Selected paragraphs for Drawing Languages for Dissent
Monday, 4.5.2020, 10:30 – 12:30
THIS MONTH’S TEXT:
Ed Krčma, ‘Cinematic Drawing in a Digital Age’, in Tate Papers, no.14, Autumn 2010, accessed 13 April 2020.
(All paragraphs below were selected from Yonat Nitzan-Green’s summary of Krčma, 2010).
Krčma seeks to conceptualize drawing in its relationship to other media instead of a conception that considers drawing in its uniqueness. Drawing as a relational practice. Specifically, its relationship with cinema. He responds to Henri Michaux’s term “cinematic drawing”. A second point of reference in this article is the digital-analogue technologies and the place of the body as an intervention. Krčma writes:
‘… to explore the way in which this binary might also be used to specify a conception of thinking as backgrounded by the body’s liveliness and interference’ (p. 1).
He intends to consider drawing as an embodied knowledge in a phenomenological way, focusing on Tacita Dean’s Blackboard drawings (1990s) and William Kentridge’s Drawings for Projection (1998, 2003). Both artists dramatize the drawing-film relationships; use dysfunctional, obsolete objects; and talk about the connection between thought and drawing.
Rosalind Krauss and George Baker, ‘On Obselescence’, October 100, Spring 2002. Pp. 16-18 and 26-27. Obsolescence – ‘the process of becoming no longer useful or needed’ (Cambridge Dictionary).
While digital form is given to reduction of two digits, 0/1, the analogue form is not given to numerical reduction. In addition, the digital object is fully computable, programmable, as opposed to the analogue technology where there is a transduction of one type of energy to another.
Fredrich Kittler writes: ‘The general digitalization of channels and information erases the differences among individual media. Sound and image, voice and text are reduced to surface effects, known to consumers as interface.’ (p. 2).
Kittler claims that digital technology rather than connect people and technology, produces an absolute knowledge as an absolute loop. Knowledge that comes from the world of sense becomes unified, lacks differences when translated to digital technology. It disseminates through a pre-determined grid.
Brian Massumi writes about sense and thinking.
The physical effects that accompany thinking are at the background not as secondary to the subject at the foreground; rather, as a fertile ground for conscious thought. They form a ‘felt environment’ (p. 14).
Regarding the contrast of digital-analogue, Massumi believes that while processing is digital the artist creative process is analogue. Digital is based on quantity. On the other hand, thought is qualitative therefore is not given to reduction. In order to create meaning the digital must work with the analogue. Body translates signal to a qualitative form. Massumi defines the analogue as an impulse that can cross from one qualitative medium to another, such as from electricity to music, from heat to pain, from light to vision, from the visible to imagination. He is talking about ‘continuity of transformation’ (p. 14).
He uses the term ‘embodied mind’. A thought process that involves the body shifts the emphasis from the process of thinking during making artwork to the way in which the object appears de-functional in the artwork. There is an experience of livelihood in the meeting between art and body, as opposed to thinking about art as part of a technology. Drawing as a category is renewed in a transformative process with other mediums.
Artist Tacita Dean makes films and drawings.
She protests this erasure of analogue media. For her the digital image is too far from drawing. Drawing is the foundation, the ground for both photography and cinema. She talks about the trace of light in emulsion, the meeting between chemistry and chance.
Tacita Dean, The Roaring Forties, 1997. Seven Boards in Seven Days.
Blackboard with white chalk drawing. Dean writes film instructions on the board alongside drawing. She uses cinematic terms, the story spreads over seven boards. Erasure enhances the performative element in the drawing. It shows the physical labour and time invested in this work. The images are unstable as they are made of chalk. The written instructions address the camera man or woman. There is a use of contrasts of dry-wet and movement. For Dean the sea movement reflects in the drawing and the artist’s movements as she draws.
Kentridge invented a language that combines drawing and cinema as a political, sociological and psychological comments in the context of South Africa after Apartheid. Kentridge made a series of drawings entitled: Drawings for Projections.
In the making of animation the film is pre-planned. Kentridge, on the other hand, develops a different way of working. He describes it as ‘contingent and transformative agency that guides him from one sequence to the next, enabling the development of visual ideas that were not (and perhaps could not have been) planned in advance; it is “something other than cold statistical chance, and something too outside the range of rational control” (p. 10).
Relating to Kentridge’s drawing entitled: Mine (1991) the artist tells about a problem. ‘It was only in this act of drawing that he realised the correspondence between the cafetière’s plunger and the vertical drop of the mine shaft: “The sensation was more of discovery than invention. There was no feeling of what a good idea I had had, rather, relief at not having overlooked what was in front of me.”’ (p. 10).
Cy Twembly and Joseph Beuys both drew on blackboards.
Beuys’ drawings are performative and pedagogical. Beuys writes:
‘Drawing is … the first visible thing of the form of the thought, the changing point from the invisible powers to the visible thing … It’s really a special kind of thought, brought down onto a surface, be it flat or be it rounded, be it a solid support like a blackboard or be it a flexible thing like paper or leather or parchment, or whatever kind of surface … It is not only a description of the thought … You have also incorporated the senses … the sense of balance, the sense of vision, the sense of audition, the sense of touch.’ (p. 14).