"Clear moments are so short.
There is much more darkness. More
ocean than terra firma. More
shadow than form."
, “Moment”, translated by Renata Gorczynski, in Tremor
Autonomy is a tricky term to handle because in the field of art it has come to denote almost the opposite of what it set out to name. Literally, auto / nomos means to determine one’s own laws. When art slowly but surely pried open a new social space for itself in nineteenth-century European society, on the basis of aesthetic principles laid out by Kant, Hegel, Diderot and others, it was in the name of giving itself its own laws. Its “conquest of space,” as Pierre Bourdieu calls it, was about wresting art from the overarching control and hindrance of religious and political authorities, carving out a separate sphere for itself where it could develop in keeping with its own internal logic. This space of autonomous art determined the art of modernity. Of course, the autonomy was only ever relative — but it was effective, and jealously guarded. In fact it still is. Incursions from other fields were repulsed vigorously. Indeed they still are. This autonomous sphere was seen as a place where art was free from the overcodes of the general economy (its own, utterly unregulated market notwithstanding) and the utilitarian rationality of market society — and as such, something be cherished and protected. This realm of autonomy was never supposed to be a comfort zone, but the place where art could develop audacious, scandalous, seditious works and ideas — which it set about doing.
However, autonomous art came at a cost — one that for many has become too much to bear. The price to pay for autonomy are the invisible parentheses that brackets art off from being taken seriously as a proposition having consequences beyond the aesthetic realm. Art judged by art’s standards can be easily written off as, well… just art. Of contemplative value to people who like that sort of thing, but without teeth. Of course autonomous art has regularly claimed to bite the hand that feeds it; but never very hard. To gain use value, to find a usership, requires that art quit the autonomous sphere of purposeless purpose and disinterested spectatorship. For many practitioners today, autonomous art has become less a place of self-determined experimentation than a prison house — a sphere where one must conform to the law of permanent ontological exception, which has left the autonomous artworld rife with cynicism.
"I repeat your name, each time different,
into sand, into moonlight.
Far off, the lake crumbles at its edges,
the sky holds out its arms."
"Things aren’t all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are works of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life."
#rainier maria rilke
#letters to a young poet
"Jacques Lacan reminds us, that in sex, each individual is to a large extent on their own, if I can put it that way. Naturally, the other’s body has to be mediated, but at the end of the day, the pleasure will be always your pleasure. Sex separates, doesn’t unite. The fact you are naked and pressing against the other is an image, an imaginary representation. What is real is that pleasure takes you a long way away, very far from the other. What is real is narcissistic, what binds is imaginary. So there is no such thing as a sexual relationship, concludes Lacan. His proposition shocked people since at the time everybody was talking about nothing else but “sexual relationships”. If there is no sexual relationship in sexuality, love is what fills
the absence of a sexual relationship.
Lacan doesn’t say that love is a disguise for sexual relationships; he says that sexual relationships don’t exist, that love is what comes to replace that non-relationship. That’s much more interesting. This idea leads him to say that in love the other tries to approach “the being of the other”. In love the individual goes beyond himself, beyond the narcissistic. In sex, you are really in a relationship with yourself via the mediation of the other. The other helps you to discover the reality of pleasure. In love, on the contrary the mediation of the other is enough in itself. Such is the nature of the amorous encounter: you go to take on the other, to make him or her exist with you, as he or she is. It is a much more profound conception of love than the entirely banal view that love is no more than an imaginary canvas painted over the reality of sex."
"Time, she says, on all sides. Without shore. We drown if we set foot in, though we’re bound to. As incurably as proton and neutron are bound to the dim world of the nucleus. And once we learn to breathe in the crash of water desire rushes in, takes hold of our smallest gesture as of a sail. But at the edge of the picture we fall. And are born. In all directions."
Rosmarie Waldrop, from Reluctant Gravities
John W. Draper’s mirror-reversed daguerreotype of the moon taken from his rooftop observatory at NYC on March 26, 1840
Obviously as technology improved, astrological observations became increasingly more accurate. With the invention of photography, astronomers could take actual photographs of the moon instead of sketches or paintings of what they observed. This blog explains the process that Draper went through to capture the image:
For his first effort, Draper made the moon’s rays pass by the reflection of a heliostat through a lens four inches in diameter and fifteen feet in focus. His allotted exposure time of 30 minutes, however, proved too long, resulting in a partially blackened, overexposed plate. Draper succeeded in capturing another image of a seventeen-day-old moon by using two lenses and exposing the plate for 45 minutes, resulting in a more distinct, detailed daguerreotype of the moon’s surface.
With Draper’s image, the age of astrophotography was launched, and astronomers had a new technology available to them to study the sky.
Source 1, 2