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Re: <nettime> Landscape Painting of the Information Age
david garcia on Fri, 20 May 2005 15:10:27 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Landscape Painting of the Information Age


Romanticism was a rebellion against the utilitarian stance of the 
enlightenment project, in which the world of nature was an emanation of 
spirit. Both a political and an artistic movement the romantics believed 
that art and poetry could restore the world to us by revealing what was 
behind it.

But modernists in their turn repudiated romanticism, not only because the 
development of urbanised and technological society had marginalised the 
nature and landscapes of Herzen, Wordsworth, Freiderich and Constable etc 
with their peasants depicted living in sybiosis with nature (no calloused 
hands and summary evictions here). The spiritless world view of science 
had evolved beyond simple machanics expanding to envelope the life 
sciences. Moreover modernism also registered a deeper shift in the sense 
of how we understand nature. The Romantic notions of nature as a 
benifiscent spiritual reality came to be replaced by something closer to 
Schopenhauer?s a great amoral force ?nature red in tooth and claw?. These 
and other strands too complex to enumerate here came together to make the 
romantic view of nature in the contemplative sense which Armin refers to 
as untenable.

Many modernists defined themselves (and continue to) as anti-romantic Also 
in method. To reject the romantic stance was also to reject the epiphanies 
of being. High modernism produces a poetics which strips away the aura of 
things, including the aura of the artist as romantic hero.

Interestingly this repudiation of the romantcism gives rise to a profound 
poetics of its own which Roger Shatutuck has described as a poetics of 
?juxtopisition?. This approach is to my mind more illuminating for our 
networked media than unproblematised versions of romanticism articulated 
thus far in this thread. To simplify (over simplify I know) the methods 
developed by the modernists *make things appear* or *to bring them into 
presence* Not in the sense of the old romantic language of being, whereby 
the object portrayed expresses a deeper reality; rather the illumination 
occurs *between elements* . ?Its as though the words or the images set up 
between them a force field which can capture a more intense energy?.

The romantics are an inescapable part of our heritage and a source of who 
we modern westerners are (the good and the terrible) and although it is 
true that this part of our heritage is often overlooked and falsified any 
act of recuperation should also include a fuller account of the good 
reasons why Romanticism was repudiated.

David Garcia


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