isozyme: iron man getting thrown through the air by an explosion (Default)
[personal profile] isozyme
When I first conceived of my art museum for everyone, I thought mostly about Modern Art (yeah, the kind with the capital letters that's specifically from about 1910 to 1980-ish, not the recent stuff that the pretentious among us, me included, call Contemporary). It's what I have the most complete background in, and it's probably the most hated of all art genres, except maybe performance.

But the older stuff deserves to be treated right too. Museums treat the old masters like treasures or sources of historical factoids, but they're also art. Monet's paintings are beautiful, but they're also the product of an intellectual obsession: LIGHT.

(More days than not, I believe that all famous art is produced by obsession.)



Here are three of the thirty paintings Monet made of the cathedral in Rouen, trying to capture the light.

Monet would set up ten canvases in front of the cathedral, moving from painting to painting as the sun rose and fell. Every day, he would paint from dawn until dusk. It makes sense as soon as you hear it, that he worked in this way. The noon light only exists for a short time. If he painted each canvas one by one, he could only work an hour a day.

The great tragedy of Monet's thirty paintings of the Rouen cathedral is that he felt they fell short. He was never satisfied; he went home to his garden defeated by the play of light on stone. "Things don’t advance sensibly, primarily because each day I discover something that I hadn’t seen before. […] In the end, I am trying to do the impossible," he wrote to his wife Alice.

So how do you capture this level of devotion to the sunlight in a museum?

I would, of course, put his words on the wall, not in tiny font but in a big panel; along with photographs of the cathedral.

I'd want big, blown-up close-ups of the brushstrokes, showing the texture and the color. It would be lovely to see the brush strokes on the actual painting in front of you large enough to pick out the indentations of the paintbrush's bristles. Let's also put examples of the paints he used next to this macro view. A lot of Monet's colors are mixed on the canvas or straight out of the tube because stirring the paint together muddies the pure color. Show it directly; point out the colors next to each other in Monet's painting, next to the same paints mixed together. Is it dull?

Further investigating the impossibility of capturing light on a canvas, I would include lasers. Lasers are the purest, most intense of colors. The hot blue of the 405 nm wavelength can't be reproduced in paint. Put every blue pigment we have next to that laser, and maybe we can feel Monet's frustration at how faded they look.

But the most important thing to me is to convince everyone who looks at Monet's cathedrals is that the thing he was seeing was real. The light really is radically different on a February dawn compared to a March afternoon.  I imagine a scale model of the cathedral, with tiny versions of Monet's ten easels standing before it.  And above it, a light on an animatronic boom.  Let the viewer push a button for each time of day, and watch the light pass over the cathedral.  (It would be a hell of a design challenge to make this model effectively capture a complex enough lighting environment, but also would be worth it.)  I'd want to help people see that light can be colors, without cheapening it with a tinted bulb.  Above each button I would put a small reproduction of the corresponding painting by Monet.  The soft blue of his shadow -- can you see it in the same place on the model?  Are you convinced that the dusky hue isn't better captured in grey?  That's what I want people to see.


nonfiction brain-bug

20 April 2019 10:37
isozyme: iron man getting thrown through the air by an explosion (Default)
[personal profile] isozyme
 would anyone be interested in, say, hypothetically, a 3000 word informal, no-jargon, bio-beginner-friendly essay about the evolution of why does biological sex exist (why are male and female even a thing!) and how the sex binary does a piss-poor job at describing nature?

i definitely haven't already written half of this and done a ton of research into fungi reproduction

could i sell it somewhere?  post it on medium?  would y'all like to read it here?  pls indicate interest y/n







fungi reproduction is really interesting, they've tried all SORTS of wild stuff.  god bless the primitive eukaryote.


Dæmonology: The Magicians

23 April 2019 22:15
joking: button that says "move, I'm gay" (Default)
[personal profile] joking
I've been dealing with my anguish over the Magicians finale (for those followers who don't know about it and want a round-up, try this post) by writing a Magicians dæmon AU. I might as well blog the process of figuring out the characters’ dæmons, since lots of my followers are interested in how I do dæmonology. So here goes nothing!

(Be aware: this post is long as hell.)

Quentin )Eliot and Margo )

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