“The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled”
In 1972 BBC premiered a series of four 30-minute films written and anchored by art critic and author John Berger. Soon adapted into a book, "Ways of Seeing" went on to become a landmark postmodernist critique of Western cultural aesthetics, exploring not only how visual culture came to dominate society but also how ideologies are created and transmitted via images — a subject of pressing timeliness in that golden age of photography.
In the third episode of the series, Berger looks at oil painting and its formative role in the creation of consumer culture, showing that paintings are, before anything else, objects to be bought and sold, and admonishing that “we should be somewhat wary of a love of art”:
Berger writes in the book: “Publicity is the culture of the consumer society. It propagates through images that society’s belief in itself. There are several reasons why these images use the language of oil painting.
Oil painting, before it was anything else, was a celebration of private property. As an art-form it derived from the principle that you are what you have. It is a mistake to think of publicity supplanting the visual art of post-Renaissance Europe; it is the last moribund form of that art.”
The final installment in the series explores the world of advertising and its perpetual promise of an even-elusive alternative way of life, depicted through a language of words and images that never cease to seduce us.
“This series began by considering the tradition of the European oil painting. It has ended by us looking at publicity images today. Because I believe that, in many respects, these images continue that tradition. I’ve been critical of many things in that tradition, of our culture, of some of the values which it celebrates, and I’ve illustrated my arguments by using the modern means of reproduction. But, finally, what I’ve shown and what I’ve said, like everything else that is shown or said through these means of reproduction, must be judged against your own experience.”
‘Remember To Remember’ is a celestial, emboldening downtempo cut. Beginning with the timeless line, ‘Pass the information, extend the knowledge…’ Rick dives into a spoken word stream of inspirational black artists and key figures whose most memorable words and song titles are framed into snippets of wisdom that get ever more significant the greater in number they become. A powerful monologue, in Rick’s warm reassuring tones, shining a light on those men and women who have made ‘strong contributions to mankind because of their compassion and humanitarianism, laid over instrumentation you lose yourself in just as easily...
Pass the information Extend the knowledge
John Coltrane said — A Love Supreme I interpret that to, All Living Things Donny Hathaway said — The Ghetto Woody Shaw said — Why? John F. Kennedy said — Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country
Pass the information Extend the knowledge
Martin Luther King said — I have a dream Stevie Wonder said — Innervisions, interpretation, watch with your ears Aretha Franklin said — Respect Barry White said — Love Nina Simone said — To be young, gifted, and black James Brown said — Stay in school Cannonball Adderley said — Sometimes, we are not prepared for adversity, mercy, mercy, mercy Oliver Nelson said — Stolen moments Isley Brothers said — Harvest for the world
I know there can be better days
Pass the information Extend the knowledge
Roger Franklin said — You’ll never know Hubert Law said — Say it with silence Ashley Wilson said — Guess who I saw today Earth, Wind and Fire said — Keep your head to the sky I know there is a force far wiser than I The creator has a master plan From the pen of Leon Thomas and Pharaoh Sanders Alex Haley said — Roots Gerald Wilson said — You better believe it Charlie Parker said — Now's the time, wake up! Billie Holiday said — God bless the child LTD said — Love, togetherness, and devotion Bobby Bland — Soon as the weather breaks Sam Cooke said — You Send Me Roy Ayers said — Believe in yourself Gil Scott Heron said — Winter in America Hugh Masekela said — Grazing in the grass Richard Pryor said — How long?
How long will it take for us to become one? How long will it take for us to become unified? How long will it take us to understand the meaning of understanding? How long will it take us to do what we have to do that’s most important? How long will it take our priorities to oversee? How long is how long it will take us. We must see beyond the eyes. Focus in on the soul. Love.
Wake up! See beyond the eyes Remember the past, and begin with the future
Malcolm X - Muhammad Ali - Marcus Rick Holmes - Miriam Makeba - Richard Pryor Adam Clayton Powell - Martin Luther King - Elijah Muhammad W. E. B. Du Bois - Frederick Douglas - Nat Turner Tom Bradley - Barbara Jordan - Shirley Chisholm Ron Dellums - Andrew Young - Anwar Sadat Clara Holmes - George Washington Carver - Cesar Chavez Sidney Poitier - Count Basie - Duke Ellington Fats Domino - Art Tatum - Fats Waller Bill Robinson - Eric Dolphy - Rahsaan Roland Kirk Paul Rogan - Stevie Wonder- Minnie Riperton - Louis Armstrong
All of these people, and more, have made strong contributions to mankind. Because of their compassion and humanitarianism, even with their self identification based around love and unity, peace, these men are now profound and prolific. Factor that.
These men and women have made their great contributions to mankind. We are to pass it on for the next generation We shall never forget
Remember to remember to never forget
How long? How long? How long is how long How long will it take? How long will it take, man? How long will it take for us to come together? It’ll take us as long as you make it
May I prolong your life? Life for you to live and to give, as generations do? Focus
Rick Holmes Rick Holmes hailed from Knoxville, Tennessee. The radio deejay achieved success in the States and the U.K. via a collaboration with Roy Ayers, in 1981, for his 12” single ‘Remember To Remember’ backed with ‘To The Unknowledgeable One’ for the Blue Mink Records imprint. Stateside soul radio listeners will know of Rick’s, Los Angeles based, radio shows for KBCA and KJLH stations.
Born in 1936 to Clara Sams-Holmes and Richard Arthurs Holmes, Sr., Rick spent his early years in Knoxville. He served in the United States Navy, later relocating to Los Angeles. Rick initially worked for the US Postal Service, which enabled him to attend broadcasting school. He became a member of the Holman Methodist Church, and then took up a radio career at KBCA Radio 105.1 FM. Rick’s radio show was entitled ‘Rick's Family Affair’, where he broadcast between 1967 and 1976.
In 1970 Rick married and began broadcasting at KJLH 103.2 FM (a station owned by Stevie Wonder), calling his show ‘Holmes in your Home’. At this time he began a career as a spoken word recording artist, collaborating with Cannonball Adderley on his albums ‘Soul Of The Bible’, ‘Soul Zodiac’ and ‘Love, Sex, And The Zodiac’. On leaving KJLH, Rick returned to Knoxville to spend time with his mother.
Archiveology involves the use of the image archive as a language. It is the reuse, recycling, appropriation, and borrowing of archival material. Archiveology traverses the experimental, documentary, and essayistic, moving beyond the categories of found footage, compilation and collage. It proliferates on the internet, just as it proliferates in the art gallery.
Archiveology cuts through the auratic qualities of images, and safeguards them as souvenirs not only of their referents, but of the constellations of social relations from which they were produced. As “documents,” the images collected in archiveological films acquire meaning through their ability to awaken, stimulate, or attune the viewer’s belief in their indexicality. They are not to be taken for granted, but to be recognized as passages into the past.
Rhizome From botany we learn that a rhizome is a horizontal creeping stem lying on or under the ground from which shoots arise or spread and roots descend.The rhizome is a dynamic, decentered, system or network. It is a structure without any controlling center of hierarchy, a kind of self-reproducing multiplicity that cannot be understood as a single organization or localized in a particular territory. It's also generative in that the offshoots or runners become freestanding plants. Strawberries, crabgrass, bamboo, ginger, and iris plants are common examples of rhizomes in nature.
Deleuze and Guattari used the metaphor of the rhizome to distinguish between totalizing unities and non-totalizing multiplicities. They discuss traditional arborescent thought, or what we refer to as the tree of knowledge metaphor, as universalizing and essentializing knowledge of "systematic and hierarchical principles (branches) that are grounded in firm foundations (roots)." Rhizomes, on the other hand, are "non hierarchical systems of deterritorialized lines that connect with other lines in random, unregulated relationships.”
Rhizomatic thought deconstructs the binary logic of arborescent thought, seeking to pluralize and disseminate its "roots and branches" so to produce "differences and multiplicities by making new connections.” Importantly, the method of rhizomatic analysis is productive or generative of new forms through lines of thought or intersections of ideas. As Deleuze and Guattari stated, "In truth it is not enough to say, 'Long live the multiple,' difficult as it is to raise the cry. No typographical, lexical, or even syntactical cleverness is enough to make it heard. The multiple must be made.”
The multiple is made, then, through rhizomatic analysis. The subject of rhizomatic analysis is conceptualized in terms of three basic kinds of lines, which explain the de-centered nature of the system. These lines refer to a phenomenon's constituting or deconstituting components, including rigid lines, supple lines, and lines of escape. The first, rigid segmentary lines, construct fixed and normalized identities by way of binary oppositions. Molar aggregates of a rhizomatic or decentered system are components that are characterized by hierarchy, stratification, and structuration. The second kind of lines are molecular movements away from molar rigidity, which disturb the linearity and normalcy of molar aggregates. They represent "cracks" in their totalizing facades. Finally, there are lines of flight, runners which form the plane of creativity. These lines are the full-fledged deterritorializing movements away from molar identity where cracks become ruptures and the subject is shattered in a process of becoming multiple. Deleuze and Guattari characterized these lines of flight as "fundamentally positive and creative," rather than as lines of "resistance or counterattack.”
Lines of flight (runners) form the most interesting part of a rhizomatic map because they indicate arenas of dynamic creative activity. This generation of multiplicity differs from other forms of analysis that tend to manufacture hierarchies. Deleuze and Guattari theorize that the positive and creative development of a rhizomatic field will follow lines of flight. They base the notion that multiple paths of escape and transformation are possible because there is no system "that does not leak in all directions.” Accordingly, centers of power "are defined much more by what escapes them or by their zone of impotence than by their zone of power.”
As a theoretical model that maps creative flows and combats totalizing modes of thought, the rhizome seems particularly appropriate to productive theorizing about visual sense-making. The field of visual communication can be rhizomatically mapped in terms of its referent points and intersections. It has clusters of referent points, both molar (oblong) and molecular (oval) components, as well as the points of intersection (diamond) where the central components of visual communication seem to be emerging.