Thursday, September 29, 2011

SYTYCD Bleeding Love Performance

I'm not the biggest fan of watching dancing competitions on TV, but when I saw this performance, I was literally dumbstruck. Whenever I watch this, I forget that I'm viewing a choreographed dance performance because their emotions and their synchrony matched up perfectly with the song. To me, it seems like their not acting, but their truly feeling this strong passion and attachment for each other. For all these reasons, I think this dance performance is beautiful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Peo0RAxYBzQ

Marc Jacobs Dress

I think Victoria Beckham's dress by Marc Jacobs is beautiful. I've avoided posting this dress on the blog because a dress is probably the most literal thing I could find beautiful and I wanted to explore deeper meanings of beauty. However, every time I come to post something on this blog, I think about comfort, style, and elegance, and I can't deny that this dress embodies all of these things.

Mystery Spot

This is an image of the "Mystery Spot", a popular tourist destination near Santa Cruz, California.

It's essentially a bunch of structures that are built on an incredibly steep incline which allows for the illusion that gravity is somehow distorted at the location. There are gift shops were books are sold testifying to the scientific nature of the "gravitational anomaly" and generally it's a lot of fun because the illusion is very convincing.

The reason why I think that it's beautiful is because the mystery the tourist trap tries to sell is why the gravity is "different" there, when really the real mystery is whether or not there's any mystery at all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011



Although I cannot say that I get that sort of Grand Canyon "O" from this (as an aside, to paraphrase the poet Robert Hass: "Oh" is what you say when you find out something bad happened and "O" is what you say when you are in the presence of something awe-inspiring, and the latter sounds more like an "uh" than an "oh"), I find myself thinking about this American Apparel spoof often. This woman is secure enough in her body and sexuality to get disrobed just like those "amateur" American Apparel models do. She is being both funny, critical, and sexy all at once, and I find that ridiculously beautiful.

Coincidential and Calculated Art

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yVhTyPaaLQ

I found that Amy Schakleton's artwork complements our class discussion on beautiful artwork and how the individual need not have an exact concept in mind to create a stunning work of art. With Schakleton paints without a paintbrush and uses a "calculated yet spontaneous technique," to drip paint down her canvases. Her artwork reminds me of the tall painting posted earlier on the blog, and how both works of art rely on skill, gravity, and coincidence, which I find particularly admirable and daring. I think her artwork is a testimony to how the form of the artwork is not constrained to arbitrary rules, but acts as if it were a result of nature.

The Strongest Man in England

Colonel Frederick Gustavus Barnaby - James Tissot

This is Tissot's painting of Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, "the strongest man in England" and, by all accounts, a generally sporting guy. A few anecdotal remarks will serve: he once carried two ponies into Windsor castle, one under each arm, as a prank; at parties, he used to vault billiard tables and tie fire-pokers into knots with his bare hands; he made a 1,000 mile journey alone into Russia on horseback. You get the picture, I'm sure. Does all this, fascinating as it may be, have anything to do with the success of Tissot's painting? Is the painting beautiful, or have I been charmed? More broadly, to what extent should this kind of information factor in to an evaluation of Beauty?

Los Alamos



This photo is in William Eggleston’s collection Los Alamos. In many of his photos, the faces of the subjects are hidden or cut off. The interesting thing is that the hairstyle, the pearls, and the cigarettes are used to show the character of the faceless subject. The head, which is blocking another head, stands out against the red brick wall in the background.

Wire


This is a sculpture made out of wire. What I like about it is the fact that it actually looks like a drawing and plays with the whole concept of dimensions. In the age of 3d it seems to question the value of it.

Scrappy


This is a picture of my dog, Scrappy. Chances are most of you won't think he's beautiful. The best I could probably hope for is "cute." Nonetheless, I think he's beautiful. This picture obviously only captures his physical appearance but his personality is awesome (he tells jokes-- trust me) and his spirit keeps me going when I feel like crashing.

The Piano

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pO1Vyb8ANvA

I won't go into great detail about the plot of The Piano, but I find this scene in particular very charming. After the main character is sold into a marriage, she is shipped with her daughter and all of their belongings to the coast of New Zealand where she is to meet her husband, a frontiersman. The one possession that can't (in the beginning, at least) be taken is her piano, as it's too heavy for his crew to carry inland to where they've settled. To me, what is beautiful about this moment is the urgent desire to be reunited with an object that allows her to be able to produce her art. She spends hours at a time playing and eventually goes to extreme measures to win her piano back. I can't help but admire the fact that this scene contests the notion that art is a complete waste of time. No one needs to paint a painting, take a photograph, or play the piano, but there is still something necessary about the production of art to the subsistence of the artist.

Fireside


Sitting around a fire is something people have been doing for almost as long as there have been people. I find this impressive, though it may not necessarily add to the beauty of a fire, which I will elaborate here. I find that I am enchanted by the way the flames change color and shape, how they seem to dance and then send up sparks like hundreds of fireflies, and then disappear. I love the sound a fire makes when it crackles, and I adore the smell of wood smoke (most wood smoke). It's not just the fire itself that is beautiful, but the moments that happen around the fire, be it in a fireplace, or a pit outside. When you sit around it with your friends and you're so close you feel as though your eyelashes must have singed off by now, and then you lean back or look up and it feels as though you're now facing an Arctic breeze (and you realize that your eyelashes are indeed still there). There is just so much fun that accompanies sitting socially around a fire: singing, laughing, and even s'mores! And who can object to the idea of sitting around a fireplace, huddled up in an especially warm blanket, reading a good book and sipping hot cocoa? I am attaching a picture of a small fire to enhance my post, but I would like to point out once more that it is more than just the look of the fire (especially in one single moment) that I find beautiful.

Cinemagraph

http://cinemagraphs.com/nyc/

Cinemagraphy is a new type of photography that allows one aspect of a photo to move as if it were in real time. I particularly found the NYC portion of the site beautiful because the simple shots are injected with life and energy. Some of the cinemagraphs in the Fashion Editorial section have an eerie quality, and, whether beautiful or not, definitely provoke a reaction.

At the Deux Magots

No one cares what the song
is they spear filets
of tiny fish from their bowls
and laugh at the ceiling
how lonely this is, the night
has already fallen on the hills
and the vineyards where
the night is bottled but
the light won't go out
the family of man gathers
at the river to drink in
the dusk and accordions
kicking up the dust, the girls
pop champagne into the trees
and the heaviness parts
the waves--oh this is why
the Romans gave up
and died--the lamp
of hope burns even
though I cannot move
my arms and legs, the sun
is gone but not the day





This is a part of the poem "At the Deux Magots" by Matthew Rohrer. I could attempt to dissect what the poem is doing and how that contributes to my experience of beauty (perhaps the use of vivid imagery followed by logical yet jarring jumps to general statements about human feeling or condition), but I find the space of understanding just before reaching definable ideas much more beautiful. If I could replicate or express well the experience that the poem produces, I would be accomplishing what the poem does and so the poem couldn't be very successful.

This poem, and others by Rohrer, feel like Kant's notion of genius and ease in production. There are concepts and structure and techniques, but the reader feels as if the poem came effortlessly and none of the mechanics of production are at the forefront, and also as if the poet himself doesn't really know how he did what he did. Each time I read this poem I experience the same thing, something almost palpable, a physical space I occupy dependent on the poem and yet separate--testament to the beauty and enduring power of the lines.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Baroque Rock

This is Giovanni Kapsberger's Ciaconna, a five minute development of a particular theme in a round. Only, in a fashion quite dissimilar to 'Row Your Boat,' it rocks hardcore (in a Baroque sense). There are certain pieces of music that I cannot help feeling better about life while hearing. This is one of the more accessible ones, as my absolute favorite, 'Nella Casa dei Venti,' uses Sicilian Bagpipes and the Friscalettu, which seem to be hit-or-miss among my friends. This ciaconna uses flute, drums, and, in this arrangement, a series of guitars, because Rolf Lislevand is a guitar genius. I have also heard it with mandolin, which tends to emphasize the spidery filaments caused by the interplay of instruments as the round builds in a fashion not unlike its use in older Cuban music. The guitar is a little more robust, though, which I certainly appreciate.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sabbath lie

Sabbath Lie

By Yehuda Amichai

Translated By Glenda Abramson and Tudor Parfitt

On Friday, at twilight of a summer day
While the smells of food and prayer rose from every house
And the sound of the Sabbath angels’ wings was in the air,
While still a child I started to lie to my father:
“I went to another synagogue.”

I don’t know if he believed me or not
But the taste of the lie was good and sweet on my tongue
And in all the houses that night
Hymns rose up along with lies
To celebrate the Sabbath.
And in all the houses that night
Sabbath angels died like flies in a lamp,
And lovers put mouth to mouth,
Blew each other up until they floated upward,
Or burst.

And since then the lie has been good and sweet on my tongue
And since then I always go to another synagogue.
And my father returned the lie when he died:
“I’ve gone to another life.”
____________________________________
It is not often that I find older poets who speak against religion, especially in such a beautiful way. The last five lines of the middle stanza do not need to be analyzed to be breathtaking, which is what I often find I like about poems. This poem holds up whether I read it for imagery and the play of words or if I read it for deeper meaning. That is why I find it beautiful.

Artist: Alexa Meade

I stumbled upon this artist a couple days ago and I completely admired her work. Usually artists paint their viewpoints or "imitations" of objects onto a canvas. However, Alexa Meade paints directly onto her subject. Her process of accentuating what's already naturally beautiful of that person is something i've never seen before. What's also cool is that her pictures look like 2D paintings, when in reality everything is 3D. Her work makes you think that it's a painting, but in reality it's a photograph of a 3D scene where people or food are her canvas.


This blog has tons of pictures of her artwork (check out specifically the third and second to last pictures if you want to be mind blown :D) http://slices-of-life.com/2011/09/09/alexa-meade-live-acrylic-paintings/


Burial of Atala


I think the colors and the lighting make this painting beautiful, but so does the story, which is ongoing. It is a still moment before a final end that will never actually happen in the image.

Inka Essenhigh

Inka Essenhigh's artwork is known for its peculiar and flat-looking cartoon forms. She usually paints with simplistic color schemes and relies on a few shades to create her work. This painting, titled "In Bed," seems to rely on the fluidity of movement to depict the sense of an obscure, dream-like state. Upon encountering this painting, I found it beautiful.

Loyola Shuttle

Today, I don't have a picture, quote, or video to post. Rather I'd like to share a moment that I found refreshing today. I was taking the Loyola Shuttle downtown and the bus was packed. As always, most students had headphones in and were listening to their iPods. As packed as it was, no one was really engaging in conversation. We had been on the bus for about fifteen minutes when I heard a familiar sound: an iPhone ringtone. I figured someone was getting a call and didn't pay too much attention. Then I heard a different ring tone. And then another one. And another one. I realized that someone on the shuttle was testing out every ringtone on their cell phone but they didn't think anyone could hear; he was wearing headphones but they weren't plugged in all the way. Most of the other passengers probably had no clue since it wasn't very loud and they had headphones in themselves but it was just a quirky moment that brightened my day.

Midnight and Moonlight and Bright Shining Stars

I have loved Emily Bronte's works for a very long time, and I find her poems to be as stunning as her novel, and the one below I find to be beautiful. Yes, it's about the natural world, which I am obviously very fond of, but it is not just the subject that attracts me, it is the structure of the poem itself, the combination of the imagery and all the poetic devices render this poem a thing of beauty for me. The poem is about a thunderstorm crashing through a wild landscape, and gait of the poem really mirrors that of the storm. Now, I am no fan of wild and crazy weather, but the way Bronte describes this particular storm makes wish I could be in the middle of it to experience it all, for she makes it seem truly beautiful.

High waving heather, 'neath stormy blasts bending,
Midnight and moonlight and bright shining stars;
Darkness and glory rejoicingly blending,
Earth rising to heaven and heaven descending,
Man's spirit away from its drear dongeon sending,
Bursting the fetters and breaking the bars.

All down the mountain sides, wild forest lending
One mighty voice to the life-giving wind;
Rivers their banks in the jubilee rending,
Fast through the valleys a reckless course wending,
Wider and deeper their waters extending,
Leaving a desolate desert behind.

Shining and lowering and swelling and dying,
Changing for ever from midnight to noon;
Roaring like thunder, like soft music sighing,
Shadows on shadows advancing and flying,
Lightning-bright flashes the deep gloom defying,
Coming as swiftly and fading as soon.

Richard II

"As in a theatre the eyes of men,
After a well-graced actor leaves the stage,
Are idly bent on him that enters next,
Thinking his prattle to be tedious,
Even so, or with much more contempt, men's eyes
Did scowl on gentle Richard. No man cried 'God save him!'"

This is a quote from Shakespeare's Richard II: in it York describes the scene in which Richard II (no longer king) is following his successor/usurper Henry IV (Bolingbrook) down city streets. I find this quote beautiful for many reasons: 1- the metaphor is a REALLY good one, 2- its awesomeness is intensified by the fact that this a play so its kind of like an art object using its medium to get its point across, 3- the construction of the passage is flawless (no extra words, no words lacking), but, I guess that should be expected since it's Shakespeare.

Catcher in the Rye

Holden - Anyway, I like it now, I mean right now. Sitting here with you and just chewing the fat and horsing--
Phoebe - That isn't anything really!
Holden - It is so something really!
This is a scene from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. In this moment, Holden's moment of growing up is captured in his realization that spending time with his little sister is substance in his life. Some people don't reach this maturity until a loved one dies, but Holden realizes it as a teenager. As a literary character, readers don't give him enough credit for his maturity since he is otherwise seen as winy or crazy, so I use this quote as proof that Holden's story is beautiful and not just another winy teenager's story.

Jessica Chastain


Every writer we've read so far has mentioned female beauty (for our purposes, let's say physical beauty generally, without being sex/gender specific). But how do we distinguish between beauty and sexual attraction? This is Jessica Chastain, who I'm inclined to say is beautiful. It may be, however, that my own preferences are at play to a greater extent than I realize. I think it's much harder to determine disinterest in relation to people than works of art or Nature (obviously people are Nature, but you know what I mean).

Beauty and the Beast

While this picture is not of the best quality, I feel that Disney really got it right with Beauty and the Beast. From the music to the graphics, this is a gorgeous movie. It reminds me of my childhood, and is one of the classics that I will always revere.

THEORY OF BEAUTY (TONY)

THEORY OF BEAUTY (TONY)
Mark Doty

Somebody who worked in the jailhouse kitchen
cooked up some grease, burnt it black, scraped the carbon
from the griddle. Somebody else made a needle
from the shaft of a filched Bic, ballpoint replaced

with a staple beaten flat, and then the men received,
one at a time, heads of Christ looking up through

streams of blood from his thorny crown, or death's heads
looming over x's of bones. But Tony chose,
for his left shoulder, the sign language glyph for Love,
a simple shape, though hard to read; he had to tell me

what it meant. And then what seemed indifferently made,
not even a sketch, became a kind of blazon

one that both lifted and exposed the man who wore it,
as he sat fumbling with a lighter, too stoned to fire
the pipe he held, using it to point to the character
on his arm, making plain the art of what was written there.
-----------------
I find this poem beautiful because, for the narrator, the tattoo on Tony's shoulder and Tony himself are inseparable: the truth of the symbol is the beauty of the object.

Gustav Klimt


As a practitioner of the Art Nouveau style, much of Klimt’s work attempts to imitate natural forms, often through asymmetrical lines and flowing curves. The evocative and sensuous quality of Water Serpents II is unmistakable, but is the world of this painting exclusive or inviting? In a way, formal elements can work to promote the content or potential implications of the painting as a whole. What I find most compelling then is the method by which form (especially one originating from nature) is translated to such modes as symbolism and eroticism.

Sunday Morning Excerpt

We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.



This excerpt--the end of Wallace Stevens' "Sunday Morning"--is striking, mysterious, lingering, and beautiful. In a Kantian sense, the reader is gaining pleasure from evaluating the free play of the imagination (with Stevens' metaphors, images, and leaps) in conjunction with understanding. The imagination's representations (attributes and ideas in the poem) extend beyond a single, definable concept or theme, and are ineffable, yet the reader maintains some understanding. There is the notion that one or many concepts are being elaborated upon, and in attempting to follow the poem's network of images and its conflicting pastoral and menacing lines in relation to some concept, the reader experiences beauty. Stevens even said himself in his poem "Man Carrying Thing," "The poem must resist the intelligence / Almost successfully."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Giant's Causeway

This is a picture of the Giant's Causeway, a volcanic formation of about 40,000 hexagonal (with some heptagons and nonagons) basalt columns that extend out into the sea from the coast of nothern County Antrim. The legend is that Fionn MacCumhal built a full Causeway to Scotland to see his wife, but it was destroyed with time, but the legend isn't what's important. The North Coast of Ireland, and in particular this unique piece of it, reflects exactly the Shaftesburian view of natural beauty: Zero purpose, but it shakes the soul anyway.

James Wright

"Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota"

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year's horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.




This poem by James Wright very well condenses and presents the pastoral, sensual experience, slightly askew and renewed by individual perception. However, what I think makes this poem beautiful is not necessarily the natural images or sense of place, but its ability to transport the reader past physicality into the speaker's psychic relation to it. That is primary. This poem is much more about internal movement than external or sensual existence.

Open Heart Surgery

While I was at work yesterday, I was lucky enough to watch an open heart surgery. At first, it was a little gross to watch the surgeons cut someone open since there was a lot of blood flowing everywhere, and I could see the actual heart pumping. But after a while, I saw it as very beautiful. Watching this surgery transformed a lot of biology concepts that i've learned from abstract to concrete, and it made me appreciate the human body so much more and find it more beautiful. Also, the surgery's process was so perfectly organized, and it went so smoothly that i found the process to be beautiful in itself. Finally, the fact that humans have the ability to understand how the body works and save one another is another beautiful concept to me.


I would have loved to take a video of the surgery from yesterday, but I wasn't allowed to due to privacy rules. So I found a youtube link that shows about people's opinions of open heart surgery and some footage of doctors performing an open heart surgery. Take a look if you like!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM4u2PXyBpg

Gaudi's Design


“Those who look for the laws of Nature as a support for their new works collaborate with the creator.”

Antoni Gaudi


Gaudi's eye for design reminds me of Kant's notion that humans are drawn towards rounder objects like spheres and cylinders, rather than amazed at sharp geometrical lines. The contours of this building are clearly rounder and more fluid than what we think when we picture balconies or apartment styles. By drawing upon the design and the forms we find in nature, Gaudi captures the beautiful a spectacular way.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Terminal Iron Works



David Smith's whole ethos is fascinating to me. But first and foremost, his sculpture (at its best) immediately compels my conviction with respect to its beauty. Here, I love the play between surface and formal brawn.

Monet Painting

This painting by Monet is called Water Lilies (The Clouds); it is a painting of the sky being reflected in a pond. I think this painting is beautiful because there are two canvases: the pond and the actual artistic canvas upon which Monet painted. To me, both the reflection, the natural picture of the clouds, and the painting, the artistic interpretation of the clouds, are equally beautiful. In turn, the duality of the concept for one painting is beautiful to me.

Table Mountain

My roommate took this photo on her trip to Africa two summers ago. I like the way the clouds frame the peak of the mountain and how the light is focused toward the middle of the picture. Everything but the lower clouds and the mountain itself is dark, which adds a sort of mystical quality. This photo exemplifies the beauty of nature for me.

Music!

Vocal music in particular. My favorite happens to be choral/classical music, and I feel it can even coincide with Kant's idea of the beautiful because it isn't only pleasant for me to listen to, it excites this indescribable reaction within me that screams, "how beautiful!" This same reaction is elicited from other singing, but with choral music it is much stronger because I feel like there is a sense of complete immersion in the music. A good example of this is Mozart's Larcymosa, which is actually a little different depending on who is conducting I suppose, but I find the above version an excellent traditional interpretation, and this one is an interesting interpretation, with a kind of twist. I find both equally beautiful. I feel the immersion is a particularly important part of the experience of this kind of music because it busies your mind (but in a good way) so you can't focus on one aspect, or find a concept to go with it, it's all you can do to take in the music! Solo singers can sing just as beautifully, as seen here, but it is much easier to focus on words, or concepts, or technique, and then you're doing more than just taking in the sensation of music. This isn't necessarily bad, as it is possible that this can enrich your experience of this beauty, but maybe this analyzing would also disqualify a soloist singing from being beautiful in Kantian terms.

Tent


This picture reminds me of creating a childhood tent of couch pillows and sheets and hiding there until I am found. At the same time, this picture potentially speaks of intense poverty, loneliness, and despair. This tension between innocence and sorrow is what I eventually locate as beautiful in this picture, though I think I was originally struck by the light and shadow, the curves and lines, and the child. Like in the last few seconds of a dream when your mind pieces it all together, I think our minds create some sort of instant narrative (even from abstraction) the moment we see something.

Shintaro Ohata



This artwork is by Shintaro Ohata. What I find beautiful is how mixing the 3-dimensional layer with the 2-dimensional painting creates so much movement in the artwork. Also, I find interesting how photographing it close up makes it look like a movie still.

The Alchemist

These are the closing lines of the Prologue in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. The goddesses of the forests have just asked why the lake is weeping for Narcissus.

The lake was silent for some time. Finally, it said:
"I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected."

"What a lovely story," the alchemist thought.

Although there are passages in The Alchemist I find more beautiful, I love how the lake's confession complicates some of the philosophical arguments we've been discussing in class.

Fantasy


I am not one to listen to classical music, usually....because I feel that I lack the understanding that is required to truly appreciate it. However, this is one of my favorite musical pieces of all time. I find that the switches in rhythm and mood are unexpected, yet completely in harmony with the rest of the piece. I think is one of those things that I find incredibly beautiful, but can't quite explain why...it just is. (The skating in the video is pretty amazing, too.)

Super Bowl XLIII

I am from Arizona, I was at this game, and this catch has caused me more emotional pain than I ever thought was possible from a sporting event.

In class on Tuesday we talked about how universal beauty implies a level of disinterest from personal satisfaction in a thing: this is an example of something that I find personally dissatisfying, yet I can still acknowledge is beautiful.

The Painter




Joseph Marioni, or self-referentially, “The Painter,” is known for his works that consist of multiple layers of acrylic paint. I like how they offer the possibility of disparate experiences. From a distance, they appear to be solid, monochromatic blocks of color, sometimes with slight shifts or gradations. Moving in closer, cracks and runs due to gravity are apparent, and, more strikingly, coats of colors that differ completely from the collective result become visible. Aside from technicalities, I’m interested in the questions Marioni’s work raises. What do these pieces want, or what kind of responses do they (or should they) provoke? Are they grasping at some unadulterated or fundamental form of what it means for a painting to be a painting? How do we judge a work that has, in its elemental respect, a subject founded on pure incorporeality, simply providing an interaction between colors and light for our eyes?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pensent-ils au raisin?

This is a roccoco painting hanging in the Art Insitute. In English, the title reads "Are they thinking about the grape?"
The answer, one supposes, is 'no'.
I'm drawn to the color, the expressiveness of the trees, and the intensity of the boy's stare. The limbs of the children form a pleasant circle that draws our attention both to the grape and to the space between them, neatly delineating the governing question of the painting.

Monday, September 19, 2011

J-E-L-L-O

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdl9-plbORw

I remember coming across this video several months ago, and when I thinking about what is beautiful, I had to return to it. Although this video is quite simplistic with its depiction of a jello cube in slow motion when dropped and flicked, I am awestruck at instances when the cube looks like a dancing curtain of red silk as it takes on different forms. Simply dropping a jello cube in real time probably couldn't conjure the concept of beauty in someone's mind, but a slow-moving, morphing piece of gelatin accompanied to classical music sure could.

Mario Castillo Painting





This painting is entitled Las memorias antiguas de la raza del maguey aun respiran. It (very roughly) translates to The Old Memories of the Race of the Maguey Still Breathe. It depicts a multitude of beautiful scenes and events, all of which are interconnected: there are continuous lines which weave in and out of every scene. The first part of the painting that grabbed my attention was the Universal (literally, the Universe) Mother nursing her son.



You can see the continuous dotted line enter and exist the mouth and nostrils of the son and mother, respectively. The use of light and dark in this section of the painting fascinates me as well.


I didn't even spot my favorite part of the painting until I had been enjoying it for at least ten minutes:


This little bird has a human baby inside of it! I can't really explain why, but I really think this detail is awesome. It very much implies the interconnected relationships between nature and humankind. Aside from that, this baby can either be a starting point or an ending point (perhaps both?) for the continuous line (or Ray of Life as I like to call it) in the painting.

Victorian Periodical Quote

“Perfections are wonderfully magnified to every eye by its own discovery of them.”
I found this quote in a Victorian periodical that I was reading for a class last year. I was becoming disinterested in the periodical because nothing in it was applicable to modern day until I read this line, which, to me, encapsulates timeless beauty. The discovery of beauty is almost more beautiful than the thing which is called beautiful because the process of deciding what is beautiful is full of self-discovery and reflection. I also like the modesty implied in this quote because it reminds me of my dad's motto, "If you're really good at something, people will notice on their own." That philosophy has always been beautiful to me because it recognizes, like this quote, that everyone appreciates the process of discovering their own defintion of beauty.

Breaking Bad


This is a still from the show Breaking Bad. Only a moment in one episode of the series, it is able to capture many of the main ideas explored in the show. The men standing in a similar pose forces the viewer to make comparisons between the two characters. They both are focused only on one another, ignoring the natural vastness around them that is highlighted by this long shot. Many elements in this frame are interesting: how we only see a profile of each character, the lightness surrounding them, the way they mirror each other, the slight differences in clothing highlighting their similarities, and the gap that is between them.

Oh Charley, Charley, Charley...



This sculpture by Charles Ray strikes me as being a really good example of Kantian Beauty. It's all about internal, formal relations. The obvious antecedent in Rodin's Burghers of Calais, and there is a similar tension between the openness and closed-ness of the figural program. Even the sexuality makes no appeal to the viewer - it's masturbatory, i.e. self-contained.