March 17, 2005

"Americanization and Expressionism"...and much, much more

I agree with Amanda on this one--I had no idea what expressionism was until I read "The Americanization of Expressionism: The Hairy Ape (1922) and The Adding Machine (1923)" written by Dr. Jerz. It simply means an artist is showing their feelings--expressing themselves (you can look at Amanda's blog for further details on this term). I also found out from Wikipedia that "expressionism centers on the artists vision rather than on the viewers impression."

This chapter speaks of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which was created in 1919, and describes it as "the first to aspire to an artistic, rather than photorealistic, vision of the world."

Throughout reading this, I would have never guessed that what our class was reading earlier, such as "The Great Figure" and "To Brooklyn Bridge," was related to the changing of technology or the representation of "technologocal monuments."

After reading the fan site on The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari I thought it was interesting that in this story, Dr. Caligari thought it would be an interesting test if he could get one of his patients to commit murder.

(Just a note: after reading the explaination from Wikipedia on The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, I realized that the expressionism of the film was similar in Metropolis. Metropolis had harsh lighting as well to get some of the ideas across-interesting)

I learned from Wikipedia that "German Expressionism is dotted with dark images, sharp contrasting figues, jagged geometry..." This is exactly what I viewed while watching Metropolis as well.

I know I'm switching the topic, but think that the Wired 7.11: Blast From the Past was sort of cool. There was a composer who was listening to an older composer's, George Antheil, music who had never heard his masterpiece performed. I found that to be interesting. There is also the fact thrown in about how there needs to be the efficient technology to be able to perform it, which is what we now have. Of all Antheil's trys, he just couldn't seem to get his performance the way he wanted it performed. I would think that Antheil would be proud that Paul Lehrman was taking the time to use technology to get his Ballet mécanique performed the way he originally wanted it to be.

I then learned that Antheil's work wasn't fully performed until 1999 from The Ballet mécanique page. The reason this wasn't performed fully back when Antheil wrote it. was because "the technology to synchronize 16 player pianos together simply didn't exist." And as for the film, well there were some communication problems at first, but according to About the film Ballet mécanique, "Pulitzer Price-winning critic Lloyd Schwartz, of the Boston Phoenix, was the first reviewer to see the film, and he pronounced it 'brilliant.'"

As I read "The experimental seduction of mechanistic modernism in Eugene O'Neil's 'Dynamo' and the Federal Theatre Project's 'Alters of steel'" by Dennis Jerz, I found out a little more detail about the film Ballet mécanique. It states that "gears and wheels (i.e. components of machines) alternate with shots of women's eyes, lips, hats, and shoes (i.e. components of a sexualised woman)." I also learned that "Antheil's symphony mimics the sounds of a machine breaking down." I thought that was kind of cool.

Posted by Anne Stadler at March 17, 2005 10:00 PM | TrackBack
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