Re: Werner Mehl -- bullets at 1 million frames per second As you say, it is beautiful and ugly stuff. Oh but I get what bothers me now about the video.
I wonder just how much of the beauty of physics would come through had each target been a human or another animal. Stylizing physics is one thing and chic. Dealing with its consequences is another and brings in the moral part of me.
I do get what he's saying. But should he have said it? Personally, I think it was valid and accurate, and I don't think he was cheapening anything.
What are the real differences between this stuff and Homer writing about war?
For a start, Homer glorifies war... Hirst makes it apparent that it (and pretty much everything else) is an ugly commercial commodity, and that everything involved in it is to be ridiculed and caricatured. That's a sort of latter Dada thing, I guess, and quite a radical position compared to the people who are really engaged in warfare and who can only bring themselves to speak in euphemisms and lies.
No one was hurt in the making of this film. And if watching bullets rock through ballistic soap reminds us of the power of guns, then that is a good thing in my book. Plus some of it is pretty beautiful fireworks.
Re: Werner Mehl -- bullets at 1 million frames per second I get your point of view, Steveman. As I said I was taken in by the beauty of the physics involved. Also impressed by the camera's ability to capture it all. The repetition of the same act probably put a blip on my radar, making me ask a question I've been taught to ask of all art: what does it speak to motive. So what does the video speak to motive? Riddle me that.
One small caveat perhaps. Did Homer actually glorify war or did he write an anti-war tract? I've read the argument made favoring the latter.
Re: Werner Mehl -- bullets at 1 million frames per second I don't know that Homer glorified war. I think he did glorify heroism. In many ways, he showed how ugly and pointless war was, and even his heroes were often vain and fickle, and made horrible mistakes that led to further tragedy. In some ways, the Iliad is a poem *against* war. It certainly shows everything horrible involved.
Re: Werner Mehl -- bullets at 1 million frames per second Steve, I admit to not having clicked on the arrow to view the vid...yet. Ostrich behavior, perhaps...but probably because I know I need to look at it fresh, in the morning (when I have very precious time on the computer without interruptions) to see/find the art/beauty in something I find so abhorrent. But then, of course, I am no Damein Hirst.
I do understand a bit of what he said....how 911 changed our perspective...visually and other ways... forever. Not quite sure I see the "art" he sees in that sad event, tho.
And I do like some, but not all, of his art...this one comes to mind:
Re: Werner Mehl -- bullets at 1 million frames per second Hmm, Homer certainly seems to me to suggest that war is an honourable thing and that the warlike nature of young men is to be applauded. Yes, we get a lot of tragedy coming through, but the basic thrust seems to be that the war on Troy is righteous and is favoured by Zeus. The language is all of the sacrifice of bulls and the roaring of men and the clashing of arms. It's not a political position many of us would get with now, though we probably all recognise its inheritance in our upbringing. We wouldn't even countenance the teaching of our children about war in the sort of terms that Homer obviously finds totally acceptable. Yes, I agree that for his time Homer is fairly measured, and he frequently reiterates that in hindsight war is pretty lamentable, but he still uses all the exciting language of war whenever it comes up. You don't come out of the Iliad with any sense that you should be a pacifist. You might come out of it with the impression that war can be ugly and expensive, but you don't get any impression that warlike feelings are in any way bad things. It seems to be a balancing act between fostering the martial aggression of young men, which is seen as desirable, and a political astuteness based on the tragedy and cost of war. Somehow he seems to suggest we need both. The righteous anger of Zeus and the fatherly overview and concern of Zeus. But the language is as inflammatory as anything in Beowulf. And maybe that's what the real message is. The Nazis also always couched their stuff in fatherly tones that purported to express concern and political consideration while all the while urging everyone into a martial frenzy.
With this she darted furiously everywhere among the hosts of the Achaeans, urging them forward, and putting courage into the heart of each, so that he might fight and do battle without ceasing. Thus war became sweeter in their eyes even than returning home in their ships. As when some great forest fire is raging upon a mountain top and its light is seen afar, even so as they marched the gleam of their armour flashed up into the firmament of heaven.
Re: Werner Mehl -- bullets at 1 million frames per second Anyway, I think I should back off from this idea that Homer glorifies war. It is just way too complicated to make such a simplistic assertion about someone who lived 3000 years ago, so I'll withdraw that one. I can see about a thousand arguments for either side here, and if someone else was doing what I did above I could have fun for days doing the opposite. This could become one of those internet complexes where people get needlessly polarised, so I'll get out of it right now. I'll stick with supporting Damien Hirst, though.
Re: Werner Mehl -- bullets at 1 million frames per second Homer also showed how the gods are vain and fickle, too. That's the whole point of the Odyssey. Athena supports the hero but many of the other gods are against him—and this is the "clever man" who won the war against Troy, which the other gods supposedly favored. Fickle, indeed.
If Homer glorified heroism, then he also glorified love, and honor, and persistence, and dedication. I think one can say that Homer glorified war mainly in the sense that he glorified those positive human attributes that emerge during war, such as courage and self-sacrifice. Homer depicted the full range of human greatness, but he also depicted human weakness and vanity. He depicted the *causes* of war for what they are: vanity, jealousy, greed, revenge.
And he was as honest about the gods' motivations, and vanity, as he was about humans'.
That's why his stories are still current, still read and present in our culture. Call it psychological realism, call it myth, the fact is we still live out those stories. That's why they're still relevant.