Saturday, November 10, 2012

Alan Watts and Target Fascination

I have been listening to Alan Watts on YouTube recently.

In his three hour lecture titled Do You Do It, Or Does It Do You? Watts mentions a phenomenon he calls "Target Fascination" whereby skydivers are so involved in gazing at the approaching target that they forget to pull their parachute cord. The target represents doom. How timely.

I started to think about this association of targets with doom as it might be represented in modern art. The work of Jasper Johns immediately sprang to mind.

I did a little online investigation of the concept of Target Fascination and found an interesting article citing a study of pilot errors due to "fascination," concentration on some object or task that caused loss of voluntary control over response. This was called the moth effect.

The illustration at the top of this post (which was found here) is a portrait of Jasper Johns by Shepard Fairey. The second and third illustrations are works by Jasper Johns.

Additional items of interest found:
Artist Eva Lake is looking for targets and has posted some nice images on her blog. I love her mixed media gallery of women and targets.

Check out this video of Jasper Johns discussing his target paintings courtesy of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art site. Unfortunately, I cannot hear the audio as it seems that my cat Frida has chewed through my computer's speaker cable!

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