image test 

just checkin if I'm able to post an image



Personal Auras...my take on Benjamin 

Walter Benjamin's essay 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction' brings up a few interesting ideas, the most debated being his use of the word Aura to describe the quality of unique works of art that exist in only one place, which is precisely what gives them the quality of authenticity, which cannot be reproduced. Or so says the glossary. It's talking about paintings in galleries, and the way that a print of a masterpiece pales in comparison and simply cannot capture the essence or integrity of the original piece. The most common and obvious example of this would be The Mona Lisa... the be all and end all of portraiture, the most famous, and, arguably, best painting ever done. But I have never been to the Louvre or seen The Mona Lisa so I couldn't tell you if she has an aura or not. But I can vouch for the existence of a painting's aura, because I have felt it, and that is what this entry is really about.

The Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto is a nice place, and if you are in the city I recommend you stop by. It was in visiting this gallery that I stumbled upon something much bigger than myself as I wandered up to the second floor. Framed by a large, open doorway, the first painting you see when you enter the Group of Seven exhibit is Lawren Harris's Lake and Mountains This painting could rip my heart out...make me cry...make me laugh...make me think... Any cliched expression, really. But in all seriousness, standing in front of Lake and Mountains and truly taking it all in is so far removed from the annotated version they give you in art history textbooks that comparing the two seems pointless. It's like the difference between having a picture of an ice-cream sundae and actually eating one. The replication can be pretty, but it doesn't have the substance, or the intensity, or the sensory reaction of the real thing.

As for the painting only being able to exist in one place... I have a feeling that Lake and Mountains could easily exist outside of the AGO, but its soul and power are ingrained in the Canadian landscape and those who have experienced it first-hand.

Here is where I raise some questions. So I experienced the aura of one particular painting...does that mean that ALL paintings have an aura? And secondly, you may be sitting there, thinking "I have been to the AGO... I saw that painting... I didn't think it was anything special, why did you?"

Here is where I attempt an answer. I think that the aura of a painting is dependent not only on the originality and physical placement of the work, but also on the viewers. Art exists everywhere, and art is changing... it always has been. The only constant factor in the history of art has been the viewers. I won't venture so far as to say why works of are exist and are valued... But everyone has different experiences in life which might draw them to love the work of Dali or DaVinci... Gauguin or Giger

My experiences, my views on life and what I consider beautiful drew me to a painting by Lawren Harris... a reflection of my personal aura.



So where exactly does one find out about these so called "digital media installations" to begin with? Is there a mailing list we should be on to keep us posted about upcoming events? Or is interactive-new-media-culture an underground world accessible only to the hipsters-elite through a secret, elaborate maze of tunnels leading off from the Montreal metro?

Maybe we should have considered this a bit harder before jumping into blogdom as self-proclaimed reviewers and media connoisseurs.
Oh well, too late to turn back now.

My first thought was to check the pages of the Mirror where you can find out about pretty much anything going on in Montreal. Flipping through news, film, dance, music, theater, art…but no digital media section. Okay, so no luck there. Maybe Google can help. After a few attempts, the only relevant result is a link to the FCMM website (www.FCMM.com), the Montreal international festival of new cinema and new media which takes place in October. (Actually, my first memorable media installation experience was at the FCMM in 2001, where two guys at computers typed in digits and codes to create an ever increasing wave of sound, gradually getting louder and louder until you thought your ears just might explode, testing the limits to see how many audience members would stay and listen and how many would walk out.)

But October is miles away. What about now? Aren’t there any new media shows outside of the festivals? Or is digital media really as isolating and hermetic as the nay-sayers proclaim, consisting only of people alone at computers (like I am right now), connecting with people through screens rather than through shared, communal experiences?

Well, danged if I know the answer to that, but I’m working on it.


Mira's opening thoughts 

As a communications student living in Montreal, I must say i've encountered quite a bit of digital media in my day. Whether it be digital photography, sound editing, or just sitting around surfing the web. But, I must admit, I've never had a blog. So when our digital communications media professor gave us the option of creating our very own weblog, I thought, hey, this could be kinda neat. Plus, it's just so darn fun to say Blog. After much deliberation, we finally came up with a name (astreetcarnamedblog and anablog were taken) and concept.

Over the next few weeks, Allie, my fellow blogger, and I, will be taking a closer look at digital media arts and communications in our city. This may include reviews of shows and media installations, personal observations about the digital age and, heck, maybe a few more jokes about blogs.

so stay tuned...

Allie's Introduction 

My name is Allie Caldwell. I am a first year Communications Studies student at Concordia University. This weblog was created as part of a Digital Communications Media project and will be updated weekly with observations and comments relating to this class. It will be extremely interesting and I recommend you check in daily...Just in case.

About Me:
I recently graduated from Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School's Integrated Arts Program where I specialized in visual arts. Now I am living in Montreal doing Coms Studies and hope to use my degree for a career of some kind later on.

Looking forward to the next 13 weeks. . .

"Maybe one day I will have a staple quotation at the bottom of my posts. Not today."


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