Thursday, November 20, 2008

359. Environmental Defense Center (EDC) Thank Goodness It's Friday (TGIF)! Fall Feast, October 10, 2008, Part 2

Photography has the capacity to capture subjects and objects in such a manner that is un-apparent to the human eye at the moment of creation--but only perceived through retroactive scrutiny and photoshop modification.

The above image was possibly the best and most peculiar image I took at the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) Thank Goodness It's Friday (TGIF) Fall Feast Event. I had jotted these notes down at the time: "Best lighting, optimal distribution of pigeonholes, capturing a mesmerizing stare of an unknown human being of optimal aesthetics. Some kind of mise-en-scene effect." So, here's some follow-up.

I am intrigued by my mind's ability to construct a "deep order" of an image that is still surrounded and immersed in chaos: the intense, seemingly meaningful stare of some random male... embedded within a matrix of white noise perturbations. I find this picture fascinating in terms of the evolutionary implications of a female mind's construction of reality in the presence of males. As if intense backdrop falls out like bunch of fumigated flies.

I don't know who the guy is--and it is beside the point--nor do I desire to know, but he is most certainly qualitifed to do high-end model shoots in Los Angeles (lucky him his genes played out to render a biological sculpture of optimal proportions). And it seemed like the ladies of the table were kind of responding: "Oh ya. Sure! Point the camera in THAT direction." It's an evolutionary instinctive tendency, isn't it?But as a photographer, I have a sense of empowerment to have the ability to pristinely capture such a moment--the ephemeral, dynamic positioning of elements crystallized and sorted to centrality by a yearning stare--captured forever?! Bingo!

The other elements surrounding this man are in great part distracting, but the peculiar sincerity and directness of the stare--topped off with a seemingly "knowing smile"?! Perhaps not in a male mind, but in a female mind, these factors allow the hierarchization and fading-away of these distractions. Very kind smile. An attempt at sincerity, if not sincere in real life. That picture made my night. Capturing ephemerality... forever!

Gawdzeeks, talk about my, random-walk, non-academic criticisms and reflections! Flippin' A! Such is the essence of EcoCritique? Eegots!

I suppose it's one of those images you wished that everyone you encountered in your daily life... you wish you could stare at each other in the face in a meaningful, penetrating manner--as if you were taking a whirlwind adventure into their minds--rather than with the gloss of an eye, as if two moving objects were blindly passing each other without any sense of motive, purpose, or conscious existence. Such is the case most of the time.

All this wine and dine, I kind of felt "caring for the environment" was in part an elitist intellectual luxury, which made me feel in part very guilty for thinking about what I do. I wouldn't be thinking about this kind of stuff on the condition that I was a starving, mal-nutritioned child in Africa. I would be thinking about my mom and my next meal. That's it. But no. In Santa Barbara, on the condition of being well-fed and having all basic resources accessible in an instantly gratifying way... there is a group of individuals who have come to care about "the environment" much farther beyond the immediate proximity of their own lives. Talk about Maslow's Ladder! It's not that it's good. Not that it's bad. It just is. I have 12 free hours of the day to think about something after my basic needs are met. I could be rotting at a dead-end job, getting addicted to tweaking whenever I had a chance. Or it's not like it's "better" to go out half-naked in the forest and beat on some drums! Or I could think and do something that is beneficial to myself, to others, to the community, and to the overall environment. So, such is an Intellectual Luxury of meditating on "the environment." At least 80% of my clothes come from Goodwill. I am surrounded by people with similar values. That is all that matters. So? Whatever--

Scrap Notes, Part 2.

In continuation of the poetic theme: "The world is going to hxll. Might as well mess with people's minds about it. The world is going to hxll. Not going to let it take me down with it."

I have encountered an intriguing, charismatic group of people who are all interested in "the environment." Yes, this amorphous thing called "the environment," whether they want to or need to "save it," or "conserve it," or "manage it," or no--err "optimally manage it," or "play and roll in it," or "lightly tread on it," or "mitigate it"--you mean "bulldoze-a-marsh-and-save-a-pond-it," or "consume it," or "produce it," or "extract it," or "distribute it," or "dump-your-less-toxic-waste-in-it," or "restore it," or "reconstruct it"--you mean "Designer-Ecosystem-It" --physically and mentally, within moderation, to whatever baseline they desire it to be--whether it is a baseline of necessity of human survival shifting along a spectrum to a mere baseline of visuacoustic emotional, "spiritual" aesthetic, to the exclusion or fusion of humanly-manufactured values and baselines in between. Everything, of course, is in moderation, even Moderation itself.

But for sure, it's a community of people who don't want to be "detached" from this thing called "the environment." These individuals are trying to find meaning, to connect with this "environment," whatever an amorphous internal TV-box-video-game construct each individual mind creates "the environment" to be.

As so we all come together to commune: "To the Environment!" As if we are all speaking the same language. As if we have some form of common perception. Which still remains a mystery to me as to whether this has been achieved, or remains a Cloak of Vagueness, Masked through the baseline of our own Verbage--err Verbosities. That, in result, can go emotionally and valuistically only so deep.

Well then. I guess I see the emergence of a few Ph.D. questions here....

Pardon my "snappy criticism" in this passage. Honestly, my attendance at EDC-TGIF did NOT inspire such a critical thought pattern, but I do say, perhaps the last dozen or so "for-the-environment" parties and shin-digs felt much like what I described above. When people communicate about environmental issues, are they really "communicating"? Or is there a barebone struggle in communication due to the fundamental vagueness of words used--nature, culture, environment, diversity, etcetera. It's a chronic problem I see ALL the time.

Three More Random Thoughts.

1. The mind is an internal landscape of interacting software and hardware programs. The challenge is to learn how to pick apart all the operations, and figure out which operations are working when and where, in resposne to what particular elements of environmental stimulation are present in your mind's construction of its surrounding environment. Why your mind tunes in, processes, and interacts with certain forms of environmental elements, and why other elements are tuned out. When and where and how your mind reaches environmental saturation in multi-tasking.

2. One time, I briefly stayed in an art lecture through the College of Creative Studies, and the instructor Graham Wakefield posed the question: is our perception of reality come in Discrete Packages of information, or is it more in a Continuum? Physics has described reality in a dualist manner--the dual-wave particle theory. One more deterministic and one more probablistic. You would think that this duality would scale out to our entire perception and interaction with reality. In part order, in part chaos, in part deterministic, in part probablistic. But not exclusively one or the other. The mind can process information in multiple different ways. Shallow processing. Deep processing. All depends on where you are at. What you will have the capacity to perceive. What you cannot perceive. My mind can process long, big chunks in the morning, but that becomes a futile endeavor later on in the day.

3. It's best to write everything out. Otherwise the ideas will come back to haunt you. ROUTINELY.

No comments: