Mixing Mediums in Expressive Art
Ansel Adams in 1930 had been training to become a concert pianist while considering a career as a photographer. He decided, after seeing the photographs by Paul Strand, that “the camera, not the piano, would shape [his] destiny.”
His mother and aunt both pleaded, “Do not give up the piano! The camera cannot express the human soul!”
To which Adams replied, “The camera cannot, but the photographer can.”
| Ansel Adams – in “Black & White Magazine for Collector of Fine Photography” October 2000, Page: 76
In my blog post “Communicating The Message” published on Oct 25, 2019, I talked about music and compared it with photography. What if we combine both mediums to shape the message further?
As expressive artists we want to express how we react to an environment. Activities such as painting, drawing, sculpturing, photographing, printmaking, composing, singing, writing or acting allow the expression of personal emotions and thoughts. Whenever we react to something, we may start searching the essence of it in our soul, its meaning emerging from our heart and frame it with our mind. This is central to the idea of expressive art.
All expressive art forms seem to have similar ingredients: A foundation of structure, patterns, shapes, lines, form, tone, color and texture. They form the building blocks or visual elements in the corresponding art form. All these elements interact and play in creating a symphony of the total. The whole should therefore be more than the sum of its parts. The elements can be unified, ambiguous or even contradictory to emphasize this overall message of the whole. It is within the artist’s hands to compose the orchestra of the elements and ensure that their interplay underlines the intended message.
As visual artists, we may recognize that a photograph alone will leave too many options open for the audience to finalize the work. In these circumstances, we may want to add other mediums to our photograph. The photograph in itself may touch one’s heart through the immediacy of a scene, its atmosphere, its layers of signification, the light and the colors. Written text accompanying a photograph supports framing and interpretation of it and may be therefore suitable to demand the mind. Music speaks the language of the soul. Music always impacts and rarely fails.
When I was young, I studied poems and was very fascinated by their construction, their melodies, metaphors and memorized moments. I learned many poems and celebrated with friends to present them feast fully. And recognized how poets used text as a cognitive tool to create an emotional response.
Later on, I studied music at the college. Music has been my passion since I am able to remember. Again, I discovered how structure as a cognitive element addresses my heart emotionally. Playing Bach’s work structure for example is so evident and beautiful.
These days, it seems that I just changed the medium and am working with photography. While poems, and music are very impactful, there is nothing so memorable than a photograph (or a video). It just seems that life calls me to test-ride the different muses with the unexpressed task of finding myself. It seems like a Siddartha-esk path along the river.
The word „to muse“ stands for considering something thoughtfully. In the Ancient Greek mythology, the nine muses symbolize the arts and sciences and serve as artist’s inspiration. How funny it is that me being a scientist I now recognize the beauty of all the different muses playing together in harmony. The more I work with them, the more grows the intent of combining them in a single work. It seems already confirmed. It is only a question of time.
Who knows, may be this jointedness creation of expressive art by combing the channels of text, photograph and music will be my future next step? Who knows. Life is exciting.
As an inspiration for this week, I’d like to invite you listening into the work of Eric Whitacre. He created something outstandingly beautiful and pure by combining music and co-created video. It has started many years ago when Eric invited his friends and followers to send him a video in which they sing a pre-conceptualized song. He then synchronized and combined all videos into a single performance. The Virtual Choir was created, a user-generated content choir joining music lovers around the world. Below, you’ll find the link to the Virtual Choir 1: Lux Aurumque and the link to his website: https://ericwhitacre.com/.
How touching it is when mankind stands together and share their love.
Whitacre, Eric, The Virtual Choir, https://ericwhitacre.com/, last accessed 06022020.