Sunday, January 27, 2013

Expanding the Realms of Content and Context

As we continue to think about the multimedia content-delivery potential of the Humanities Visualization Space, we begin to expand the realm of possibilities for our interactive immersive experience.  In addition to the aforementioned sources relevant to Toulouse-Lautrec's A Montrouge, we could add information on Toulouse-Lautrec's physical condition, the psychological effects of which may have contributed to his exuberant, voracious lust for the Parisian demimonde--an appetite that had serious consequences for the artist's health, including the syphilis that contributed to his death at age 37.  With touch-screen technology, we could bring up a photographic portrait of Toulouse-Lautrec and through a link in the photograph metadata learn more about the circumstances and symptoms of Pycnodysostosis through wikipedia and then read a medical journal article about syphilis in art.  And though it might seem a bit creepy, through facial recognition, motion sensor and webcam technologies, we could develop an application that would show us what we would look like if we suffered from Pycnodysostosis to help us at least superficially speculate about how such a condition might affect us in terms of our self-perception and our relationships with others.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

We could then link to Emily Apter's "Spaces of the Demimonde/Subcultures of Decadence: 1890-1990" from Perennial Decay:  On the Aesthetics and Politics of Decadenceedited by Liz Constable, et al. to learn more about the Parisian demimonde in a broader historical context.  Additionally, we can revisit the idea of the femme fatale through youtube, where we can find silent-era film footage of La Goulue (Louise Weber) at age 60, doing a bit of the scandalous can-can, which she performed at the Moulin Rouge--the nightclub celebrated in Baz Luhrmann's film of the same name, with John Leguiziamo performing the role of Toulouse-Lautrec.

Because we want to maximize the scholarly value as well as the aesthetic appeal of HVS content, we could also link to articles that discuss Toulouse-Lautrec's technique and some of the discoveries made during restoration and conservation of his works.  As our explorations move beyond A Montrouge, we encounter the influence of Chevreul's Law of Simultaneous Contrast in the juxtaposition of green and orange in the face of foreground figure in Toulouse-Lautrec's At the Moulin Rouge.  As you will note, the titled-up perspective and the transitory, fleeting, ephemeral nature of an evening at the Moulin Rouge connect this painting to the influence of ukiyo-e.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, At the Moulin Rouge (1892-1895)
Kiyonobu I Torii, Man and Two Yoshiwara Women (18th c.)
As you continue to develop your blog posts, expand your realms of investigation and free association to increase the quality and quantity of the information that you connect to each work.  Search the content of the Optional/Supplemental Readings folder on elearning for inspiration.  Remember to imagine that your curated content will be experienced in an environment similar to that of the Gallery One Project at the Cleveland Museum of Art, rather than being read from a computer screen.

Finally, visit the Virtual Lautrec exhibition and think about the logistics of display:  which of Toulouse-Lautrec's works would you select for such an exhibition and how would you organize the works and the linked content in the interactive immersive HVS experience?

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