks to explode these meaning webs, drawing attn to the mind's assumptions by playing with them, with arbitrary constructs.

if art as i understand and conceive of it is unique in that it presents the artist's meaning, that there is a message hidden within for the viewer/audience, then the frustration i have with chance-imagery IS the very fact that it removes bias.

bias is what i go to art for. if i wanted to go to something cold and free from personal perspective, i'd go to science.

but anyway, the thot i had that would change my understanding of chance-imagery would be something along the lines of the jots pictured on my hand:
if i were to film an ordinary day in the ordinary life of an ordinary person, nothing spectacular, nothing worth judging, just something simple that ppl would watch and think, 'oh, how ordinary...' that is, if i could capture on film something that would not elicit strong bias or intimations of bias, just an omniscient passive observer lens recording an average daily occurence, then i could invert its meaning (or lack of meaning) with a parallel chance-imagery version of the same day.

that is, it would be two complementary film records of an ordinary day:
1. the linear (real) version, which would be conventional, and free of bias. &
2. the nonlinear/ subconscious (surreal), which would use chance-imagery. in this film, i would record footage of all the random things i find along the day while filming/ things my subject might come across randomly on an average day: magazine ads strewn on the street, a lost scarf strewn on the grass in the lawn outside, the used condom found in the parking lot, the sign blinking "cookie ugh" instead of "cookie dough" and etc. these chance images would provide meaning, rather than erase them, and would instead construct a narrative that perhaps wasn't even there to begin with.

what kinds of thots come to one's mind as one finds trash and treasures on city streets while walking about in an ordinary day?

that would be the subject and crux of such a film exploration.


R.A.Y "Raedien" Devine said...

I'm such a terrible bl0gger...
Just saw the closing of bl0gbeufi and revisited this site.

I miss you! lol

Oh, have you heard?
I'm going to be a CLA next semester!


stephan!e lee said...

fuck yea, ray! that's so awesome! that means i'll see you much more, since i'm stickin with the western campus.

w00t. ;-)

The ZenFo Pro said...

Okay, see this is why I should've called you Thursday for a night of pointless binge drinking and conversations about something along similar lines at Hole in the Wall...

A couple of friends and I were discussing the concept of the need for "built-in bias" of some kind in poetry, a sort-of creator antagonist. People read poetry for power and passion just as much as for style (or lack thereof) and form.

Oh well...we still need to find time to go out sometime. (Lol, our once-a-year OxBlogger Conference.)

Awesome post. Took me three readings to take it all in.

stephan!e lee said...

i like this idea of the oxblogger conference. wld there be any others in attendance? not likely...

glad u enjoyed the post. i've been prouder of my riting lately i think.

p.s. hey - do u have any angry music? any pounding energy sound waves u cld send my way? i need it later this week... ;-)

R.A.Y "Raedien" Devine said...

HA! You said w007!

Also, I realizd my lack of response to your great post.

I agree with what you are saying (mostly) and I love your film concept (although finding some funding might be hard, then again, you're in college).

However, even withiin a work based on a lack of bias, for example "chance imagery," I don't think the actual point is to create a lack of bias, but to point out the creation of bias (which is not inherently a negative term IMO, at least in the context I'm considering).

What I mean is that the point of such a work, like your film concept, is to consider and view exactly those thoughts that arise from the viewing by anyone. To see the bias a supposedly "non-bias" piece creates.

For example, one time discussing poetry with Travis Kopp in Tappan, he made a comment concerning my reaction to a poem's turn of phrase. He questioned my personal laughter "at" the poem. It was fairly serious piece and I was laughing at my own understanding (or take really) on the poem and how I perceived the writer's intention and thought process in the selection of words. Thus, the contrast between how I considered the pieces effect, what I would have done instead (or much like), etc. It's a very meta-level (although I don't consider that neccesarily a good thing) type thinking that I find enjoyable.

Anyway, it's way too late and I'm writing this instead of doing homework...oie.

Oh, BTW, I've noticed some interesting style choices in your writing, I assume this is intentional?

stephan!e lee said...

i think ur misinterpretation of what i was saying actually clarified what it was i was saying.

that is, u found in my ramblings the meaning for urself, which happened to be the meaning i embedded for u to see.

aaaah... theory meets practice! ;-)

so, what u said about finding meaning/ bias in an intentional lack of meaning/ bias is spot on.

and besides, is it really possible to remove meaning/ bias? no art is created in a vacuum. and art is meant for humans to ponder, and as we know, humans will always connect in ways that surprise us.

i'm curious to know what stylistic choices u're noticing. since they are intrinsic to me, i can't identify them so i need a third party opinion.

do tell. i'm rather curious to see who the perceived influences are.


remaerdyaD the blogger said...

This reminds me of ancient work I did in programming using random number generation: conclusion = there is no such thing as a truly random number in math, only TENDANCIES towards 'randomness'. Odd but effective way of testing a system though. And this is a technology in parallel with password generation, and to a point encryption (though maybe more on the pragmatic and algorithmic than theoretical level).

But another thought that came to mind more by way of curiousity than critique: what do you think about the whole subject of these funny things called, reality shows?


stephan!e lee said...

ah reality shows...

tho they are incredibly guilty pleasure of mine, i don't believe they exist as "reality" (that is, no more "real" than "created")

and i don't really watch tv any more because of the proliferation of this fake reality we think we can watch rather than live.

hence, the picture on the blog: "stop watching, start living."


remaerdyad the blogger said...

Neat. It reminded me when I first saw it here of my favourite stencil graff artist, an adbuster in Dublin.

Maybe I should finally try on a reality show. Could you recommend one for me to study an episode of SVP?