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A conversation about art between Austin and I, drunk on three margaritas and 7 hours of low-oxygen office air, respectively

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via Googlechat, May 1st, 2006. We were discussing the advantages of film vs. digital photography, in response to this image. More of these remarkable artworks can be seen here, more cumbersome official site here. Drunk mispellings have been edited, except for comedic purposes.

Blake: the reality is film's life is limited. there will always be artists using it, but it really is an outmoded medium
Austin: so you think digital has reached the level of film? I think my photography friend would strangle you. do you think digital software can imitate the printing process of photos?
Blake: it's not about imitating it--it's just different. if somebody wants to reach a certain effect using the developing process (i.e. an artist) that's fine--but digital allows you instant and more flexible manipulation of the image. maybe your friend who is a film purist likes the integrity of the process, the working-with-your-hands immediacy of it. that's something i can understand
Austin: yeah
i think you've got something there, digitial and film photography will be almost different disciplines
Blake: but i wouldn't entertain any argument that film has better quality, not anymore
Austin: hmmmm...I need to just read both sides...i guess most photoblogs are working with digital now
everyone wants the pictures on the web as soon as possible
much easier to do with digital
Blake: i love thinking about how the digital world and the internet is changing our perception of things. like the idea that a film camera creates an actual artifact of the image, whereas the digitial one is all data that can be reproduced anywhere in the world with just a combination of 1s and 0s. this idea of the art object disappearing
Austin: do you think that's good or bad for art?
i mean because I think the art object adds to the allure of the art
seeing the original is quite different than seeing the reproduction
of course then there's the question of what is the original of a digital photo
does it have an original?
Blake: definitely. i agree, and i think most would, so that's why people will always paint and make sculptures, and why having a print-out of even something that began as a digital image is important. but i wouldn't say it's bad for art. nothing is ever bad for art if one adopts a certain perspective. wouldn't you say art is impossible to destroy, that it's too universally human? so the only available option is for art to become larger, to reach more people
it doesn't have an original except as a concept, I guess
Austin: I guess the only thing I would say that is bad for art is bad art?
Blake: yes exactly
that's very true
Austin: I love the idea of art being impossible to destroy
Blake: things that are lesser arts, or merely competent, are the threat to good art.
Austin: well I am drunk...still
that last margarita kicked in about twenty minutes agoe
Blake: your mind seems clear enough. you're probably at the point where you're able to think more abstractly, and soon enough that alcohol will overcome that and it'll just get muddy. but there is that small window...
Austin: indeed
if we could only keep the small window
Blake: that's why fitzgerald and hemingway drunk and wrote
Austin: and became's a balance of sorts I guess...but i'm really dwelling on this idea that art is such a part of existence it can't be destroyed
or is that why it can't be destroyed?
Blake: it can't be destroyed because it is constantly being created, and even efforts at destroying inevitably result in new thinking and more creating. but there's the idea that average art can captivate an audience so that they're too easily satisfied. the question is how to bypass that
Austin: it's just a matter of getting people to realize that there is something better
but you always run into a sticky situation with that
Saramago has this part in Baltasar and Blimunda where this musician says "they can't truly appreciate what I play because they're not educated to understand"
which sounds snobbish but it's true maybe?
someone can really enjoy something like 'crash" because it looks good and sounds good and makes them think...they're not open to the things, say, Kubrick does in his films
Blake: as much as i resist thinking it, you're right--education is necessary to appreciate the arts. that's actually an idea that depresses me. shouldn't good art be immediate? but i suppose the way our minds are, so media-conditioned and saturated, that you have to work hard against it. maybe it's not so much educating as unlearning certain tendencies and re-learning how to think deeply
Austin: or, filtering what is put out, I mean certain people should not be allowed to create things for public consumption but some how or the other they are allowed to put their "art" out for the public at large
I'd be the first to say people are smarter than we give them credit for but they've got to be given the right "test"
and education comes a lot with experience no?
Blake: did you read the TMN article about Paris Hilton? ["Paris Hilton and the American Cannibal"]
Austin: yep
i've actually read that boorstin book
Blake: i don't know how it quite relates, but i think it's certainly true that as a culture, our experience with a higher reality has gone away from religion, and away from art, and into this weirdo postmodern circus of voyeurism and pseudo-reality
Austin: well there's the idea that religion kept too many things hidden, and that art only hinted at dark, vulgar things
everything was innuendo
or in religion's case not mentioned
now we can see people being nasty and up front about their problems and networks are calling it "art!" and maybe it makes people more comfortable with "art"?
i don't know if that made sense
but like maybe people felt a separation between their actual like and art that they don't feel with pseudo-reality
Blake: not quite
Austin: or just that we, as a society, don't want to contemplate a higher plane? which would really depress me
slap me when I don't make sense
(btw: you should write something for that Opal Menthal contest for TMN)
Blake: I can't slap you until you come to visit.
by the way i might post this on the blog, titled "a conversation about art between Austin and I, drunk on three margaritas and 7 hours of low-oxygen office air, respectively"
Austin: i love it


    Anonymous kyle 

    arthur danto - transfiguration of the commonplace (among others)

    what would you guys think if i went to school for library science/information science? would you still be my friends?

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  • Blake
  • Chicago, IL, United States

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