Posts Tagged 'art'

The Photographer

The Photographer: Into War-Torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders

story and photos – Didier Lefèvre    writing and art – Emmanuel Guibert   layout and colors – Frédéric Lemencier

Alexis Siegel – English Translator              all images © 2009 by First Second

"Me? But I've Never Shot at Anything."

The Photographer plays around with the hoary trope that shooting guns and shooting cameras are roughly equivalent. But Guibert, Lefèvre, and Lemencier do not resurrect the trope for nothing; they frame the camera’s complicity as part of a larger narrative about Western responsibility toward the rest of the world.

Continue reading ‘The Photographer’

A question about network theory and nu-social networks

I’m currently reading a biography of the California artist Robert Irwin, best known for his conceptual and environmental art. I’ll try to post a recap when I’m done. Early in his career he spent a lot of time in LA artist collective Ferus, whose members continually groused and obsessed over their peers in the New York art world.

This reminisce reminds me of my limited experience with network theory, the body of work contending that social networks create the only truly successful period. Network theory’s mainstream spokesman is probably Richard Florida, but I’m better acquainted with Randall Collins’s mammoth The Sociology of Philosophies, which argues that there are no great lone thinkers, no posthumous geniuses. Our body of intellectual achievement comes out of coteries and salons: think Bloomsbury, think Left Bank, think Vienna Circle.* Brilliant loners usually belonged to social networks whose members history has largely forgotten.

I’m entering a weird period in my life in which just about all of my friendships are maintained online. I often use in-person social networks as a spur to my intellect, and worry about what happens to my mental acuity in a vacuum. Do online social networks provide the same benefit that Collins’s examples did? Will the next artists’ group arise on Google Wave? What do you think?

*I should probably mention that Collins girds his argument with many case studies from Asian social networks as well–his thesis is not restricted to the West or to modernity.


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August 2020