Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Santa Monica

I Will Buy You A New Life

Volvo Driving Soccer Mom

Friday, September 26, 2008

Docetism and the Sculpture of Rodin

Auguste Rodin was one of, if not the greatest sculptor of the Modern art era. The other day I was reading about one of his most famous works The Burghers of Calais (1897-98). The work is pivotal for several reasons. First it is a sculpture in the round with figures and movement in all directions. This is a novel movement for Modernism. The real profundity of the piece is that Rodin had hoped to place the figures directly on the ground, a certainly radical move at the time. Rodin claimed his original plan had been to “fix my statues one behind the other on the stones of the place, before the Town Hall of Calais, like a living chaplet of suffering and sacrifice…and the people of Calais of today would have felt more deeply the tradition of solidarity which unites them in their heroes.”

All of this got me thinking. What effect did Rodin hope to cultivate by placing his work on the level of its viewers? What is the effect of raising a statue above the people? We must also know that the sculpture is marking defeat during the Hundred Years War and not victory…itself an odd thing to commemorate.

As I read these curious lines I started thinking about the incarnation and the many Christological heresies of the first few centuries as followers struggled to tease out and understand who Christ was and how best to articulate that which is tangibly near and yet simultaneously beyond our comprehension.

Can we see in Rodin’s struggle to implant a memorial among the townspeople of Calais a feeble metaphor for the incarnation? By placing the sculpture on the ground, rather than on a plinth, the sorrow is brought to their level of the everyday. By doing this they are united in a more physical manner than if lifted high above their heads.

So too with the Christ. Incarnated among us. This is no docetic Savior who pretended to be human. There can be no Gnostic dualism here. Docetism sought a divine savior who had no real connection to humanity. But where Rodin’s figures and the Christ are truly remarkable is their feet touching the ground among us. Where Rodin hoped to inspire solidarity with the community of Calais, Christ inspires God’s solidarity with a fallen and broken humanity.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Threshold IV

I've uploaded a few more of my untouched photos in this series. In the coming days I will be posting on locating this body of work within the larger art context.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Threshold III

The threshold is an interesting and complicated phenomena. It is in one sense a protective barrier meant to divide. Doors and windows function as thresholds because they keep certain things in and others out. In day to day life windows and doors keep the cold in or keep it out. Through our doors and windows we keep our pets and children inside and keep insects out. This in/out division caused by thresholds can be applied culturally as well. An initiation rite, which is a form of threshold, is meant to separate the proverbial men from the boys and while details of these rites vary from culture to culture, it is like to be found around the world. In this sense, the baptismal font is an excellent concrete example. Few rites exist in our typical American culture. Getting drivers license or getting a first car, voting, turning 21 to buy alcohol, graduations, marriage, menstruation for women, and sex for both men and women often constitute the main ritual thresholds for our secular society. Within the religious realm, we find a few more: baptism, confirmation, first communion, marriage, bar & bat mitzvahs to name a few.

Returning to this series of photos, the windows and the doors are subtly suggestive of an openness to these realities. And yet, the astute observer will no doubt have noticed that in many of the shots the thresholds have been covered over or filled in with brick or wood. They become a rupture in the pattern of building.

Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Threshold II

One of the things I love about this series is that it is an honest look at our surroundings. I make no attempt to hide the blemishes of the building...rust, paint chips, cracks, broken glass, mismatched siding and other things which tend to bring alternative movements into the architectural flow of the building.

I encourage you to take time to view the images but pay attention to the vertical and horizontal structures and color fields. Perhaps even take the time to scour the image for the variety of shapes and their direction.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Threshold: A Photographic Inquiry

This semester I am pursuing an independent study in photography on the idea of the threshold. Essentially this means that I am shooting a lot of pictures of doors and windows.

Philosophically the idea of threshold is an interesting one intimately related to place, ritual and o/Otherness. These are my driving ideas behind this series. (I also find it fitting that this class is in essence the threshold to this new pursuit of a MFA).

Visually I am learning to articulate what I am seeing through the lens. I am finding that my attempts are to reduce or abstract elements from the larger architectural whole into austere geometry, line, rhythm, and color fields. I find ruptures in pattern especially interesting.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Incubus has been one of my favs for a few years now. Unfortunately my favorite video from them has been disabled on Youtube. Take a few minutes to check out Drive on Youtube.

I Wish You Were Here

Warning (live)

Nice To Know You (live)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Better Than Ezra

I've really come to appreciate BTE's first album but my favorite song from them is certainly Desperately Wanting. However, Youtube seems to lack a quality video of song.

In the Blood


Monday, September 1, 2008

At Your Funeral by Saves the Day

Consumerism and Choosing a Church: My Dilemma

The other day I commented on some of Robert Bellah’s work in Habits of the Heart. Here is an excerpt:

“Bellah also comments on the American phenomenon of revivalism saying, “the emphasis on personal experience would eventually override all efforts at church discipline. Already in the eighteenth century, it was possible for individuals to find the form of religion that best suited their inclination. By the nineteenth century, religious bodies had to compete in a consumers’ market and grew or declined in terms of changing patterns of individual religious tastes” (233).

It is the last sentence I want to consider today. If you are a frequent visitor you may know that Karina and I have recently relocated to Grand Forks North Dakota. We are in the process of searching for a new church. Bellah’s statement though has troubled me for a while. How does one search for a new church without the consumer mentality of “church shopping.” What factors should we consider? Do our hopes for what we want in a church constitute us as consumers? When I have recently shopped for a new vehicle I want something that has good gas mileage, safety, roof rack for our bikes. And we have a “want list” for our church too…people in our age range, medium to high liturgy, and small groups top our list.

Is my want list any different than anyone else with say a preference for “good worship music and band”? Are aesthetics ok to consider?

Should the question be considered in relation to the purpose of the church and what ones role is within it?

Any thoughts?