New Russian Chronicles
Surviving monotaxocausofilia

M.C. Escher (rap unrelated)

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Recently I went to see the Escher exhibition in Rome, at Chiostro del Bramante. Go there if you can, it’s a lovely place. And the cafe upstairs has many reserved, discreet niches where you can get down to all kinds of nasty business, mostly undisturbed. Well, that’s what a friend told me.

Escher is very amazing, and has many more things than I ever realized, but one of the self-potraits really hit me. It made me weak in the knees.

Let me explain.

I think that one defining characteristic of human existence is that we are trapped inside our heads. We (whatever “we” are), we are inside our heads, and receive all stimulae indirectly, through our senses. Senses that have this tendency to lie to us. We can’t really trust them. But that’s a tangent. An interesting one but a tangent. (and also, deciding that because senses lie to us al that is worthwhile is pure intellect is silly. You won’t pick up a lot of chicks/dudes that way).

Anyhow, if we accept that we are trapped inside our heads, that we will never, ever be able to enter into true contact with other people because there is that unsurmountable barrier, the skin, if we accept that we will never manage to explain the full extent of what we are… we get to art.

Do you want to know more? Click here. I promise you will find it fascinating.

EDIT: FUUUUUUUCK FUCK FUCK There’s a second part!! And it’s even more mindblowing. HERE.

That’s how I see art, any kind of art. One of it’s primary functions is, precisely, to let the artist express himself, express about himself, in ways that words simply could not reach. Poetry is more than words for that reason, and a painting is more than an image.

Let’s not forget that we are so utterly trapped inside our heads that everything becomes more about us than about external stimulae. It’s like projection in psychology. Because every single stimulae is filtered through our experience, and our reaction is filtered through our experience and our experience is filtered through our experience, what we get from art, from books, from films, from conversations with friends…. are much more about what we are, than about what those things are, “objectively”.

And then a work of art is all about the author, it is a distilled spoonfull of what the author has inside. Given to you so you might know the author a little better. And also, so that the author can get those things (usually burning, unnamed and difficult things) out of his chest/head.

I know there’s a taoist quote exactly about this but I can’t recall it and find it.

With all that big wall 0′ text, you may now look at this painting you already know. And try to see it as I saw it the other day.


This is a work of art…. about art itself.

The author, filling the center of the painting, and most of the substantial part of it. Watching the author, and his/her circumstances around him/her

The spectator, suddenly thrown in the position of the artist. Seeing through the eyes of the artist.

Am I making any sense today?

The croods. ooooooooooooooh the Crudes! Now I get the title.

The croods is a funny cartoon, and you can also read it a a metaphore for adolescence. The girl wants to try new and better things, the dad is bent on being conservative and NOT trying new things. So it goes into a tangent about technology and embracing it, but it’s also about boys and how the dad is protective of his children.  I mean, cool and all.

Two comments:

– Although one could understand it as waxing on the value of adapting to the environment, the film could also be understood to wax about how technology will save us, and that is something I am sceptic about. But I will write about that later, since I was at the Maker Fair of Rome, recently.

– This film has made me realize that films, but specially cartoons, have very, VERY rich world of visual puns that I’d like to talk about at some point. One of them is in the very post about The Croods. You probably got it.


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