Tag Archives: NCA Rawalpindi Campus

War is Beautiful

True drama can be conceived only as resulting from the collective impulse of all the arts to communicate in the most immediate way with a collective public. – Richard Wagner

Air Raid Precautions

On April 13th 2012, students from 4th Year Fine Arts (with their friends from other years and the Department of Architecture) declared and performed a “beautiful war” at NCA Rawalpindi Campus. This was their response to the following (given to them by the brilliant Fatima Hussain as part of their minor project):

“War is beautiful because it establishes man’s dominion over the subjugated machinery by means of gas masks, terrifying megaphones, flamethrowers, and small tanks. War is beautiful because it initiates the dreamt-of metallization of the human body. War is beautiful because it enriches a flowering meadow with the fiery orchids of machine guns. War is beautiful because it combines the gunfire, the cannonades, the cease-fire, the scents, and the stench of putrefaction into a symphony. War is beautiful because it creates new architecture, like that of the big tanks, the geometrical formation flights, the smoke spirals from burning villages, and many others … Poets and artists of Futurism! … Remember these principles of an aesthetics of war so that your struggle for a new literature and a new graphic art … may be illumined by them!”

– Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, 1912

It is interesting that Marinetti was able to ‘abstract mass destruction into the “world’s only hygeine” and he was able to view war as an aesthetic gesture.’ The objective of this assignment, however, was not to just find beauty in carnage, but to somehow transform ideas and notions about war and beauty. I couldn’t help thinking of Bertolt Brecht and his War Primer scrapbook project from the 1940s:

Popular war imagery is always beautiful. Popular war notions are also beautiful and moving. A friend recently said to me that “war is man at his best.”  Considering all of this, one has to contextualize war within the standards of beauty and attempt to understand how it can be transformed into process and product (another aspect of the assignment).

Meanwhile, the following illustrate the process and product of the response:

More pictures here.

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We Are Conformity

 

Ha! The work of an aspiring smart-ass

 

I might get your heart racing
In my skin-tight jeans
Be your teenage dream tonight

Conformity: 1. Correspondence in form or appearance 2. Acting according to certain accepted standards.

The space called art-school is an interesting construct. You can find all kinds of sub-cultures within this space. Justinian the Bieber illustrates such a reality. The dream of Success, or Love can also be found within this space. Individuals that bring with them the burden of various languages and cultures come together in this space to create the dream of the art-school.

Now all that might sound like a bunch of bull to most but I’ve been watching and learning. This particular art-school construct is far more interesting since it is a spin-off of a much older parent in a much more culturally laden city. This art-school exists in a city known for its military past and within a space where (important) people were assassinated. It’s a bubble inside a bigger bubble of fear and terror and everyday urban happenings. This art-school is an idea within many other ideas, guarded by barbed wire and barriers and bored security. This art-school is an anomaly yet it fits the idea too well sometimes.

Here the boys and girls from far-flung “remote areas” wear their skin-tight jeans and their bandannas and paint their faces and build dreams. Frankly, it overwhelms me sometimes. Another interesting take on this is here. Very interesting.

In trying to connect pop-culture with sub-culture and further with the idea of the art-school I’ve managed to draw no hard conclusions. The best I can do is observe and state what I see. This is a phenomenon that deserves further study as far as I am concerned. Also, it is very late at night and I am heavily medicated as usual. Hence, the random musing.