This morning, a friend posted a picture of William Eggleston's photograph, "Memphis (Tricycle)", asking "Is this photographic art worth $578,500?" The overwhelming response seems to be no. I took a very different view, which a co-worker summed up nicely, reflecting that the picture captured very nicely the 1970's suburban zeitgeist.
With that, I'm trying to capture some of my reactions. One thought is of William Carlos Williams famous poem, "Red Wheelbarrow" which starts off simply, "so much depends upon a…". It is a very simple poem that captures a compelling image. In Williams' case, it was a red wheelbarrow. In Eggleston's case, it was a rusty blue trike.
The tricycle is from Memphis, but it also made me think of a great song by David Glaser, "House in Baltimore".
our days fled like a passing summer storm
In that little house in Baltimore
The song, like the imagist poem and the image from the photograph beautifully captures the 1970's suburban zeitgeist.
Doing a little more research, I found an article about the auction where the photograph fetched over half a million dollars. Christie's auction of Eggleston prints nets $5.9 million.
Benefiting the trust, the rare public sale of Eggleston’s work marked the first time his photos have been sold in an oversize format. Combining some of the 72-year-old photographer’s most famed works, along with selection of lesser-known images, each was produced in 60-by-44 inch size and utilized a new color printing process allowing for high quality reproductions
There is a big difference between a rare 60-by-44 inch print and a 607x419 pixel image embedded in a Facebook page. And how much does knowing the place of the photograph in history change the perceived value? The Wikipedia article about William Eggleston provides important additional context to the place of Eggleston's work in the history of photographic art.
The discussion drifted to another dimension. Catherine asked, "Does it help you look at the way you live or see the world?" That is the interesting question to me, along with variants. I asked, "what aspects of the photograph bring it the most value?" Another person had a curious comment, "Art has nothing to deliver to recipients!". They went on to talk about the folly of asking "an 'Off-Art'-Public about the 'Worth' of Art".
I was uncomfortable with these comments. Is art only for an elite cognoscenti, and if art has nothing to deliver, does it have any purpose or value?
Yet returning to Catherine's question about helping people look at the way they live or see the world, I think Eggleston photograph, as well as Catherine's Facebook post, helps people with these issues. Perhaps this blog post, too, will cause someone to stop and think.
I finally got a chance to watch the next lecture in the Yale Theory of Literature online course. During the lecture, Professor Fry makes a reference to an autodidact in Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. The word jumped out at me since my viewing of these lectures is autodidactic. In fact, part of what has always drawn me to the Internet has been the great potential for autodidacticism. I always enjoyed searching out content that I could glean some new knowledge from. Perhaps it is part of an older form of autodidacticism, my love of wandering in libraries, randomly selecting articles in encyclopedias to read and similar pursuits.
Later, I started reading an essay by Hans-Georg Gadamer about hermeneutics. Yet between some undiagnosed ADD and simply being tired from a long day of work, I couldn't sink my teeth into the essay. So, I resumed my wandering autodidacticism. After all, how does hermeneutics relate to my work as a social media manager, blogger, father, husband activist or aspiring writer?
I briefly looked at some of the RSAnimate videos on YouTube, yet that was still a little too close to the thoughts about hermeneutics. Where could I learn new signifiers and gather new thoughts and ideas to weave together into something of my own.
I spent a little time thinking about mind-bending films, and perhaps I'll spend some more time watching some of them sometime soon. However, with the day almost over, I wanted something quicker to engross myself in. So, I found some Haim June Paik videos on YouTube. This led me to some Phillip Glass, and from there I was off into other experimental videos.
I'm not sure how where this leads to next or how it will all come together, but it did give me pause to think about my interactions on various social media sites. How are they feeding my autodidacticism? What do I really get out of the interactions? And what to the people that read me get out of it?
For nearly four years, Fiona has been doing an Internet based radio show on Blogtalkradio. Earlier this month, she interviewed Jen Alexander about Middnight on Main, a big New Year's Eve celebration in Middletown, CT.
I've been working to help promote the event and I asked if Fiona could get a press pass. Everyone agreed, so she will be attending the celebration as a journalist. She is very excited.
We've spent time pouring over the list of great bands and other performances, as well as the food trucks and other wonderful eating opportunities. I've tweaked Kim's phone to make it easier for Fiona to tweet and blog and do interviews from Kim's phone.
I've also set up some new pages for Fiona. She is too young to have a Facebook account according to their terms of service. However, an older person can set up a Facebook page for her, so I've set up Facebook Fan Page. I also set up a page on about.me to make it easier to find some of her postings.
With that, it is time for us to rush out and begin the festivities and the coverage.
#ff @MiddnightOnMain @InnatMiddletown @jenfromkidcity @MattJPugliese @Oddfellowsplay @SteveSongs @slambovia @JohnWhelanMusicSubmitted by Aldon Hynes on Fri, 12/30/2011 - 20:59
This week's Follow Friday List is focused on Middnight On Main, a New Year's Eve celebration in Middletown, CT. I've been working a lot with Middnight on Main and want to highlight some of the other folks involved.
The @InnatMiddletown is where many people that are coming a long distance for Middnight on Main will be staying. @JenfromKidCity is one of the people who helped organize Middnight on Main and has been on various radio and television shows talking about the events.
Joining Jen on some of these broadcasts has been @MattJPugliese who heads up @Oddfellowplay Both KidsCity and Oddfellows Playhouse are important venues in Middnight on Main.
One of the performers that will appeal greatly to the younger set is @SteveStongs. Steve performs on PBS as has quite a following. Gandalf Murphy (@slambovia) is another group with a large following. I've often heard them at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.
Rounding out the list is @JohnWhelanMusic who performs Irish music and Catie Talarski (@scuttlebuttt) from WNPR who will be hosting the Radio Adventure Theatre.
A lot of great things to listen to and do at Middnight on Main, and I didn't even mention the food….
Recently, I've been doing more and more with Spotify, and I'm really liking it. It shares to Facebook and last.fm. If you go to my timeline on Facebook, you can see a nice overview of what I've been listening to and get more details if you click on the Music tab. Yet some of the statistics are questionable.
Last.fm has some similar statistics. I don't have a strong opinion about one verses the other. However, Spotify also has a Last.fm app, which provides some nice recommendations based on what I've been listening to. The recommendations seem pretty good, so I'm playing some recommendations.
There are other Spotify Apps, such as for connecting to Tunewiki, so you can sing along to the lyrics, or a mood radio to select music based on your mood. Now, mashing up last.fm and mood radio might be good, so I can have recommendations based on what I've liked when I've been in different moods.
The other thing I've been doing a lot is experimenting with playlists. For example, I've been helping promote Middnight on Main, a New Year's Eve Festival that will be happening in Middletown, CT on the 31st. So, I created a Middnight on Main Spotify Playlist of various performers that will be there.
I also created a playlist of the Falcon Ridge Most Wanted 2012 performers.
You can also check out what other friends on Facebook have been listening to or have put in their playlists. So far, I haven't found much of interest there yet. So, are you doing anything interesting with Spotify?