Time in Chinese Landscape Painting

"The Tao which can be expressed in words is not the eternal Tao; the name which can be uttered is not its eternal name."

If time is, as Plato asserted, the moving image of eternity, then the inability of that image to achieve closer has lead to two fundamentally different attitudes: One is to stop the flow in order to capture the image of eternity. This approach, however, results in an image frozen in time. It is the inevitable consequence of the analytic attitude, which seeks to separate the perceiver from the perceived. Though this posture serves as the foundation to the achievements of Western science, it stands in the way of a more sympathetic relationship between the perceiver and the perceived that is necessary in art. Because Chinese thought accepted the limitations of consciousness, it did not seek this separation. Since becoming was considered to be a part of being, they sought to create an art in harmony with becoming. For the Chinese, art was not a vehicle for depiction, but a vehicle of moods. This contrast between the East and the West highlights the classic problem of being and becoming. Western thought, embedded in Neo-Platonism, articulated the problem as a dialectic between realities and appearances. This dialectic lead, inevitably, to the desire to freeze ever-changing appearances to a permanent state of reality. For the Chinese, since being and becoming were not opposites, but interpenetrating polarities. The path to being was not through the rejection of becoming but through participation with its rhythmic unfolding. To become is to dance the dance of creation.
Art and Technology

Modern society is characterized by an ambiguity. Progress is tightly bonded to man’s relationship with technology; yet it is technology which threatens to take away our humanity. This anxiety resulted in the dual modernities of the sciences and the humanities The Enlightenment was equally committed to human understanding and liberation. Under the strain of urban industrialization, Modernity manifested itself as an open hostility between the scientific quest for progress and the humanistic desire to preserve the human spirit. Positivistic Modernity entrusted human destiny to rationality’s ability to produce a culture of optimistic, and benign technology. Aesthetic Modernism, suspicious of technology, sought its constrain in order to safeguard freedom and morality. Fearful of technology’s domination of human caprice, the arts in particular practiced the hermineutics of suspicion; appointing themselves as the watchdog of human sensibility. In the mist of this dispute, the growth and the expansion of the market subverted both the sciences and the humanities. resulting in a contemporary landscape in which both progress and morality must stand on the grounding of profit.


Humanity exists in a flight of hope between what is and what is possible. But today, we have become so ensnared within the webs of technology and consumerism that it has become virtually impossible to liberate our spirits. The result is that flight has turned into falleness, hope into despair. Modernity had called upon the spirit to counteract consumerism; however, its quest for interiority had the net result of splitting society into the Dual cultures of Bourgeois and Aesthetic Modernism. This Dual Modernism for a time maintained critique and counter critique balancing each other; but eventually aesthetics sensibility was appropriated by the marketing structure, which perverted it into an anesthetic for the purpose of inoculating society and silencing any real external critique of itself, thereby.

Akzidenz Grotesk

Akzidenz Grotesk: (Berthold Foundry 1898). Even though Akzidenz Grotesk was technically released in the 19th century, it was certainly one of the most important typeface of the 20th century. In response to the Industrial Revolution William Caslon IV offered a monoweight set of capitals without serifs in 1816. In 1832 the Fann Street Foundry brought out a sans serif, which it termed a “grotesque”. By 1850 virtually all type founders were issuing such faces in a confusing variety of widths and weights. As industrial printing moved out of the dark ages, typefaces began reacquiring the sharpness and refinement they once had in transition to their modernization.


Futura: (Paul Renner 1925–1928). Because ideas are beholding to their instantiation, while the aesthetic principles of the Bauhaus formed the foundation of modern design, its aesthetics were beholding to the fieldwork of Jan Tschichold and Paul Renner. Students of typography know that in the early days of the 20th century Akzidenz Grotesk had already created the preconditions that would transform it into a century for sans serifs. Since Akzidenz Grotesk and Futura both came out of Germany, the inquisitive mind cannot help but wonder what accounted for Germany’s radical typographic bent. In retrospect it was the need for simplicity induced by the complexity of the blackletter, which plagued Germany well into the 20th century. Since the Bauhaus’s own dictum advocated for simplicity of form, it was natural that its practitioners would embrace sans serifs. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy said: "Since all existing grotesque book styles lack basic style, a grotesque still has to be created. It should share the designed form of engineering structures, cars, and airplanes. For the moment we don't even have a working style. It should be exceptionally clear and legible, free of individualism, based on a functional appearance, without distortions or embellishments." Its internal practitioners, however, were unsuccessful in creating a functional typeface within the Bauhaus ideology. Fortunately, the beginning of such a model was already in development.

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