Street notes.

I often find notes, shopping lists and suchlike during my wanders, of course I gather them up and make stories from them.

I like the idea of diary witting.

This is a good itemization of desperation, Not only have they run out of printer ink and milk, they are also out of undies and tissues.
Odd list really, I approve of the paper though.

Short and to the point.

Post it notes are great for completely uncontextualised names and words.

No idea – French secret agents maybe?

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MICHIKO KON ~ Critical Reading

This article has been entered using OCR – some spelling issues may remain;

From;
Inside the photograph : writings on twentieth-century photography / Peter C. Bunnell ; foreword by Malcolm Daniel

New York : Aperture Foundation, c2006
Pages 187-89
~ MICHIKO KON.

MICHIKO KON

Michiko Kon is a photographic artist of compelling originality. Obsessed with the gulf between the mind and the world, she takes up the camera with the relish of one who desires in every way to express the inexplicable. What is real? What is hallucinated? What is alive? What is dead? These are all questions Kon’s images force us to consider, but for which they do not provide answers. As in her I994 self-portrait, Kon hovers behind her still-life pieces like a phantom figure: the arranger, a sorcerer s apprentice, the constructor of a fantasy world that simultaneously repels and attracts with its strangeness and its beauty.

Still-life photography has not always been so vital a category of art. Once, familiar things were arranged in the customary manner of symbolic representation and near-decorative completeness. But in recent years, a number of photographic artists have explored still life in new ways, with different, startling, and oftentimes repulsive subject matter. Kon s array of fish scales, feathers, eyes, heads, flowers, insects, dead fowl, raw fish, and gelatinous materials are all assembled in such a way as to render themselves in transformation as a new and discrete object. Perhaps resurrected as a new object would be a better description, given Kon s often-stated concern for the delicate balance between life and death. What makes Kon’s still lifes different is that they are not overall arrangements, but images of almost taxidermic creations that exist within the rigorous spatial confine of the picture space. The photographs thus take on a matter-of-factness that renders the thing replicated in a state of iconic objectivity—a kind of edible ornament. The pictures exist for us as a dream of mingled fascination and disquietude.

The meanings in these works are both real and imagined, and come from deep within the female psyche. The commentary involves a not-so-subtle critique of things sexual in contemporary Japanese culture. This, plus the Japanese obsession for the senses, for the fetishistic presentation of everything from sashimi to a lacquer cosmetic box. Each element in the crafting of her work, from start to finish, promotes the look of precise but not austere observation; this is true also of her most recent color images mostly in pomegranate red- that speak not of blood, but of rites of fertility and abundance.

As a contemporary Japanese photographic artist, Kon creates work that is reminiscent of that from the great period of the late 1950’s and early ’60s, in which the confrontation with things taboo, with the touch and smell of bodies, with phobias and fears of the subconscious were what gave the images an edge that reflected a state of raw nerves in a Japanese society that was terribly unsettled. Kon has leapt over the intervening years that brought more modest photographic endeavors, and has returned to the sharp principles of earlier avant-garde imagemaking: surprise, provocation, and spirited joy. She nourishes our imagination as one would the body; hers is an effort to devour aesthetics.

A young artist whose reputation has arisen quickly, Kon is unafraid to push herself toward new directions. Nevertheless, this present body of work marks the identity of a complete artist whose work exudes the emotional aura of what can only be described as poetry. Like all poets, Kon wants to imagine hugely and then find the perfect form that will both capture the thought and suggest what was uncapturable in it. She does not use art; rather, she makes it.


Michiko Kon, Self-Portrait #4? 1994


==========================================================================================
Response;


MICHIKO KON

Michiko Kon is a photographic artist of compelling originality. Obsessed with the gulf between the mind and the world, she takes up the camera with the relish of one who desires in every way to express the inexplicable. What is real? What is hallucinated? What is alive? What is dead?

I am not quite sure where the author is coming from with his comment about “the gulf between the mind and the world” – It seems a reference to ‘mind=/=body’ duality, but he has set a structure where there is a third variable, the ‘gulf’ as it were – It is possible that he is referencing the relationship (or irreducible lack thereof) between physicalism and phenomenalism, but it makes little sense to me. I also wonder at the supposed binarism of ‘real=/=hallucinated’, surely ‘fantasy’ or ‘fiction’ would be better expressions of a supposed binarism.

I suspect that this, thus far, is to set the stage for a binaristic analysis of Kon’s work. The problem with applying these binaristic logistics is that duality (in general) is seldom a matter of opposites, but rather of oppositions, and the terms and focuses change depending which side of the fence you are on.


These are all questions Kon’s images force us to consider, but for which they do not provide answers. As in her 1994 self-portrait, Kon hovers behind her still-life pieces like a phantom figure: the arranger, a sorcerers apprentice, the constructor of a fantasy world that simultaneously repels and attracts with its strangeness and its beauty.

I suspect that the reference to the sorcerers apprentice is in fact a slip – given that the only thing that springs to my mind from that phrase, is the tale of an apprentice who oversteps his own skills when the sorcerer goes away with near disastrous results – Ironically humorous picture given that the author is waxing lyrical about Kon’s mastery of the medium.


Still-life photography has not always been so vital a category of art. Once, familiar things were arranged in the customary manner of symbolic representation and near-decorative completeness. But in recent years, a number of photographic artists have explored still life in new ways, with different, startling, and oftentimes repulsive subject matter.

I’m not so sure I agree with the basic (implied) statement that still life photography has somehow become more interesting/startling/repulsive – the work of the surrealists in the early 20th century would be a good argument against this, as would the 19th century tradition of mortuary photography. It seems to me that there has always been photographers pushing the boundaries in still life, it’s not strictly a recent thing. Scientific photography has often crossed the supposed art/science boundary (as though that were a dualism).


Kons array of fish scales, feathers, eyes, heads, flowers, insects, dead fowl, raw fish, and gelatinous materials are all assembled in such a way as to render themselves in transformation as a new and discrete object. Perhaps resurrected as a new object would be a better description, given Kons often-stated concern for the delicate balance between life and death.

This paragraph makes little sense if a person is unaware of Kon’s oeuvre – much of her ‘still life’ work is actually very different to the image shown. I like her still life work incidentally – though I have a little difficulty in understanding the presented work in terms of her oeuvre, or as a ‘pure’ still life, it seem to me to be (self) portraiture.


What makes Kon’s still lifes different is that they are not overall arrangements, but images of almost taxidermic creations that exist within the rigorous spatial confine of the picture space. The photographs thus take on a matter-of-factness that renders the thing replicated in a state of iconic objectivity—a kind of edible ornament. The pictures exist for us as a dream of mingled fascination and disquietude.

This sounds very much like a description of a great many scientific illustrations – I wonder about the reference to the picture space, that merely sounds like composition, which is hardly unusual.


The meanings in these works are both real and imagined, and come from deep within the female psyche. The commentary involves a not-so-subtle critique of things sexual in contemporary Japanese culture.

I hardly know where to start here – first the author fudges and obfuscates the meanings in the works (in such a way that it makes little sense and tells the reader less than nothing), then he refers to the female psyche, as though it were some mystical land, and not just over the border, oh no, the meaning of the work comes from deep in the darkest lands of the female psyche (why am I thinking of Livingstone?). Then he compounds this mystical exoticism by plunging straight into a reference to Japanese sexual practice.


This, plus the Japanese obsession for the senses, for the fetishistic presentation of everything from sashimi to a lacquer cosmetic box. Each element in the crafting of her work, from start to finish, promotes the look of precise but not austere observation; this is true also of her most recent color images mostly in pomegranate red- that speak not of blood, but of rites of fertility and abundance.

I’m trying to work out the context of the term ‘fetish’ here – coming straight after a reference to sexual predilections in Japanese society it seems safe to assume that it is used in the modern ‘sexual fetish’ sense of the term, however, and oddly, the remainder of this paragraph makes sense if the term ‘fetish is read as a reference to an item of worship, an item vested in totemic meaning. That seems a good reading of the work to me, just I suspect that the term ‘fetishistic’ is not being used this way at all.


As a contemporary Japanese photographic artist, Kon creates work that is reminiscent of that from the great period of the late 1950’s and early ’60s, in which the confrontation with things taboo, with the touch and smell of bodies, with phobias and fears of the subconscious were what gave the images an edge that reflected a state of raw nerves in a Japanese society that was terribly unsettled. Kon has leapt over the intervening years that brought more modest photographic endeavors, and has returned to the sharp principles of earlier avant-garde imagemaking: surprise, provocation, and spirited joy. She nourishes our imagination as one would the body; hers is an effort to devour aesthetics.

A young artist whose reputation has arisen quickly, Kon is unafraid to push herself toward new directions. Nevertheless, this present body of work marks the identity of a complete artist whose work exudes the emotional aura of what can only be described as poetry. Like all poets, Kon wants to imagine hugely and then find the perfect form that will both capture the thought and suggest what was uncapturable in it. She does not use art; rather, she makes it.

Making art as opposed to using it? I’m not 100% sure what devouring aesthetics means either.