Posts tagged ‘abstract’

The Body in Nature: Unusually Beautiful Photographs

Arno Ragael Minkkinen Nudes 21

Photographing the nude is just about as old as the camera itself… from cheesy pinups to surreal body landscapes, the form has been explored in just about every way imaginable. That’s why, when I ran across the work of Arno Rafael Minkkinen I was truly blown away. His work is filled with almost magical abstract forms created using just creatively positioned figures in the landscape and his well placed lens… nothing more. Each photograph is a revelation, something to decipher for its mysterious form and appreciate for its lyrical beauty.

Making these images even more astounding, most of them are self-portraits. Minkkinen says he does this because of the often underestimated danger in creating such images (which sometimes involve hanging off cliffs or staying under frozen snow for long periods). He also uses no assistant to position himself in the shots, so he must click the shutter button and accurately dance himself into position in just 9 seconds before the shutter fires. For more difficult shots he has sometimes employed a long cable release which he throws out of the scene before the image is taken. Continue reading…

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Fear Helps You Appreciate Abstract Art, Study Finds

Article by Amy Lee @ the Huffington Post

 

The next time you’re having trouble appreciating Jackson Pollock, try seeing a horror movie first.

According to a new study, feeling fear may actually help people to better engage with abstract art.

In the study, which used 85 Brooklyn College students as a sample, participants were assigned randomly to one of five conditions: fear, happiness, high physiological arousal, low physiological arousal or a control group.

Fear was induced with a video of a screaming, zombie-like face, happiness with a clip of a baby and dog interacting, and high and low physiological arousal by having participants complete 30 or 15 jumping jacks, respectively. Participants were then shown four paintings by abstract artist El Lissitzky.

When results were tabulated, fear was the only factor shown to significantly increase the strength of viewers’ reactions to the art. “Art’s allure may… be a byproduct of one’s tendency to be alarmed by such environmental features as novelty, ambiguity, and the fantastic,” the study concluded.

“I wanted to focus on how our body literally shapes the way we think. The body is not just a vessel for the mind, it is the mind, it’s all the same stuff,” said Kendall Eskine, the study’s lead author, in an interview with The Huffington Post

Eskine, a research psychologist at Loyola New Orleans, is interested in the field known as embodied cognition, which explores the ways that physical states can influence the way that people think. Eskine is particular interested in how people process abstract concepts like beauty, truth, or morality.

One study in this field showed that participants holding a hot cup of coffee had more positive first impressions upon meeting a stranger than those holding a cold cup of coffee. Another study, run by Eskine, highlighted the connection between eating bitter food and increased feelings of moral disgust.

In the case of abstract art, Eskine explained, fear might stimulate viewers to the painting in front of them, in part because of the emotion’s evolutionary basis.

“When you’re in a fear state, it promotes fight or flight,” he said. “When you’re scared, [you focus on] the object that is involved in your fear state in a very special way. You couple the physical, visceral experience of fear with this object that has taken over your mental world — a way of describing the sublime.”

Eskine’s definition of the sublime is taken from 18th century philosopher Edmund Burke, who believed that a truly great work of art should inspire both fear and pleasure. Though 18th century philosophy might seem out of place in a contemporary psych study, taking old philosophical ideas and testing them with empirical evidence is one of Eskine’s passions.

“People for centuries have had provocative and interesting ideas and it doesn’t hurt to see if they work,” he said. “It’s a great way to disseminate information to people who aren’t scientifically trained.”

Eskine plans to continue researching different aspects of aesthetic experience, including dance, film, music, and more. In one recent project, which has not yet been published, Eskine had participants sit on the edges of their seat. Afterwards, they expressed “more excitement/anxiousness,” according to Eskine.

Eskine also pointed out that the results of his study could even be applied in reverse.

“Whenever you’re asking people to look at art, if they’re trying to get a sense of whether they like it, they could consider how it physically makes them feel and use that information as a cue to understand what it meant,” he said.


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Photographer Martin Klimas Paints Like Pollock With Sound

Martin_klimas_paint_sound_photography_slide

How do you paint with sound? It’s a good question and the answer comes from German photographer Martin Klimas. He starts by putting different colored paint on top of a speaker over some translucent material, then cranks up the volume. The vibrations of the speaker shoot the paint into the air creating beautiful patterns and sculptural forms, and Klimas snaps them with his camera while in flight.

Each image becomes an abstract portrait of whatever song he plays—from Miles Davis to Kraftwerk. The the New York Times says he spent six months and about 1,000 shots to get the required results and also that his influenced was abstract art and Hans Jenny, a scientist versed in cymatics, the study of waves and vibrations.

We’re used to seeing audiovisual collaborations, like those explored by Quayola and Jamie XX, but they’re usually animated using computer software, whereas this is a much more analogue affair.

Miles Davis – “Pharaoh’s Dance”

Steve Reich and Musicians – “Music for 18 Musicians”

Kraftwerk – “Transistor”

Steve Reich and Musicians – “Drumming”

Miles Davis – “Bitches Brew”

Paul Hindemith – “Ludus Tonalis”

Via Kottke

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