This is New Minds Eye Two that brings you more of the best new writing on art and culture. The essays combine a sociological perspective with an investigative approach and were written by international artists who took part in the ongoing Sociological Imagination Post Graduate course at Glasgow School of Art. This website is an independent project that aims to extend the course by publishing the written work to give wider access to the concerns and interests of artists today. You can read them below:
The essay excellently sets out how the aftermath of a fire in a Bucharest club which killed 63 people became a catalyst for the reform of state institutions. It argues that these institutions should promote socio-cultural values in order to change public opinion and increase the involvement of civil society.
This is a diagnosis of time as experience influenced by Henri Bergson and Emile Durkheim. The differentiation between ‘kairos’ and ‘chronos’ brings out the qualitative dimension of time and draws on a range of theorists to offer insights into Edvard Munch’s combination of the ‘arts of space’ and the ‘art of interior time’ and Kurt Vonnegut’s use of memory as a psychological coping mechanism.
This engaging essay takes a 2009 MUTE article as its starting point to explore critiques of the instrumentalised role of ‘culture led urban regeneration’. It asks whether the ‘Creative City’ formula as a solution for post-industrial urban problems could be over, and, argues that the relationship between artist, developer, public and the economy has been challenged to establish that culture-led urban regeneration is either over, ineffectual or present in a changed form.
A penetrating analysis that offers an explanation of the inhibitions on playground design in relation to bureaucratic influences. It finds that playgrounds in American are not becoming safer despite the preoccupation with safety. This has created a ‘bureaucratic maze’ that redirects the interests of the child’s development towards the value judgments of parents and administrator. A culture of litigation also misguides the decisions of administrators and playground manufacturers in the sense that safe play should not remove spontaneity in play and compromise the child’s ability to learn independently.
This is a fascinating exploration of myth that uses Vico, Mircea Eliade, Claude Levi-Strauss and Roland Barthes’ theoretical perspectives. The argument is structured using three dichotomies: Revelation and Concealment, Origins and Ends and the Universal and the Particular to interpret six art works to discuss the origins of myth and how it operates in society.
Otto Dix, Henry Moore, Maya Lin and Wafaa Bilal’s work are contrasted to convey the artist’s shared need to express that the loss of life in war is unnecessary in an effort to prevent the next war to come. The analysis offers a well-balanced, sensitive treatment of each artist that focuses on each artist’s personal statement, history, and biography to offer a descriptive analysis of their work that assesses commonalities of their creative response to the psychological trauma of war.
The essay elegantly explores Tadeusz Kantor’s legacy in terms of how it has crystalized into two differing institutions: Robert Wilson’s The Watermill Center and The Marina Abramovic Institute. These artists work are interpreted to explain how the dramaturgies of Wilson and Abramovic’s work evolved and were influenced by Kantor’s idea of mental and physical transformation involving both the performer and spectator.
The essay is a wide-ranging and engaging exploration of Grierson’s ideas of documentary as the “creative treatment of actuality”. It explores the intentions behind Grierson’s ideas and contextualizes him as one of the pioneers of British documentary film. The essay contrasts definitions of documentary and of propaganda; examines the ideas behind Grierson’s work, its influence and specifically his work for the British government to argue that there is a strong element of propaganda in the work.
The essay intelligently contextualizes feminist theory in contemporary art’s display of approaches towards deconstructing patriarchal hegemony. It qualifies the invisibility of ‘everyday sexism’, before turning to examine Lizzie Borden’s Born in Flames leading to Sarah Browne and Jesse Jones’ Burn in Flames: Post-Patriarchal Archive in Circulation and Fannie Sosa’s ‘Twerkshops’.
This is an insightful focus on how Europeans formed stereotypes of the Indigenous people that were based on myth, together with how this Western way of depicting the ‘other’ modified during the sixteenth century. It argues that these persist today. It draws on the writings of Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci and various photographic and artistic representations to show the persistence and the stereotypes. The essay suggests that it is the power of art’s construction of stereotypes that perpetuates this Eurocentric colonized image of First Nations.
This is an intriguing examination of how training montages in Hollywood pictures have become symbols for the idea of easy transformation where the motivational properties of training montages create a false sense of self-determination and agency.
This is an intelligent study of the Weltanschauung of musicians and composers who were active from roughly the nineteen fifties to the early nineteen seventies. It describes the world view of musicians who integrated improvisation, to varying degrees, into their musical practice regarding freedom and liberation. It uses two applicable categories Afrological and Eurological musical cultures to show that there is a certain liberating power within the claim of improvisation as a valid cultural practice.
The essay intelligently examines Pictorialism as a successful aesthetical response to the outburst of amateur photographic popularity. Rejecting the notion of photography as a scientific means, pictorialists are described as developing styles and techniques with the intention to create images with an artistic merit that could rival that of painting.
This is a sensitive discussion of how the aesthetic of ruins can help us understand aspects of interior design in terms of the lack of human presence indicating elements we might otherwise ignore. It examines a range of how theorists have thought about the aesthetic of abandonment in relation to the beauty in abandoned structures, beginning the work of Gordon Matta-Clark.
This engaging essay explains how digital technology has altered the cinematic experience of sound. Three historically distinct periods of technological significance in sound reproduction are used to understand the history of this subject and point to future trajectories.
Iannis Xenakis was a revolutionary, both in politics and in art and this essay explores his innovative approach in terms of: Xenakis’ involvement in multimedia spectacles, the early influences on his work in relation to Musique Concret, his work on stochastic mathematical techniques and how his innovative experiments were based on his visualization of the creative process.