„On Substance“

Thomas Gainsborough: „The Blue Boy“ (1770). Copyright erloschen.

Im Folgenden ein Artikel, den ich 2009 für den inzwischen leider nicht mehr existierenden „American Chronicle“ geschrieben habe:

„While reading a book that was originally published back in 1932, I once again came (due to the style the book was written in) to realize what I had subconsciously sensed for a long time: that the very substance of art (or Western culture, for that matter) is gradually deteriorating, and whereas readers may doubt this statement, I have several points to back it up.

Some time ago, I discovered a book in the public library (it was written in German), entitled „Das 19. Jahrhundert in Briefen“ („The 19th Century in Letters“), and I was amazed by the warmth & surprising quality of style of the letters included in this book: a style that seems „old-fashioned“ by now; yet in those letters I often encountered a dregree of affection for one another that I find to be more and more absent in our present, technology-oriented time, and I am asking myself: Is this progress?

To say that—over time—things are automatically „getting better“ would imho be a grave misconception of historical development. First and foremost, one would have to ask oneself: What—after all—is „better“. Is it „more“? And „more“ of what? Quality? I don’t think so. If I take a closer look at the present state of the world around me, I am confronted with a mixture of increasing soullessness & superficiality. Clothing becomes more and more uniform; the „style“ of women’s wardrobe up to the 1950s, to take but one example, is long gone (this has changed substantially during the 1960s).

As I personally see it, this development finally leads us into a dead-end, but what would be the alternative? Can anyone „make“ a style? Isn’t it true that style subconsciously evolves during a given era, due to forces more or less unknown to us? In this case, we are only getting what we deserve. Does this sound harsh? Maybe.

To dig deeper into this subject would at least require a prolonged essay, but perhaps one way to become aware of what’s going on presently is to take a look at the past. Only by understanding the past do we really become aware of the present; otherwise, the present would be nothing more than an island aimlessly floating somewhere.

Copyright 2009 by Claus Cyrny.

Note: The work of art depicted in the image above and the reproduction thereof are in the public domain worldwide. The reproduction is part of a collection of reproductions compiled by The Yorck Project. The compilation copyright is held by Zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH and licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.“

Gimp 2.10.18: Warp-Transformation

Screenshot: Das Werkzeug „Warp-Transformation“ im Gimp 2.10.18.

Durch einen Artikel von Claudia Meindl im Magazin LinuxUser bin ich auf das Werkzeug Warp-Transformation [W] des Gimp 2.10.18 aufmerksam geworden und finde es, nachdem ich es ausprobiert habe, total schick. Die Option Pixel bewegen bewirkt dasselbe wie der Photoshop-Filter Verflüssigen. Cool! 😉

Ein Beispiel:

© Copyright 2018, 2021 by Claus Cyrny. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Digitale Kunst und Spiritualität

Vincent van Gogh: „Piëtà“ (1889; nach Delacroix). Copyright erloschen.

Wenn ich mir die diversen renommierten Grafik- und Design-Seiten wie Bēhance, DeviantArt oder ArtStation anschaue, ist mein Eindruck der einer relativen spirituellen Verarmung. Da hat es Monster, Autos, Raumschiffe, Science-Fiction-Motive, schrille Sujets, Krasses, Kindisches, Fantasy-Themen und mehr oder weniger gelungene Portraits; das, was sich die modernen Kunst – gehört die digitale (noch) nicht dazu? – an Freiheiten im Ausdruck erarbeitet hat, fehlt bei der digitalen Kunst nahezu vollständig. Was hier dominiert, ist der Fotorealismus.

Ich frage mich nun, ob es nicht auch anders geht. Dazu müßte aber – um nur ein Beispiel zu nehmen, bei Portraits – als Grundvoraussetzung ein Bewußtsein der kunstgeschichtlichen Entwicklung des Portraits von, sagen wir Mitte des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts bis heute vorhanden sein. Dabei denke ich jedoch definitiv nicht an Leute wie Georg Baselitz und auch nicht an Julian Schnabel oder – ebenfalls aus den USA – an Andy Warhol; Künstler, die man/frau nun kaum als spirituell ansehen kann.

Aber – spirituell? Was heißt das überhaupt? Spontan fallen mir dazu Werke wie die Piëtà“ – nach Delacroix – von Vincent van Gogh (s. o.) oder die „Heilige Ursula“ von Adolf Hölzel ein, aber auch bestimmte Werke etwa von Mark Rothko, um einen deutlich moderneren Künstler zu nehmen. Aber auch die Portraits von Alberto Giacometti empfinde ich als spirituell. Sozusagen die Antithese dazu wäre dann etwa Andy Warhol oder – aktuell – Jeff Koons, wobei dieser keine Portraits macht, sondern seine Ballon-Skulpturen, die uns die Konsumgesellschaft vorführen sollen: der Künstler als Produzent. Kommerzorientierter geht es wohl kaum noch.

Was wollte ich nun sagen? Ja, digitale Kunst und Spiritualität. Bislang scheint das ein Widerspruch zu sein. Muß das aber so bleiben? Das ist nun eben die Frage. Ich habe überlegt, ob mir ein Gegenbeispiel einfällt – leider vergebens. Als mögliche Lösung fällt mir ein, was ich hier schon an anderer Stelle geschrieben habe: daß moderne, etablierte oder auch (noch) nicht etablierte Künstler sich des digitalen Mediums annehmen und es hin zu einer Tiefe im Ausdruck weiterentwickeln, die wir in der aktuellen Kunstszene leider vergeblich suchen.

Stanisław Lem

Grafik © Copyright 1956 by Mroz. Mit freundlicher Genehmigung.

Im Folgenden ein Artikel [englisch], den ich anno 2009 für den damals noch existierenden „American Chronicle“ verfaßt habe.

„Having read science fiction since my teens, my favorite author is still Stanisław Lem who died in 2006.

Actually, I got my first book of his („The Invincible“; 1964) merely by accident: it was a Christmas present sent to me by my grandmother who lived in the then GDR (this was in in early 1970s). Since the author was unfamiliar to me (and I have to admit that I was skeptical about books published in the GDR in general), I started reading with some reservation, but to my surprise, I found myself being more and more taken in by the story as well as the (for science fiction, for that matter) surprisingly good style the book was written in.

The story: The author describes the adventures of the starship „The Invincible“, which is on its way on a rescue mission to an apparently unpopulated desert planet in the star system Lyra, where the sister ship of „The Invincible“, „Condor“ went missing. The main character of the book is the sympathetically characterized navigator Rohan, whom we follow as the story progresses.

About the first thing that impressed me from the very first page were the very convincing, lively described technical details, which is imho one of the strong points of Lem’s prose in general: he had this knack of making the most advanced technical achievements look completely casual. The way he does this adds very much to the atmosphere of his novels. (He has written about a variety of subjects, of which science fiction is only one—albeit substantial—part.)

Another strong point are—in the case of „The Invincible“, but in other novels as well—the often fascinating stories as well as his ability to describe alien environments and alien creatures equally convincing; so convincing that they really are alien. Especially here his amazing, often nothing but breathtaking imagination comes into play. In this respect, he is (that’s at least my personal opinion) without peers throughout the entire genre.

While especially his novel „Solaris“ (1962) was made twice into a movie, none of those attempts really does the book justice. On the movie by Steven Soderbergh, Lem himself complained that, to his knowledge, the novel was definitely not about erotic problems in outer space. (Readers of the novel will quickly realize the truth of this statement.) Atmospherically, I find the (b/w) movie (1972) by Andrei Tarkovsky (which Lem criticised as being a „chamber play“) more convincing. At least this attempt manages to preserve much of the somewhat „provisional“ atmosphere of the space station where most of the plot is situated.

My personal favorites of Lem’s science fiction novels are „Eden“ (1959) and „Return from the Stars“ (1961). The former deals with a terrestrial space ship that crash-lands on an alien planet („Eden“) and the efforts of its crew to repair the ship and to explore the surroundings of the desert where the ship has crashed; the latter describes the adventures of an astronaut, who, after a space excursion to Fomalhaut, returns, due to time dilatation, more than one hundred years later back to a dramatically changed earth, where he tries to find a place for himself. (The description of the „station“ alone where the main character arrives from Luna at the beginning of the story is simply breathtaking.)

One thing I like about Stanisław Lem’s science fiction prose is that he makes his characters vulnerable. They are (luckily, I feel) far from being perfect—on the contrary: I think that their very vulnerability is what makes them sympathetic and human. Another, more subtle, twist is that in the drawing of Lem’s characters there’s a noticeable Eastern European influence present (Lem himself was Polish).

Besides his science fiction writing, for whom he probably is best known for, Stanisław Lem has written about a number of other subjects, such as essays on a variety of topics, crime, philosophy, cybernetics, a book about (among other things) fictitious weapons systems in the future, futuristic fairy tales, an reviews of fictitious books.

Stanisław Lem’s official website is a very recommendable resource with detailed descriptions of his writings, with photographs of the author, an online forum as well as a collections of (often humorous) futuristic drawings by Mroz and Lem himself.“

© Copyright 2009 by Claus Cyrny. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Batch-Dateien für ImageMagick

Für mich schon selbstverständlich, poste ich bei Scripts zu ImageMagick in einer Linux-Shell ausführbare shell scripts, doch da gibt es ja auch Windows mit seinen Batch-Dateien. 😉 Zu diesem wie ich finde spannenden Thema habe ich auf der Website von ImageMagick einen längeren Text entdeckt: Wie konvertiere ich ein shell script in eine .bat-Datei?

Weiterführender Link: Mein Beitrag „Batch Magic“ .