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Cosmo Wenman
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Described by The Independent as a "glamorous gold chameleon," British singer-songwriter Alison Goldfrapp projects strong, stylized imagery in all her performances, whether on screen or on stage. I suspect she's just showing off here in demonstrating that with super-slick audio and visual production values—and the right pair of legs—glamour can even shine through gritty images of ashtrays, toilets, and garbage: The retro Studio 54 stuff doesn't hurt either. Whatever else she has going for her, she seems to have the glamorous art of being photographed with an indirect gaze and obscured eyes down to a science: Continue reading
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Writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Alexander C. Kafka reviews an interesting-looking new book on aesthetics by neuroscientist Eric Kandel: The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present . Kafka quotes Kandel’s analysis of Gustav Klimt’s Judith and the Head of Holofernes: At a base level, the aesthetics of the image’s luminous gold surface, the soft rendering of the body, and the overall harmonious combination of colors could activate the pleasure circuits, triggering the release of dopamine. If Judith’s smooth skin and exposed breast trigger the release of endorphins, oxytocin, and vasopressin, one might feel sexual excitement. The latent violence of Holofernes’s decapitated head, as well as Judith’s own sadistic gaze and upturned lip, could cause the release of norepinephrine, resulting in increased heart rate and blood pressure and triggering the fight-or-flight response. In contrast, the... Continue reading
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Nov 7, 2011