Friday, June 29, 2007


Below is a vocabulary list from the summer readings. If you would like to add to this list or post questions, I am happy to add you as an author. Just send me your email address as a comment or to my email at and I will add you as an authorized CampTheory user.

Aporia. 1. Rhetoric. the expression of a simulated or real doubt, as about where to begin or what to do or say.
2. Logic, Philosophy. a difficulty encountered in establishing the theoretical truth of a proposition, created by the presence of evidence both for and against it.
au·toch·tho·nous [aw-tok-thuh-nuhs] –adjective
1.pertaining to autochthons; aboriginal; indigenous (opposed to heterochthonous).
a.found in the part of the body in which it originates, as a cancerous lesion.
b.found in a locality in which it originates, as an infectious disease.
3.Psychology. of or pertaining to ideas that arise independently of the individual's own train of thought and seem instead to have some alien or external agency as their source.
4.Geology. (of rocks, minerals, etc.) formed in the region where found.
Conterminous, a.
1. Having a common boundary, bordering upon (each other).
2. Meeting at their ends.
3.Coincident in their boundaries; exactly co-extensive
b. Exactly coextensive in time, range, sense, etc.
Egeliac 1. used in, suitable for, or resembling an elegy.
2. expressing sorrow or lamentation: elegiac strains.
3. Classical Prosody. noting a distich or couplet the first line of which is a dactylic hexameter and the second a pentameter, or a verse differing from the hexameter by suppression of the arsis or metrically unaccented part of the third and the sixth foot.
Epistemic: of or pertaining to knowledge or the conditions for acquiring it.
habent sua fata libelli:
Books have their Fate
: subject to external controls and impositions
Botany. of or pertaining to monoclinous flowers of two or more kinds occurring on different individuals of the same species, the kinds differing in the relative length of stamens and pistils (opposed to homogonous).
1.serving to indicate or point out; stimulating interest as a means of furthering investigation.
2.encouraging a person to learn, discover, understand, or solve problems on his or her own, as by experimenting, evaluating possible answers or solutions, or by trial and error: a heuristic teaching method.
3.of, pertaining to, or based on experimentation, evaluation, or trial-and-error methods.

1 : the art of discovering temperament and character from outward appearance
2 : the facial features held to show qualities of mind or character by their configuration or expression
3 : external aspect; also : inner character or quality revealed outwardly
1. a controversial argument, as one against some opinion, doctrine, etc.
2. a person who argues in opposition to another; controversialist.
\PUHK-uh\, adjective:
Authentic; genuine.
Good of its kind; first-class.
Telos: the end term of a goal-directed process; esp., the Aristotelian final cause

Design and Crime by Hal Foster based on an article of the same name by Adolf Loos.

The next online reading is Design and Crime, by Hal Foster, which is based on an article of the same name by Adolf Loos. A link to the reading is below.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

“Fascism sees its salvation in giving these masses not their rights, but instead a chance to express themselves.” Page 14

Questions, in this asynchronistic format are a bit difficult. The questions either seem too huge- Does Benjamin believes that film, which presents a reality outside of a specific humanity, history or location, will be the undoing of religion? Or they seem too small-What does the sentence “When the age of mechanical preproduction separated art from its basis in cult, the semblance of its autonomy disappeared forever.” actually mean? I will take my small token, the chance to express myself, and pose a question. All questions great or small are welcome to this forum.

I would like to look across this reading at some themes about the body and ask a more generalized question about body, routine, and politics.

Benjamin speaks about the body in terms of film actors. The film displaces the actor from his audience, thereby severing any location or history. Walter Benjamin equates the original to location and history or space and context. He compares the original to reproductions in terms of value, cult value vs. exhibition value. On page 8, this displacement of the body is talked about in terms of an exile of the self.

The body is also discussed in terms of the eye. Mechanical reproduction focuses attentions on the eye, or sight. In the case of film, the eye of the cameraperson or editor is predominant. Great weight is given to the choice of the cameraperson through their eyes. In Marxist terms, this gives great power to the producer.

Toward the end of the article architecture enters into the discussion, as the oldest art form. Architecture becomes an ideal model on which to formulate the potential of art because it is perceived in a distracted state. This distraction, Benjamin argues, is inherent in reproduction. In the age of mechanical reproduction, we have all become distracted experts. On page 14, the use or appropriation of buildings happens in two ways, “by touch and by sight.” Touch and architecture meld into habit.

So- to my question. Benjamin both identifies the political power of reproduction to control, while at the same time, sees the tremendous potential for positive change. So where does the body figure into all of this? The body is the site of perception, but it is also the site on which we test or evaluate different modes of art or politics. Body and habit-touch and sight- politicizing art and aestheticizing politics. There are, in this writing, many different notions about how the body enters into these ideas. What do you think?

Friday, June 22, 2007

The First Reading of the Summer

Our first reading is The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin. Below is a link to a an online pdf.

When posting a question, please give the page number and a small section of a sentence to help us find the exact quote.

Happy reading.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Welcome to Art Theory Summer Camp

Welcome to Art Theory Summer Camp.

My hope is that this blog will function in two ways:

-For anyone who misses an OPENSOURCE meeting, we can communicate on this blog.

-For anyone wishing to join Art Theory Summer Camp, but can't come to meetings, this blog will be the forum for questioning and debate.

Happy reading.