Neon Codex

Where digital meets classical.

Filtering by Tag: art

Another Green World: Some Reflections on Art and Optimism at the DMA

The Dallas Museum of Art possesses a sense of grandeur; the sleek modern architecture made up of monolithic concrete slabs, the tall open hallways and atrium, the long sprawling mural along the first floor wall, and the ornate gilt frames on the Monets, the Cézannes, the Renoirs.

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A Sketch of a Young Man in a Single Unbroken Block

Shiloh Promme would lay on his bed at night and stare at the ceiling, the light from the cracked bathroom door shining dimly across the impressions on the textured plaster. It looked almost like a lunar landscape in that light. At seventeen years old he was still scared of the dark.

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Why None of Us Want to Be Alone

I feel bad, simple as that. The who or the how of it ceases to be important on a long enough timeline, these things happen to us all many, many times over the courses of our lives, and begin to bleed together without identity. A minor heartache at best—let's call it a disappointment. The feeling almost becomes like a shapeless, faceless abstract; like a force of nature that exerts itself upon your life every so often when conditions are right. Rains that pelt the rooftops, winds that rattle the shutters and windows, but you make it through. These black-and-white phases of life that tilt and skip off of the film track from some caricatured notion of 1920's German expressionism; the cold, grey planes of Fritz Lang, the dark, delirious ruminations of Murnau—a loneliness so complete it's almost romantic, a misery so perfect it's almost artful. The depths of it can become sort of ridiculous. This is not quite that, if anything this is that in micro, a small pang of heartache, of longing. 

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The Temptation of Saint Anthony

His story becomes a living human parable, populated by impossible creatures and events, such as the ones I've described, illustrating a grander psychological reality. And the idea passes down through history, transforming naturally with the passage of each era and in the translation through each unique artistic voice. The Temptation of Saint Anthony has been immortalized for the past six-hundred years by master painters from every generation, stretching all the way from Bosch to his twentieth century descendants in Dalí, Carrington, and Ernst. Even the Renaissance Master Michelangelo's first painting, when he was just 13 years of age, was a rendition of Schongauer's copper engraving of Saint Anthony.  And it's influence of course hasn't been isolated to the world of painting, Gustave Flaubert alone spent the years of his life from the ages of 24 to 53, just 4 years short of his death, drafting and redrafting his novel based on the story. He considered The Temptation of Saint Antony his greatest achievement and, quite literally, his life's work. 

And it's in these transformations and mutations down through time that I think the real magic lies; the true fulfillment of Saint Anthony's lifelong journey, his walk across the delerious desert landscape which stretches now endlessly, along with his ultimate triumph, through the infinitude of human expression.

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System-Shock/Fragmentation

The broken people, the fragmented people. Subjected through information and technology to thousands of contradicting ideas and narratives, no main thread of consensus, no guiding principle or system of values. So many options and yet so few, left crippled in indecision by information and stimulation overload. Hung out on a limb by previous generations whose incentives were things; economic stability, financial comfort, jobs, college. Things which are in shorter and shorter supply, and are of less apparent intrinsic value. Everything is chaos now, fact is fiction, fiction is fact, the overwhelming urge is toward peace and understanding but what's manifesting in the world is destruction and ignorance. More and more people are suffering from depression, anxiety, and mental illness, as they struggle to articulate themselves socially, intellectually, and emotionally in an increasingly confusing and disorientating environment. I've decided I'll try and do something to address this. This terminally paralyzed and frantic generation, of which I am very much apart. The aspiring artists and entrepreneurs who've spent the first quarters and thirds of their lives reading book after book about their craft and trade, trying to learn how to live through the buffers of instruction manuals, without having taken a single step. The children of online self-help and routine inspirationEcho and Narcissus made one.

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Choose Life: T2 and Coming Full-Circle

I first saw Trainspotting when I was 16 years old, which in retrospect was the perfect time. Though I was never a drug addict of any kind, the film perfectly illustrated the process of growing up, in relation to your friends and your culture. I naturally gravitated towards Renton as a character in those days, his thoughts were my thoughts, on growing up, on going into the machine of culture and becoming a product of it. What if I didn't wanna do that? What if I thought my culture was bullshit? What if I thought it was unfair I was inheriting the mortal debt of generations of ecological and economic psychotic self-destruction? 

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What is Life?

So, what is all of this? What is it that we're doing here? That's really the question, that's what you're here and I'm here to find out, to talk about. I've been rolling the question of life around in my head a lot lately, one might even say that my life has been geared towards it all along.

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Ah-pop-alypse Now!

It was on the day when reality became the parody. When the Doomsday Clock inched closer to midnight, like in the post-modern, pop-art frames of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's Watchmen, and in a Dickian twist society's values became so defined by entertainment, that the political process finally completed it's inevitable hybridization with reality-TV and the American people elected celebrity, and former reality game-show host, Roald Crump president. Like some sort of loud, horrible orange mutant Reagan, the veneer of civility peeled away and his thoughts on the lower-rungs of society and minority groups made clear.

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The Alchemy of the Word

In A Season in Hell, Rimbaud describes a phenomena which he refers to as "The Alchemy of the Word". He describes his poetic flights and whimsies giving rise to vivid hallucinations which describe entire free-standing worlds of images and ideas. The idea being that language can actually alter or affect reality, or one's perception of it--which really when it comes down to it, is all that there is. Words serving as the program-script to the operating-system (to borrow Grant Morrison's language) that is the physical universe. With them you can communicate the entire spectrum of human emotion and experience, build entirely new worlds, create people. And the delivery system itself, language, the word, shoots like quicksilver across the page, going through ranges of elegant transmutations from feeling to feeling, idea to idea. 

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The House of the Spirits

 As we turned the corner down the alley, adjoining 1st and Adams, we seemed to slip between the cracks of the sleek, shiny business district into a whole different world. One that was seeping up from the pavement and spilling over, from where people had tried to bury it. There were elaborate murals sprayed all over the alley walls; huge, looming, colorful pieces depicting a transforming tapestry of heritage and culture. The alley was rife with symbols and expression. And it didn't stop on the alley walls, it bled down across the power boxes, decommissioned ice coolers, and dumpsters. It was like a shamanic vision quest of the Amazon jungles or the Navajo desert, twisted up into modernity, pop-culture, National character, and made manifest onto gritty, urban environs in brilliant technicolor. 

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Psychic Currency

Hey, you. That's right, you, there in front of your computer screen or smart-device. You could be anyone, anywhere in the world. In fact you are everyone. I'm speaking right now to a universal audience; a sexless, faceless, person of no particular nation, creed, or set of generalized principles. It must be pretty exciting to be you right about now...

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A Glass Asylum

...So I was driving down the street on my way to work on the morning of January 1st, 2017 and I got the impression that the entire world was hungover, if not still intoxicated or totally unconscious. Any hangover I might've had was actually pretty slight, I'd only had a few beers, an absinthe martini at Sidebar, and what I think was a glass of complimentary champagne at Hanny's at midnight (though things get a bit fuzzy around that point). And somehow I'd managed to get home early enough to get a full night's sleep before I had to wake up at 9:30 and go in for a late opening on New Year's Day.

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