Context and Art

Throughout my life, I have never really been into “art” (it is hard to pin down what this word actually means, so I will put it in quotes). In fact, I thought it was a sham. Observing people in museums “taking in” abstract paintings made me want to throw up. People would tell me that I had to understand the history surrounding the piece to appreciate it. I obstinately countered that I wanted the piece to mean something to me in and of itself, context aside. Isn’t learning the historical context just filling your head with a bunch of facts? Isn’t art something that can/SHOULD transcend facts?

Over the past couple of years, much has changed for me and I have come to appreciate art more than I ever thought I would and I believe I owe it to the word “context”. I have come across the word “context” in many different areas of study, and I have succumbed to the fact that it imbues everything. Context fills each and every thing we “understand” with meaning. Context allows us to appreciate the richness of life. While I would still like to hold on to the idea that a piece can derive meaning “in and of itself”, I now find this idea to be meaningless. Surely even if a piece gives you meaning and you know nothing of the historical context, the meaning you ARE getting is from other contextual pieces of information in your brain (i.e. you are a structural engineer, so the structure of the piece seems to stand out to you; you are a staunch feminist and the fact that only male characters appear in the piece gives you an idea as to the underlying meaning of the piece).

Given all of this, I decided to buy some scratchboards, a medium that interested me because it is similar to the M.C. Escher, the only artist who up until this point, I had found provocative. I don’t even know the basics of art, but I experimented today. Here is my first attempt:

My First Scratchboard

Android Emulator Freezing with Ubuntu in VirtualBox

I recently got back into Android programming and came across a problem that caused me to burn a lot of hours, so I figured I would post it here to help out.

Basically, whenever I would run any Android emulator in Ubuntu (x64 or x86, 11.04 or 11.10, but likely others as well) the emulator would just hang. Most posts on the topic said “wait longer” because it was just trying to start up for the first time. In my case however, it had to do with the fact that I had “3D Acceleration” checked in my VirtualBox settings. Simply unchecking this box allowed the emulator to run correctly.