During hack day—a day devoted to trying things and exploring ideas at Automattic—I created Tonesque, a script that allows you to get an average color representation from an image. It’s inspired by the Duotone theme, but I wanted to make something much easier to integrate with any theme. It also uses a bit of a different color processing logic. I’m putting it to test here for my image posts to see how well it behaves.
También escribo en Español
No matter how many times you board a plane, there is always something peculiar that draws your curiosity. I think it’s a good thing to keep a sense of awe for all the things that occur around us—I’m still impressed by the fact we are flying through the skies.
There is something unique about Federico Fellini, the immense Italian filmmaker, that is elusive. Why is he one of cinema’s greatest artists? Take “La Strada”, or “Amarcord” and you can tell he has this plastic exuberance trying —sometimes desperately— to get out. The images, the pictorial quality of the frame. And the cadence, the flow of time. There is a fervor that stays with you long after you finished watching the films.
I think Ingmar Bergman gave the most eloquent impression of him as an artist.
He is enormously intuitive. He is intuitive; he is creative; he is an enormous force. He is burning inside with such heat. Collapsing. Do you understand what I mean? The heat from his creative mind, it melts him. He suffers from it; he suffers physically from it. One day when he can manage this heat and can set it free, I think he will make pictures you have never seen in your life. He is rich. As every real artist, he will go back to his sources one day. He will find his way back.
About a year ago I made an exhibition with some of my photography called “Pictures”. For that exhibition I wrote a small accompanying text in Spanish. Here it goes:
Someone once said that judgement ought to be always positioned well above a piece of work for it to be truly good. Yet again, this judgement doesn’t mean adding futilities to what is, ultimately, a picture. It matters perhaps in the moment of its creation, for the author, not in its displaying for the viewer.
The pictures that form this exhibition don’t share a properly delineated theme. They may hold their own, or not, by themselves, yet there is no message a priori to bond or shield them.
Even though an image suggests and conveys endless thoughts, it shouldn’t for that matter declaim them; nor need an orator to guide it. This would make it, at best, infinitely less interesting, and at worst, dangerously deceiving. When art becomes speech, and turns its eyes upon itself, then it becomes art for the sake of art. Something it never was, nor intended to be.
The text as a simultaneous offering to the work is already excessive. Even superfluous. It’s about another reflection, another medium, for some other moment. Its inclusion risks having none: nor reflection, nor exhibition. In this regard, when the concern is contemplating the work, like every text that’s created specifically for an exhibition, it shouldn’t deserve too much attention. Only enough. And from a distance.
We live in a peculiar moment of the arts, one that has been developing since the late eighteenth century, one that bonds discourse with the aesthetic act of creating art, in one keen combination. During the avant-garde the work of art became in itself a manifest of what art should be. Art was starting to be self-conscious and concerned about its own nature.
Now, a century after those practices, the art world finds itself congratulating so called conceptual works that have one distinct quality—so to speak. They are shielded in their duality against most valorizations! When confronted with an aesthetic reprimand they are quick to point that what matters in the work is the message, and if one were to criticize said message on account of its vacuity they would hence reply: “It’s art in the end, not a treatise!”
So the potential lack of aesthetic value is shielded by the fact it carries a “message”, and the potential unsophisticated naivety of said message is shielded by the fact it’s a “plastic” expression and not a thoughtful treatise. What magnificent protection against all possible critic! The result being, that excellence isn’t required because the piece in its ambivalence can be whatever we’d like it to be. And it’d be fine.
I’m not going to write about why I don’t write. That would defeat any stance of honesty. On principle. And it’s quite evident, it would just mean going after windmills with a dragon’s valor. There’s no reason in denying that. Yet again, the fact still is—I like to write. But perhaps more revealingly, I quite enjoy reading. And that’s known. If you don’t read, you can’t properly write.
Now, all things considered, I’m usually valiantly writing. And I can agree with that. In practice. That practice is the beehive of any achievement. No matter how inspired it may dress up as the charm of a unique instant. No matter how mischievously romantic it tries to mask itself to the unwary. In the end, it always flows the same—to create is, essentially, to repeat.
What’s the genealogy of a written thought? That’s a wrong start. Never start at the beginning. For that we call experience—who has the time for that? The fundamental will—to write. That is often misleading, for there is a more primeval thing we ought to do from deep within—which is to look. Even before thinking, we have to look. Where have we looked recently? For we read, and we look, and we write. All curiosity is bound to it.
But it’s vague. That is to say, in what direction? In what direction ought we look? Since this is but a path of many… Nevertheless, I have no doubt that behind all of this there is a fine seriousness, a modest, dauntlessly hard work for which we aspire. Perhaps even collectively. And it’s quite reassuring that a genuine cheerfulness is to be found—if not at the end, then at the turn of the path. Have you ever heard the echo of such a tune before? It’s not silence, but it very much looks like it. At least from the outside, since in its innermost cave it’s quite the opposite. So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.
We are back to our problem, where all lengthy things require grace. Not a pompous one—that’s not truly useful. It’s the grace of knowing that nothing is really completed until it becomes the very action of doing. And with it, it carries its essential joy. Which is to say, its very shape. Then all is fine—we can sit back. We can contemplate. And how have we forsaken the act of contemplating! Most likely unwillingly. But as most unwilling reactions, it’s a dangerous one.
Contemplate, and repeat. In the end, it can be, because it still is. Such is the way of it. Creation is tied to the time of the act itself. Completion is then nothing but some sort of stoic abandonment. The renounce of the ongoing practice of doing. That’s not what we seek. We seek better. That’s why I’m not going to write about why I don’t write. In the end, who wouldn’t prefer a status line devoid of flamboyant wit?—: “I should write more“.
With this attempt, I strive to make the reading experience a tad more focused. I also got to redesign the picture gallery display with something more flexible and appealing —to me, naturally—, while still making use of WordPress core galleries.
The less friction towards content input should mean, theoretically, more content in the end; or perhaps better content. (That has proven to be a great value with the picture gallery, since it is quite easy to upload a new picture and populate that section without having to edit any code at all.)
I redesign this place more often
than I write on it.