Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Duchamp, Beanworld, and Ant Farming.

La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même
Multi media on two panes of glass with two panes of glass
with materials such as oils paint, lead foil, fuse wire, varnish and dust. 1915-1923 (unfinished)

I often talk about the enormous influence Marcel Duchamp's masterwork "The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even" had on me over the years particularly as I was fine-tuning and honing the Beanworld.

"The Large Glass," as it's often nicknamed, is sort of like a diagram of shadows from another dimension that are suggestions for animated activities to be interpreted by the viewer in his or her own imagination.

Not bad stuff for 1915.

Duchamp referred to this other dimension as the Inframince.
It translates from the French into something like "very thin."

Sometimes on a panel or giving a presentation, I'll jokingly refer to Beanworld taking place in a "two-and-one-half dimensional space. " What I mean is in the Beanworld there appears to be very little difference between foreground, middle ground, and background. The Beanworld as a visual and dramatic tableau is indeed "very thin." Always to be looked at from one side and going infinitely left, right, up, and down.

Sometimes I call it "endless ant farm space." As if the Beanworld takes place between two panes like the ulta-classy Duchampian Large Glass and also like the silly post-war toy co-invented by Milton Levine who recently passed away.

I never owned my own ant farm but I remember friends and neighbors having one. Clearly the idea of it stuck in my head all my life, don'tcha think?

Rest in Peace Uncle Milton.
Your influence cast a very wide net indeed.

4 comments:

Peggy said...

Always to be looked at from one side and going infinitely left, right, up, and down.

Always from the same side. Which kinda makes me wonder what we'd see if we walked around to the other side...

JohnH said...

One of the (even) more interesting things about the Beanworld's visual representation is that it's slightly optional; the first image in Beanworld is of a somewhat overhead view of the Beans arrayed beneath the branches of Gran'Ma'Pa. We sometimes get overhead shots of the Chowdown Pool with the Beans lounging around in it. And the Beans themselves are capable of rotation and generally free movement forward and backward within their plane. Mostly the characters don't rotate much, and just look to the left or right. But one character rotates to face the back of the picture many times: Beanish, looking at Dreamishness, which gives him a weird, almost transformative appearance, like a mohawk, that's very interesting.

Considering that the Beanworld is part of the "Big Big Picture," hearing about the Large Glass kind of puts a few things in perspective!

Trevor said...

Beyond the horizon, we might just see a whole lot of big alien-looking heads all staring at us in open wonder and delight. Different ones on different days. But all obviously enjoying the experience immensely, yearning to learn what happens next in their little 2-1/2-D world.

1337doom said...

Indeed. It's almost as if the world were to be flip-flopped... hee hee.

Maybe we'll find out in Beanworld Volume 4, which is supposed to come out in the first quarter of 2011... which is like, now or maybe March. It better happen soon... I'm so excited