Saturday, February 25, 2012
(Photos Added) Aesthetic of the Lie, War of Reclamation in My Front Yard
Natural Aesthetic of the Lie
Thinking about the photographs of "rust rivers" from the film Manufactured Landscapes, I cannot help but think that Immanuel Kant is correct about aesthetics. On a formal level, the forests layered in iron ash evoked an emotion similar to looking at depictions of the early Earth - wild, untamed, raw nature. In fact, these images represent an inverted sublime where nature has been dwarfed. This sense of beauty then is objectively wrong, inappropriate, because the reality directly opposes the associated impression. Appropriateness is a reflection, or function, of truth. These scenes are beautiful because of what they seem to be rather than what they are in fact. Objectively speaking, that is the definition of a lie. Natural formal aesthetics then cannot properly be called "appropriate" in this case. But what about sunsets in smog?
Slow War of Reclamation
On another note, I was intrigued by Penny Feltner's image of the dandelion engaged in an eternal war against the industrial sidewalk - a war which nature would inevitably win if not for our constant intervention. My front yard consists of an acre or two of woods - albeit, polluted with decaying deer stands, barrels, trash. Most intriguing is a very rusted thresher lying in a stream. (I'll post a picture soon.) Over the years, nature has been reclaiming that machine while that thresher pollutes the stream. I suppose this is the appeal of Life After People, a show which is very painful to watch - that nature will have the last laugh always. Natural sublimity reasserts itself over the illusions of our own grandeur.