Moving Along~

Pictured in this post’s featured image were my main companions this week ^.^ (some were more helpful than others)~

Hey~

So, this week was another productive week. In my last post, I mentioned having a schedule where I work on one of the remaining five sections of my thesis a week until I hit spring break. I’m glad to say I stuck to that schedule this week and was able to basically finish my section on Dadaism.

Now, I say “basically” because I know it’s one of those sections that’s definitely going to be focus in the proofreading/revising stage. There are some more details I want to add (but that require more reading than I was able to manage in between class and work–I picked up more hours ’cause I live in a Capitalist hell bills–this week), some concepts that need polishing, and some transitions in need of smoothing. But, the overall ideas are there.

The further I get along in my thesis, the more I’ve noticed a struggle between the writer in me–who wants to create and generate–and the perfectionist in me–who wants to pause and refine. It’s a little challenging for me to just put the ideas down on the paper and not focus so much on polishing those ideas. I don’t like to leave my work rough. But, this is the time for it. I’m in the drafting stage–in a lot of different areas of my life. Making things sound intelligent and aesthetically pleasing is not a small task but, right now, it shouldn’t be my focus. It’s been hard to let some of my rough and fraying edges show but it may be the only way to move forward.

Some of the sources I’m drawing from for the Dada section of my paper, also, are inspiring me and triggering new lines of thought. For example, in one of my sources, Destruction Was My Beatrice by Jed Rasula, there is this picture:

Entartete Kunst/ Berlin

Degenerate Art Exhibit. 1937, Munich.

I hadn’t seen this picture before but it of the Degenerate Art exhibit. This exhibit was organized by the Nazi party and was used as a way to vilify and ridicule art that they believed was “an insult” and “un-German”. 650 pieces of confiscated Dada art were a part of this exhibit, many considered masterpieces. When the Nazi party began to succumb to the Ally forces, much of the art in this exhibit was either burned, buried in underground vaults still being discovered, or otherwise destroyed. The fate of too much of the work remains unknown.

In this specific photograph, you can see that the Nazis scrawled the words “Take Dada seriously” across the walls of this exhibit. This was an original Dada slogan that the Nazis, like so many other things, twisted. When I read this, I felt this sudden pang. Not that the rest of the exhibit and its existence at all doesn’t upset but it hurt me on a different level(?) to be able to see just how much derisiveness–no, hatred–there was towards this movement and towards artists who dared to challenge the leading authorities and their world view. There’s something so malicious and downright hateful about throwing these artists words back in their faces like this–literally. Apparently, some of the artist who did not flee Europe and were able to hide actually went to this exhibit and saw their work. Hannah Hoch went more than once. I can’t even begin to imagine what she or any of the artists must’ve felt walking through that exhibit.

Dada was a way to reclaim a world gone mad but what do you do when that very same world reclaims you and calls you the mad one? The degenerate one?

The “writing on the wall” here makes me think of what’s currently happening in a lot of ways. As far as my thesis is concerned, I think there’s a similar kind of vilification of memes and of Millennial culture as a whole. Memes aren’t being rounded up to display in some “Degenerate Art 2.0” gallery yet but they are certainly being slandered across every so-called “authority”‘s platform. They’re being used as examples of the degradation of society. Many emergent forms of digital content creation are being used like this. And, Millennials can’t do a damn thing without a “Millenials are ruining [insert literally any noun, verb, or phrase]” article being posted–ironically–online.

Knowing how the Nazis used strategies like this to retain power make me, too, wonder who is benefiting from the vilification of my generation? Maybe I should wonder who isn’t though….

All this is to say that I got a lot out of the work I did this week. I got more content down for my thesis but I also got to further explore some of the ideas that have been percolating. Combing through the history of Dada is fascinating and also so illuminating. I imagine, as I continue working through my sources, that more ideas will be generated and will be able to really help me connect all of these points I’m trying to make in my thesis.

Overall, this has been a thoughtful week for me. I’m learning not to worry so much about my rough edges and, also, to really pay attention to the writing on the wall. It might spark insight.

****

~Till next time~

Advertisements

Gaining Momentum~

“Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he [she] is.” ~ Jackson Pollock

No More Just Grinding Gears

So, this has been a productive week for me.

After many weeks of stagnating on my thesis and being unable to bring myself to really write much of anything, I flew through writing almost 20 pages of content. I’ve now got several sections done and only a few more to go. That’s not to say those remaining sections will be a breeze but I’m proud of what I managed to accomplish this week. I hope this momentum continues.

This week, I focused mainly on finishing the section of my paper exploring inspirational Elit pieces for my own work and on starting and completing the digital art section. As of this morning, both can be checked off my to-do list. It’s funny. Once I re-framed what I wanted to focus on–my inspirations rather than trying to make some grand statement–the words came easily. It was like everything I had been thinking about over these past few months was finally given the go-ahead. More, I feel like I’ve got my groove back.

I feel revitalized and a bit rejuvenated. Now that some burdens are no longer weighing me down, I feel like I can finally focus on what’s important to me again. Which, right now, is my writing. It’s my project, my thesis. This subject is something I’ve been thinking about for a few years now and it’s something that genuinely interests me, makes me curious, and motivates me to what to discover and explore. It’s so frustrating that my curiosity and my motivation was tampered down for as long as it was.

wack

It’s even more frustrating that my voice at all was silenced. Like, I believe my work is important and fascinating and that it speaks to a sociocultural shift that is occurring right now and that should be documented. Even if that weren’t true, this tome is important to me. That should be enough.

I’m hoping to move forward at a steady pace from here on out. My goal is to complete the written part of my thesis by spring break, which is the second week of March. That’s about five weeks away. I have about five remaining sections to write. If I complete a section a week, I should meet my goal. I’m pretty confident that this is a goal I can meet barring any unforeseen circumstances. It would remove a lot of stress from my life as well if I did complete this part of my thesis by then. I could focus on proofreading and on the installation aspect of my thesis.

It took until now, but I’m finally feeling like I have enough content to constitute a thesis. or most of this process, I have felt like my work has been fairly inadequate. Like, I’m never doing as much as I should be. Or, I’m not finding what I should be when I should be. It’s like I’ve been experiencing a grad-school-length-lag. I’m still concerned about finding and combing through more research to support my points. Also, I’m concerned, to an extent, about my thesis being too opinionated. But, these concerns are lee pressing to me than they have been. I feel like I can see the end result and it’s enough–for me, at least. I hope that’s enough for everyone else.

This is not an easy or straightforward process and it has been very hard to get even this far. There have been so many doubts, so many that have not made it to the blog. But, I feel like I have the momentum, no, to not only see the end but get to the end. I have a plan and a schedule I feel confident I can stick to. I have a renewed sense of direction. And, I have so much support from so many amazing, wonderful people who want to see me succeed. If anything, that’s the fuel that will keep this momentum going.

bobross2

Thanks for everything always.

~Till next time~

Making A Comeback

So….

I’m back.

jokerclap

And, I’m not going to lie, I took a major break from working on my thesis over our winter recess. Some things in my personal life were really affecting me deeply and keeping me from feeling inspired or motivated to work–despite loving my subject matter. I’m not trying to make any excuses, just state reality. I was unable to find the inspiration to work for most of my break. There were many late nights spent up trying so hard to work and finding nothing but frustration and, I’ll admit, some tears. It’s not that I didn’t want to work; I couldn’t.

Towards the end of winter recess, I did begin writing some more and completing two additional sections of my thesis. I think they could be “bulked up” some but, overall, they have thoughtful ideas in them and a focus. Thinking about my thesis as more of a map of my own thinking and mapping for this project has helped me generate content. I’m less worried about making some grand statement or about impressing anyone and more concerned with making my project make sense to others. I want my own thinking to be center stage. I believe it is my perspective that makes this work compelling. More, I want to write my thesis in my own voice and with my own words. I don’t want to use recycled, academic jargon. I don’t want to be a part of some academic circle-jerk.

In this process, I’ve been really thinking about Hugo Ball’s quote, “This humiliating age has not succeeded in winning our respect” and how I want to convey that kind of tenacity and courageous belligerence through my work. Ultimately, I think it is the courageous and rebellious spirit of Dadaism and new forms of digital content creation that resonates with me and, I believe, with others. That’s a large part of where the connection lies. These emergent, digital expressions like Eliterature, memes, shitposting, etc. are our responses to the utter bullshit the world has become in so many ways. This is how we sass the powers that be. This is how we snark. How we rebel. How we drag the powers that be back down into the dirt and dust they left us in and remind them that we are still here and those powers that be have NOT earned a speck of our respect. Perhaps its pathological but it’s definitely ideological.

The more I read and the more I think about this subject matter the more compelled I am to believe that this is a revolutionary shift in thinking and in creating. Online spaces and the digital realm have provided us with so much opportunity and resource to unionize. Ideas are powerful in these spaces. They can have real world impact. I think it is so important now more than ever to understand that and to want to understand how. That’s what I feel like I am doing with my work. More, it feels like I’m trying to develop this new analytical lens to look at content like this because, quite frankly, I think our traditional lenses are antiquated and not super suited to do this job. I hope that by combining a literary lens with an art historical one, there can be new understanding. There can be a new recognition and appreciation of meaning.

So often, new forms of creating are dismissed for not being “meaningful” enough. Especially content like memes and gifs and shitposting–they’re all discounted and dismissed as being another meaningless aspect of Millennial culture. It’s insulting. Also, it’s ignorant and negligent and seems to be the powers that be trying desperately to neutralize a challenge to their power. Trying to stave off a challenge to the establishment.

But, I don’t think it’s working. And, I think those powers know that.

New forms of content creation are how we communicate with each other now. They are how we express our feelings of pride and contempt. They have become conduits , deeply embedded with rich and diverse meaning. If they seem like challenges to the powers that be, that’s because they are. These symbols say “we know what’s going on”. They say “we know and f*ck you for thinking we wouldn’t”.

Maybe I’m projecting some of my own feelings onto this medium but I think that, if even half of what I’m saying applies to this subject, then that is noteworthy and it is sure as hell meaningful.

I was beaten down at the beginning of this break but, after everything and remembering Hugo Ball’s words, I’m back up on my feet and ready to take some swings at the establishment. I’m ready to fight back. Bite back. I’m pissed that I let anything stop me from doing what I love to do–writing and calling out assh*les for being assh*les. For only seeing garbage where’s there’s solid gold.

Best believe I’m making a comeback and coming for the crown.

This humiliating age has not succeeded in winning my respect. That’s for damn sure.

****

Down nine times but I get up ten.

~Till next time~