photograph

photograph

The Photograph

Prayers for the fallen soldiers on this Memorial Day

Introduction:

My photo
Current: Danbury, CT, United States
Welcome! A few years ago, I discovered an application that artists employ in their works to bring cultural awareness to their audiences. Having discerned this semiotic theory that applies to literature, music, art, film, and the media, I have devoted the blog, "Theory of Iconic Realism" to explore this theory. The link to the publisher of my book is below. If you or your university would like a copy of this book for your library or if you would like to review it for a scholarly journal, please contact the Edwin Mellen Press at the link listed below. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Thank you for visiting. I hope you will find the information insightful. ~ Dr. Jeanne Iris
To view my page on the Edwin Mellen Press website, please click below:

14 December, 2009

Monday Poetic Respite



Eleventh Day of Christmas 


On the 11th day of Christmas,
I wish to send to thee
a cup of gentle tidings
that will surely comfort thee.


Remember your uniqueness
that your blessings are in you,
and use those gifts to be one
who uplifts humanity true.


Jeanne I. Lakatos 2009

01 December, 2009

Paul McCartney's 'Blackbird' and Iconic Realism (Click onto this title to view Paul McCartney singing "Blackbird")


http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s191/Atravesdevenezuela/paul-mccartney.jpg

http://i43.tinypic.com/2rpuqo5.jpg
Paul McCartney's song, "Blackbird," is an example of iconic realism. When he composed "Blackbird' in the spring of 1968, the United States was dealing with civil rights issues, the women's movement, the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, and the Vietnam War. Here, McCartney's focus is on the empowerment of the female African-American woman. 
The term 'bird' is an English slang for woman, and the blackbird is a literary symbol for freedom, so this blackbird, singing in the dead of night is the juxtaposition of an iconic, realistic figure in a realistic setting, not usually expected for that icon. McCartney's placement of this figure in this setting brings awareness of the hope for women, particularly African-American women, to find their freedom through equality within a 'sunken eyed' society. 
This simple song, introduced by a brief musical reference to Bach's Bourree, with meter changing from flowing waltz to a steady two-step, brings enlightenment of a cultural need for reform in regard to feminine empowerment in society. To this day, segments of the world's society need to awaken to the message in this song.

12 October, 2009

Century Mountain Project and Iconic Realism (Click onto this title to view the Website of Huang Xiang and William Rock)



William Rock and Huang Xiang have formed a collaboration that unites iconic figures throughout the centuries with artistic/poetic expression. Their juxtaposition of these creative geniuses in the common public arena brings awareness of cultural coalescence.
However the audience incorporates and assimilates the information gained from perceiving a work of art, the reader, viewer or listener structures the information in order to create interpretation.
The audience draws from personal nuances to create the parameters of this creative endeavor, basing it upon the artist’s textual, visual, scientific or musical composition. This circuitous relationship between the audience and the artist continues to unfold as the audience adapts its consciousness to the art form.

04 October, 2009

Monday Poetry Respite

This week's assignment from TFE involved our viewing a photograph from TFE's collection and writing a poem. As you can see, I chose the photograph entitled, "Fitzer's Alley."


Ne’er Death 


Fitzer had a close call back in 2005
He made it as far as
the star-shaped puddles
there in the groundwork,
along with the genesis of life:
dollops of debris, mud and grit.
Then someone called him back.
He had more art to refine, so
he left his design on the wall.
See, he just had to make sure
he’d find his way on the return.


He’s in good company:
Kar, Palmer, IC, Ar’y.
and other obscure names
inscribed upon those walls
that humans love to build,
safeguarding their passions.
More artists, I suppose they are,
called back to finish their work
inspiring, creating, envisioning
their universe or universals
helping the rest of us find our way.


© Jeanne I. Lakatos  2009






29 September, 2009

'Human Countdown' and Iconic Realism (Click onto this title to see and hear about this event.)




On September 20, 2009, Central Park in New York City was filled with individuals who were interested in making a change in the public's attitude concerning the need for environmental stewardship. These individuals gathered in Central Park to create a living, visual image to highlight the message of this change to occur worldwide. 
An excellent example of iconic realism, this community event demonstrated how a creative vision in the midst of one of the world's largest cities can bring awareness of cultural reform to the attention of the world. 

15 September, 2009

Goethe's _Dr. Faust: The Tragedy_ and Iconic Realism (Click onto this title to see and hear "Faust"-Murnau 1926, The Dark)

In his play, Faust: The Tragedy (Faust. Der Tragödie), Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe provides an illustration of iconic realism in that he places an iconic character, Mephistopheles, representing the complexities of evil/negation in the presence of the realistic, emotionally charged character, Dr. Faust, who struggles with his own perception of a quality human experience. The disguised Mephistopheles makes a deal with Faust, and cultural lessons unfold. In the end, through the interactions of the feminine character, Gretchen, Mephistopheles and Faust, Goethe elucidates his audience of redeeming cultural virtues of honesty, integrity, and perseverance.

14 September, 2009

Monday Poetry Respite

Fantasia
by Jeanne I. Lakatos

Yearning for serenity
an unsettled mind
drifts gracefully
flowing in paralysis
a paradox offering
spiritual coalescence
sweet malady
sweeter melody
sweetest memory
core surge caresses
in divine rhythm
echoes from arched bones
guard this heart
in solemn surrender to stillness
filling silence with rapture

(As per TFE's Monday poetry assignment, I wrote this poem upon listening to "Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis," composed by Ralph Vaughan-Williams)

26 August, 2009

Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis" and Iconic Realism (Click title to hear musical rendition of "Venus and Adonis" by John Blow (1649-1708)

"Venus and Adonis" by Francois Lemoyne (1729)

Iconic realism is evident in William Shakespeare's epyllion, "Venus and Adonis." He places these two beings of varying mortality in a lush setting, similar to the Garden of Eden, but the goddess of Love finds it impossible to obtain the object of her desire, for his own desires and eventual mortality triumph. Through his representation of this immortal creature in conjunction with a mortal setting and circumstances, Shakespeare uses the goddess of Love to elucidate his readers of the importance of suffering as a vital aspect in the human experience.
Painting of William Shakespeare by William Rock
Chinese Calligraphy of Hamlet's Soliloquy by Huang Xiang





19 August, 2009

Vincent Van Gogh and Iconic Realism (Click onto title to hear Don McLean sing "Vincent" with accompanying Van Gogh paintings.)










Vincent Van Gogh

calligraphy by Huang Xiang

painting by William Rock


Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh


Van Gogh
(Translation of Huang Xiang's poetry, written in Chinese calligraphy on painting)

The painting holds high like torchesSunflowers turning high-heaven's blazing

SUN
To burn up the magnificent painting spirit stopped by a bulletTo burn down the temple of golden yellow
Opaque color -dabs like clots of
Blood
Gush fiery tears
Struggling lines feverishly erupt, twitching like raw nerves

The back view of a giant
Reappears

An audience interprets visual art by incorporating the artistic components of color, form, line and texture. Each of these elements could be an iconic representation in that a community establishes a specific association with the artistic component. Over time, this component represents an aspect of the culture, which established the association. When the artist places this specific element in a realistic setting to convey another cultural issue, the use of iconic realism enables the viewing audience to interpret a new cultural dilemma (Lakatos 59).


An example of using a visual image to enhance meaning through the collective memory of a community exists within Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night. He centrally places an iconic, celestial figure: moon, sun, stars, as a focal point, disproportionate to the small village With wide, brush strokes, he creates movement and thus, a memory that transcends the primary source of his painting, that of the cosmic link between structure of a silent society and chaos. He paints contrasts of light and dark, structure and non-structure, illuminating his audience of the need to consider the bleak constraints of organized spirituality. He paints a magnificent challenge for the members to consider enlightenment as an action that illumines the darkness of the soul. In this painting, Van Gogh illustrates his personal connection with nature and spirituality.

12 August, 2009

Benny Goodman Live at Carnegie Hall, 1938 and Iconic Realism (Click onto title to hear performance.)

(Photograph info: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic- art/243118/72265/Benny Goodman-and-members-of-his-band-1938)

Benny Goodman and his orchestra appearing on the stage of Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1938 illustrates the theory of iconic realism. Never before had the art of jazz in America been performed in an established musical forum, where previous to this performance, only classical music had been performed. The presence of this jazz artist on this particular stage enlightened the world audience of the need for cultural affirmation of this art form. From this moment onward to the present, jazz has taken its place of honor as America's original musical genre.

28 July, 2009

Richard Wagner and Iconic Realism (Click title to see and hear musical rendition of Flight of the Valkyries)


"An example of iconic realism in a musical composition utilizing instrumentation is Wagner’s mythical composition, The Ring of the Nibelungs.  In this piece, Wagner represents various aspects of society through instrumental characterizations. As Tarasti affirms, 'the gods appear in the Ring not only as personifications of the elements of nature, for example, Loge as the god of fire, Donner the god of thunder etc, but also as a society, whose leader is Wotan.' [1] His use of contrasting instrumentation throughout his opus reveals an intense desire to illustrate corruption within his society. Many filmmakers choose to accompany the drama of their themes utilizing the nineteenth century Wagner music. An example of such intense films is Apocalypse Now, which illustrates the corruption associated with the Vietnam War" (Lakatos 78) 

 

1. Tarasti, Eero. Myth and Music: A Semiotic Apporach to the Aesthetics of Myth in Music, especially that of Wagner, Sibelius and Stravinsky.(Paris: Mouton, 1979) 177.  


22 July, 2009

Blade Runner and Iconic Realism

The 1982 film, Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott, screenplay written by Hampton Fancher, is based on the novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. In the film, set in a futuristic Los Angeles, Harrison Ford’s character, Deckard, has a mission to terminate 4 replicants. However, his iconic figure of a rugged cop experiences a change of conscience as emotional turmoil enters his stark reality. This film contains several illustrations of iconic realism through the use of iconic images overlaid an obscure, futuristic setting, that bring the audience to an awareness of the ambiguous reality of human strength and weakness.   

12 July, 2009

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie








These young students taste all that is forbidden in a 're-education' camp in the remote hills of China during the Chinese cultural revolution of the 1970's: music, literature, love, and freedom. Dai Sijie writes a beautiful tale as both a novella and a screenplay, illustrating through the use of iconic realism that creativity and the hunger for knowledge of self and the world perseveres within the human spirit.  

04 July, 2009

The Great Escape and Iconic Realism


I was channel surfing the other day and landed on The Great Escape, a 1963 film directed by John Sturges. I couldn't help notice that this film illustrates the semiotic theory of iconic realism in that the audience perceives icons of both freedom and constraint through character representation of the Allied prisoners of WWII and the German Gestapo. As the film progresses with bucolic settings that also provide a perception of freedom, only to be constrained by the Nazi forces, the viewer becomes poignantly aware of freedom and its multiple forms of limitation. In the end, those characters who are still alive, question their need for physical freedom from the pow camp as they learn to appreciate their individual spiritual, intellectual and emotional autonomy. 

28 June, 2009

Michael Jackson's "Earth Song" and Iconic Realism (Click onto title to view video.)


This song illustrates the semiotic theory of iconic realism. Here, Michael Jackson intellectually, visually and auditorily reaches into the consciousness and conscience of humanity by means of illustrating iconic features of industrialization and greed through the killing of animals, forest and human beings. He situates these features in realistic settings that are not a familiar sequence. By doing this, he illustrates the commonalities among humans around the earth and through this use of iconic realism, he brings the attention of his audience to the dilemma of stewardship of this planet, we call Earth.

19 May, 2009

Angels and Demons and Iconic Realism


The current film, Angels & Demons by Dan Brown, directed by Ron Howard, is an excellent illustration of iconic realism. Here, the author places a representative of the powerful Catholic Church, based on faith, in a scientific environment. The result of this juxtaposition is the audience's illumination of cultural belief systems.

24 March, 2009

Ode to Skunk Cabbage

Below, you will find my favorite spring poem. It has nothing to do with iconic realism. Today is a beautiful, cold, early spring day here, and I just felt like sharing this. Hope you enjoy it!

Ode to Skunk Cabbage
by Jeanne I. Lakatos

Bursting forth from its ruddy milieu
a flower erects from its hooded spathe.
This courageous prophet boldly
faces the frigid air with confidence,
radiating silently, as if to say,
“Come to me, for I offer
nourishment you need now.”
Sweet attraction allures, and she comes:
the beetle, the spider, the queen bee,
warmed by the generosity
of Spring’s first flower.
Odoriferous, proud, protective,
he inspires other fragrant flora
to engender beauty.
Now, Spring has arrived
with the burgeoning
of the exceptional Skunk Cabbage.

19 March, 2009

The Daily Show and Iconic Realism



Yes, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is another example of iconic realism. As he juxtaposes the very serious business of news reporting with humor, Mr. Stewart elucidates his audience of the sobering message that society needs to pay attention to the variation of truth, broadcast on the major networks. The subject matter discussed on The Daily Show over the past few years and the increasing numbers of viewers illustrate the paradigm of news media and audience reception of current events.

18 March, 2009

St. Joseph's Table and Iconic Realism


March 19 is St. Joseph's Day....I know, in some circles, this might be known as the reprieve following St. Patrick's Day. Now, what could be more iconic than a table laden with Italian delicacies? The way in which this becomes iconic realism is the setting (time) of this tradition, Lent, a time normally set aside for fasting. However, at a St. Joseph's Table, there is an abundance of wonderful food, in honor of the patron saint of families. The cultural aspect which becomes magnified by this juxtaposition of excessive edibles during a period of fasting would be the focus on familial bonds, friendship, love. If you have never experienced a St. Joseph's Table, I highly recommend it. The aroma alone will revive your senses, providing a true contemplation of life's adventure. 

03 March, 2009

"Dixit Dominus" and Iconic Realism








The photo: cochlea

To hear Mozart's Vesperae solennes de Confessore, Dixit Dominus, click onto this URL: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RD74TXKdYJA

Click onto the URL below to see an animation of sound felt along the basilar membrane in the cochlea: 

http://www.rockefeller.edu/labheads/hudspeth/movie06_popup.html



Dixit Dominus 
by Jeanne I. Lakatos

The chorus swells; waves rush in,
their flow controlled 
by the canal's turbid banks. 
Membrane pulsates - 
Malleus, Incus Stapes
vibrate
through a liquid universe. 
Electrical impulses meander
in and out and around 
minuscule hair cells within
majestic cochlea, sitting on its throne,
dormant. 
Eighth nerve to the brain reaches out.
Mozart sheds a heavenly tear. 
This perfect one will never hear
Dixit Dominus. 

01 March, 2009

Iconic Realism and YOU!


I would love to hear your reactions to this theory. When you get a chance, please jot down your opinions. 
Thanks! ~ Jeanne

22 February, 2009

New York City Graffiti and Iconic Realism

Recently, it was brought to my attention that graffiti would be an excellent example of iconic realism, and I completely agree. Thanks, Brian Ward, for pointing that out. Here, you will see some examples of graffiti found around New York City. If you look closely, you will notice the juxtaposition of iconic ideals with cynicism, reflecting a consciousness present in an inner city truth, painted on the exterior walls of buildings in one of the world's most relevant cities. These art renderings bring into focus significant dichotomies within our society. 


                                            

18 February, 2009

Rosie the Riveter and Iconic Realism


photo from Google Images

"Rosie the Riveter was an icon of the World War II era. The image of a pretty woman with her hair tied back, flexing her might, was completely out of place for the society’s image of a woman before 1941. However, this image provided inspiration to many women who were in need of money and who wanted to contribute to the war effort. The community was the female population of the United States of America during World War II.  Her image continues to be an icon for feminine strength and perseverance through troubled times. Use of this icon as a source of feminine motivation is an example of the semiotic theory of iconic realism affecting the culture of a community" (Lakatos 81).
"Through the use of the semiotic theory of iconic realism, artists shape the consciousness of various aspects of culture, including education, history, business, and aesthetics whereby their works of art combine an iconic figure with a realistic setting that communicates an incompatibility with the accepted environment in which the audience commonly associates the iconic figure. Understanding the language presented through the art form, be it literary, visual or aural, the audience may even respond with an emotional resistance, as it perceives the iconic representation in this new realistic setting." (Lakatos, The Theory of Iconic Realism: Understanding the Arts through Cultural Context)

14 February, 2009

My Valentine Poem for 2009

Love's Capacity
by Jeanne I. Lakatos

We human beings
have the capacity to love
like no other creature
on earth. Our humility
resides in the loving power
that we extend to others,
not expecting reciprocity
but only using our unique
power of love to enrich
human consciousness,
releasing our contribution
resonating within
the universal wellspring: love.

02 February, 2009

Not iconic realism, rather irony and circular condition

Okay, so today was a very odd Monday, there must be some kind of planetary retrograde or something taking place. Anyway, the end of the day was arriving, and a colleague of mine asked if I'd be interested in ordering a pizza. "Sure!" I replied, and quickly put on my red coat to quickly walk over to the Student Center ATM and get some cash. 

That's when it happened. I decided to walk through one of the buildings to avoid the ice outside. However, as I turned the corner in the hallway, I slipped and fell on some melted ice. My cute, Dooney-Burke slid across the hall, and there I was on my knees. Well, thank goodness no one was around to see this....Ah, but had there been, a possible law suit might have been easy to win...and I could have been a millionaire! 

Not the case, however. I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and started all over again, heading toward the ATM for a couple of 20's. When I returned, I noticed the area of my foot that hit the floor was swelling, hurting....a lot! Now, it is a lovely shade of bluish-green, throbbing and determining exactly how I maneuver this crazy frozen world. I have some old crutches, which have come in handy, and I just know that this, too, shall pass. 

Now, here is the irony of the situation. I am now applying ice to this swollen entity at the southern end of my person....ice! ....that which caused this condition in the first place. Full circle.

*** Having visited the hospital, I am now learning to navigate with crutches, for this little spill has resulted in 2 broken bones in my left foot. Should be interesting!

31 January, 2009

Have fun with Zen Meditation Chimes!

Whilst you play this musical instrument, perhaps, you will be transformed into a state of total relaxation, from which you, too, will conjure some ideas regarding iconic realism. This theory can be applied to many forms of human experience. Aw, come on, give it a try!  

24 January, 2009

Iconic Realism and Commercial Use

I just viewed a TV commercial for a national American bank. The ad began with footage of an adorable, well-fed, happy baby, followed by a series of events that could affect this baby during his/her lifetime, placing the iconic image of innocence juxtaposed with the risks of adult decisions, bringing the audience through to the recognition that their savings would earn wonderful dividends if placed in this bank. 

In another commercial, a hybrid automobile is placed in the middle of a lush, wooded glen. Little by little, the writers narrate the environmental benefits of owning this car. Again, the placement of an icon for modern society in the middle of the natural environment to make a statement about the cultural need for earthly stewardship. 

Oh yes...a creative means to sell product!

20 January, 2009


Always check your mail! Today, I happened to check my mailbox at the university, and sitting there on top of the mailbox shelf was a package addressed to me. In this package (YES!) were five copies of my book! I'm still not satisfied with the photo of me on the back cover, but oh well...The book is written; the theory is out there, and there ya go! Any questions about the cover photo? It's pretty cool, huh? 

Oh....and TFE? Love that photo of you, brilliant smile! You look a bit pale, though. Need a little sun, do we? 

Inauguration Poem: Revolution

My poem in honor of the Inauguration of President Barack Obama:

Revolution
by Jeanne I. Lakatos

Historical moments,
meiosis of human spirit,
evolve into prospects
for rebellion to split
open the festering 
wound of ignorance,
bleed with hastening
progress in anticipation
of a conscious awakening.

19 January, 2009

Iconic Realism and the Inauguration of President Barack Obama

The United States of America will be inaugurating the first Irish/African American president, Barack Obama this Tuesday. The photography that surrounds this event will be filled with examples of iconic realism simply because of this historical event. One example that comes to mind is the pose of President-elect Obama standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial. This photo in itself does not display a figure 'out of place.' What it does illustrate is the presidential image of Mr. Obama, standing in front of the iconic image of Abraham Lincoln. The fact that he is represented in this presidential view is unique for this moment in time. From this photograph, we are made aware of the need for political change in the U.S.A.

13 January, 2009

Iconic realism in Irish literature

An example of iconic realism in Irish literature is Cathleen Ni Houlihan. Her character appears in a number of novels and poetry through a variety of personas. I'm thinking of such obvious writers as James Joyce, Brian Friel, William Butler Yeats and Maria Edgeworth, not to mention my personal favorite, Sydney Owenson. 

Iconic realism in Art

As you gaze upon the art by Dali, below, you will note that he uses iconic realism in most of his artistic renderings. He will place a recognizable figure in a position in which this figure is not expected to exist. Through his placement of the figure in this unrealistic setting, he creates a realism that brings awareness of an aspect of culture that needs reformation in some way.  

11 January, 2009

Definition of the Semiotic Theory of Iconic Realism

by Jeanne I. Lakatos (aka 'Siobhan an Hun')

Realism comprises authentic and independent aspects of the natural world, which individuals comprehend through sensory perception. The term icon describes a realistic person or realistic object, categorically perceived by a population as representative of a specific human activity or an object that bears significance to human activity. Iconic realism, then, involves the placement of an icon within the midst of a unique realistic setting, out of place for this particular icon, creating a static coalescence of the icon with the designated realism. Since both the icon and the realistic setting represent an aspect of the culture, the resulting friction between these two entities is the catalyst that generates enlightenment of a cultural dilemma.

An example of iconic realism would be an artist’s placement of Jesus the Christ or a representation of this icon of Western philosophy, in the midst of the Iraq War, 2009, an aspect of the real world. This individual in this setting would generate enlightenment of the cultural dilemma, stirring a new consciousness of political and philosophical intentions of United States’ Judeo-Christian philosophy and the activity within the designated, realistic Middle East during this particular time in history and locale. 

Iconic realism in Music

Iconic realism in music involves the sounds of nature, outer space or any object not associated with a musical instrument, that has been synthesized with traditional musical instruments of an orchestra, jazz group, or contemporary musical group. The juxtaposition of the natural or tech sounds with the orchestral music illustrates some aspect of cultural reform.