what is arcadia?

Posted by Eric Dymond | Thu Jan 25th 2007 11:01 p.m.

Arcadia has become an important thread in recent painting and photography.
Even the old guardists Donald Kuspitt and Thomas McEvilley seem to yearn for an idyl based upon Virgil.
How is it that when we reach the point of no return, we end up turning back to the ideal existence?
Is new media realism? Are the conservative arts idealistic?
Are there any idyllic new media projects out there?
Is the painful use of nostalgia too hard to handle?
Well, not that it matters, but the other plastic arts are embracing Virgils daughters as if there were a shortage of virgins out there.
Something to think about on a very cold night in Canada.
Eric
  • Michael Szpakowski | Fri Jan 26th 2007 3:16 a.m.
    This is an interesting question.
    I'm uncomfortable with the equation (which I'm not
    saying you're making, but which I think is prevalent)
    between pastoral/arcadia & conservatism.
    For me, as someone who has spent half a life being
    relatively politically active it represents
    (1) a utopian aspiration..not directly..I'm *not*
    saying "back to nature" or anything so crude...( crude
    & *dangerous* too, of course, see Heidegger)
    (2) a glimpse of those parts of our lives that are not
    determined or colonised by the market..often tied up
    with childhood memories..when anything seemed possible
    (as indeed it *should* be, for *everyone*)
    (3) A defence of nature - of its beauties of how there
    does seem to be a fairly universal ease, joy,
    enriching that human beings find in it, & also of how
    our lives depend still upon a truce with it- against
    the depredations of capital.. war, pollution,
    unplanned market-led development..global warming...

    Ironically, I often find work that is praised for its
    brutal realism, its address of the political, to be
    the most likely to engender passivity.."if things are
    this terrible what can we, who are so small, possibly
    do?" but to have my recollection of how the world can
    be a wonderful place for human beings jogged makes me
    want to fight tooth & nail to defend & extend that...

    But I'm not calling, manifesto like, for an engaged
    art that places the pastoral/arcadian/utopian at its
    centre- I think that would probably be monstrous...
    just to say -again- art worth its salt is rich and
    complex and does lots of things....
    michael

    --- Eric Dymond <dymond@idirect.ca> wrote:

    > Arcadia has become an important thread in recent
    > painting and photography.
    > Even the old guardists Donald Kuspitt and Thomas
    > McEvilley seem to yearn for an idyl based upon
    > Virgil.
    > How is it that when we reach the point of no return,
    > we end up turning back to the ideal existence?
    > Is new media realism? Are the conservative arts
    > idealistic?
    > Are there any idyllic new media projects out there?
    > Is the painful use of nostalgia too hard to handle?
    > Well, not that it matters, but the other plastic
    > arts are embracing Virgils daughters as if there
    > were a shortage of virgins out there.
    > Something to think about on a very cold night in
    > Canada.
    > Eric
    > +
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    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • Erika Lincoln | Fri Jan 26th 2007 7:38 a.m.
    Here is a question. In the vein of arcadia, would either of you or anyone else out there consider the work "The Milk Project" by Esther Polak & Ieva Auzina to be pastoral, and I am not refering to the actual place but rather the ideas behind the work.

    http://www.behindthescene.org/artefact-172-en.html
  • Steve OR Steven Read | Fri Jan 26th 2007 9:35 a.m.
    Arcadia is a little town in Florida. When I was a kid, someone told me that the town was filled with hundreds of arcades. Video Game Arcades, that is. I believed them. I was convinced the town was a mecca for it. I dreamed about it, and then someone told me it was not true. Such is life.
    Steven
    http://www.stevenread.com
  • Eric Dymond | Fri Jan 26th 2007 10:02 a.m.
    The project has pastoral elements, and as Michael mentioned above, there is a respect for conservation. In one section of the site I found an interesting comment:

    "In the process, they investigate the significance of things like craftsmanship, identity, solidarity, symbolism, ritual, and globalisation. These are timely themes that influence the ways in which we live and work. "

    But I don't see the longing I mentioned above, in fact the process is very realistic in connecting source and destination.
    Thanks for the link.
    Eric
  • Erika Lincoln | Sat Jan 27th 2007 6:25 a.m.
    Eric, how about giving some examples of recent work that reflects your statements.
  • Eric Dymond | Sat Jan 27th 2007 10:54 p.m.
    I can't think of one single New Media work that distributes Arcadian ideals.
    That points out the forward looking nature of New Media.
    It can't embrace Arcadia the way Gornik, Fischl, Berlind and numerous other artists in old media embrace the past, esp. that generation.
    Is it Neo-Classicism in a new coat? well who knows at this juncture. But the folding in that Danto and Kuspitt bemoan is a door to new ideas for the DIY worker.
    I like the way other established artists from the past continue to grow and explore, Artschwagger, Ruscha and Richter.
    Well these are all older artists, looking towards retirement I guess, but it's the ones that keep opening new worlds that keep me interested.
    Kuspitt and Danto and the rest have surrendered.
    No need for that in distributed art.
    Eric
  • Zev Robinson | Sun Jan 28th 2007 1:57 a.m.
    we're all neo classicists one way or another because we all have a (visual)
    history informed and influenced by classicism. A true understanding and
    absorption of that (as opposed to stylistic borrowings) never hindered
    artists from being innovative. Reubens, Rembrandt, Cezanne, Picasso,
    Tarkovsky, to name but a few.

    past/future is a false dichotomy.

    Zev

    Zev Robinson
    www.artafterscience.com
    www.zrdesign.co.uk

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Eric Dymond" <dymond@idirect.ca>
    To: <list@rhizome.org>
    Sent: Sunday, January 28, 2007 6:54 AM
    Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: what is arcadia?

    >I can't think of one single New Media work that distributes Arcadian
    >ideals.
    > That points out the forward looking nature of New Media.
    > It can't embrace Arcadia the way Gornik, Fischl, Berlind and numerous
    > other artists in old media embrace the past, esp. that generation.
    > Is it Neo-Classicism in a new coat? well who knows at this juncture. But
    > the folding in that Danto and Kuspitt bemoan is a door to new ideas for
    > the DIY worker.
    > I like the way other established artists from the past continue to grow
    > and explore, Artschwagger, Ruscha and Richter.
    > Well these are all older artists, looking towards retirement I guess, but
    > it's the ones that keep opening new worlds that keep me interested.
    > Kuspitt and Danto and the rest have surrendered.
    > No need for that in distributed art.
    > Eric
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
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