Umělec magazine 2008/1 >> Writing and Directing Sculpture List of all editions.
Umělec magazine
Year 2008, 1
6,50 EUR
7 USD
Send the printed edition:
Order subscription

Writing and Directing Sculpture

Umělec magazine 2008/1

01.01.2008

Drew Martin | closer look | en cs de es

When we consider the amount of text dedicated to discussing, understanding and explaining the visual arts, it is hard to ignore our reliance on words to aid, enhance, compensate and even substitute our visual experiences. Since ancient Greece, text preempted images, which were, more often than not, allegorical. The images graphically summarized the text in the same manner that today’s press releases and reviews literally define a painting or sculpture. What has evolved in making an image from an original text is a more intimate and informed “collaboration.”
One of the most interesting text-to-image relationships is the treatment of a sculptural motif in Arthur C. Clarke’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” and how it was visually interpreted in Stanley Kubrick’s movie version. The “object” is the monolith, which appears four times in the novel and the movie. Clarke’s monoliths are multi-media phenomena; they glow and vibrate, send messages out into the solar system and even switch from solid structures (the size of the tallest buildings on Earth) to seemingly endless ‘star gates’ to other universes. They are the monitors, beacons and portals of god-like aliens who have taken an interest in advancing a ‘primitive’ species.
Clarke devotes pages of graphic descriptions to his monoliths, which would seem to be mouth-watering fodder for a director as visually attuned as Kubrick. He was not only a master filmmaker but was especially talented in turning a handful of words into fascinating sets, popping colors and visual narratives. There are chapters of “2001” that are filled with hyper-visual sentences, which Kubrick captures with ease, so it is very surprising to see that he replaces Clarke’s dynamic monoliths with what seem like placeholders, mere props.
Here is part of the last description of the monolith, which alludes to its introduction:
“A ghostly, glimmering rectangle had formed in the empty air. It solidified into a crystal tablet, lost its transparency, and became suffused with a pale, milky luminescence. Tantalizing, ill-defined phantoms moved across its surface and in its depths. They coalesced into bars of light and shadow, then formed intermeshing, spoked patterns that began slowly to rotate, in time with the pulsating rhythm that now seemed to fill the whole of space.”
Clarke feeds us pages of such details and yet Kubrick is mysteriously reserved in his treatment of the monoliths: they are simply flat black slabs. Instead, Kubrick does what is essentially a synesthetic interpretation. He substitutes Clarke’s descriptions with Gyorgy Ligeti’s eerie micropolyphonic vocals. The effect is disorienting, making us feel as vulnerable as the ‘slack-jawed’ man-apes being manipulated by a greater force. Kubrick also introduces a visual trick, which, even if it had been described by Clarke, would not have the same impact. Each time a monolith scene is about to end, he aligns it with either other heavenly bodies or architectural design. He uses symmetry, which is entirely visual and immediately significant.
The previous passage continues with the following sentences that give us further understanding of Kubrick’s visual treatment of the monoliths:
“It was a spectacle to grasp and hold the attention of any child—or of any man-ape. But, as it had been three million years before, it was only the outward manifestation of forces too subtle to be consciously perceived. It was merely a toy to distract the senses, while the real processing was carried out at far deeper levels of the mind.”
Kubrick’s “2001” is a banquet of visual delights. He puts us on space stations, the Moon, in outer space orbiting Jupiter. He is ahead of his time with visual effects and with such command he considers the visual ‘affect’ as something as central as the monolith. If ever a metaphor for sculpture and art, Clarke’s pulsating crystals are not only multi-media wonders but they demonstrate how art is often experienced; entirely and sensationally. But he also knows that this affect is not really at the surface, it is what is happening inside our minds. It is that internal experience through which we evolve. Clarke’s frontiers are of an imagination that can only be hatched from words. He gives us visual experiences directly, without graphic stimuli and Kubrick honors that with a kind of visual silence. Kubrick does not illustrate the original text: He contemplates it, which is better than any explanation or definition.





01.01.2008

Comments

There are currently no comments.

Add new comment

Recommended articles

Nick Land – An Experiment in Inhumanism Nick Land – An Experiment in Inhumanism
Nick Land was a British philosopher but is no longer, though he is not dead. The almost neurotic fervor with which he scratched at the scars of reality has seduced more than a few promising academics onto the path of art that offends in its originality. The texts that he has left behind are reliably revolting and boring, and impel us to castrate their categorization as “mere” literature.
No Future For Censorship No Future For Censorship
Author dreaming of a future without censorship we have never got rid of. It seems, that people don‘t care while it grows stronger again.
African Vampires in the Age of Globalisation African Vampires in the Age of Globalisation
"In Cameroon, rumours abound of zombie-labourers toiling on invisible plantations in an obscure night-time economy."
MIKROB MIKROB
There’s 130 kilos of fat, muscles, brain & raw power on the Serbian contemporary art scene, all molded together into a 175-cm tall, 44-year-old body. It’s owner is known by a countless number of different names, including Bamboo, Mexican, Groom, Big Pain in the Ass, but most of all he’s known as MICROBE!… Hero of the losers, fighter for the rights of the dispossessed, folk artist, entertainer…
04.02.2020 10:17
Where to go next?
out - archeology
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
Josef Jindrák
Who is S.d.Ch? A person of many interests, active in various fields—literature, theater—known for his comics and collages in the art field. A poet and playwright foremost. A loner by nature and determination, his work doesn’t meet the current trends. He always puts forth personal enunciation, although its inner structure can get very complicated. It’s pleasant that he is a normal person and a…
Read more...
out - poetry
THC Review and the Condemned Past
THC Review and the Condemned Past
Ivan Mečl
We are the fifth global party! Pítr Dragota and Viki Shock, Fragmenty geniality / Fragments of Charisma, May and June 1997. When Viki came to visit, it was only to show me some drawings and collages. It was only as an afterthought that he showed me the Czech samizdat publication from the late 1990s, THC Review. When he saw how it fascinated me, he panicked and insisted that THAT creation is…
Read more...
prize
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
Read more...
birthing pains
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Zuzana Štefková
Expanding the definition of “mother” is also a space for reducing pressure and for potential liberation.1 Carol Stabile The year was 2003, and in the deep forests of Lapák in the Kladno area, a woman in the later phase of pregnancy stopped along the path. As part of the “Artists in the Woods” exhibit, passers-by could catch a glimpse of her round belly, which she exposed especially for them in…
Read more...
Books, video, editions and artworks that might interest you Go to e-shop
Limited edition of 10. Size 100 x 70 cm. Black print on durable white foil.
More info...
75 EUR
84 USD
The catalogue was published for Redas Dižrys' project "Let's Be Part of the System" in Bilina's town hall tower.
More info...
9 EUR
10 USD
445 pages in color on matte coated paper, superb hardback in jacket and cardboard box | Size: 26 x 33 x 4,5 cm | Text by George...
More info...
60 EUR
67 USD
2003, 28 x 21.2 cm, Pen & Ink Drawing
More info...
222 EUR
247 USD

Studio

Divus and its services

Studio Divus designs and develops your ideas for projects, presentations or entire PR packages using all sorts of visual means and media. We offer our clients complete solutions as well as all the individual steps along the way. In our work we bring together the most up-to-date and classic technologies, enabling us to produce a wide range of products. But we do more than just prints and digital projects, ad materials, posters, catalogues, books, the production of screen and space presentations in interiors or exteriors, digital work and image publication on the internet; we also produce digital films—including the editing, sound and 3-D effects—and we use this technology for web pages and for company presentations. We specialize in ...
 

Citation of the day. Publisher is not liable for any mental and physical states which may arise after reading the quote.

Enlightenment is always late.
CONTACTS AND VISITOR INFORMATION The entire editorial staff contacts

DIVUS LONDON

 

STORE
Arch 8, Resolution Way, Deptford

London SE8 4NT, United Kingdom
Open on appointment

 

OFFICE
7 West Street, Hastings
East Sussex, TN34 3AN
, United Kingdom
Open on appointment
 

Ivan Mečl
ivan@divus.org.uk, +44 (0) 7526 902 082

DIVUS
NOVA PERLA
Kyjov 37, 407 47 Krásná Lípa
Czech Republic
divus@divus.cz
+420 222 264 830, +420 602 269 888

Open daily 10am to 6pm
and on appointment.

 

DIVUS BERLIN
Potsdamer Str. 161, 10783 Berlin
Germany

berlin@divus.cz, +49 (0) 1512 9088 150
Open on appointment.

 

DIVUS WIEN
wien@divus.cz
DIVUS MEXICO CITY
mexico@divus.cz
DIVUS BARCELONA
barcelona@divus.cz
DIVUS MOSCOW & MINSK

alena@divus.cz

DIVUS NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION
Divus New book by I.M.Jirous in English at our online bookshop.