Friday, January 14, 2011

Arcimboldo and Object Oriented Ontology

And now for something not depressing. I recently stumbled across the amazing Renaissance paintings of Giuseppe Arcimboldo:
Here we find emblemized an Object Orient Ontology framework. Composed of autonomous objects (flowers, fruits, vegetables), this portrait expresses OOO’s assertion that there exist “objects all the way down” – that each autonomous object is composed of smaller objects. Yet, precisely because this portrait resembles a historical person (Rudolph II), we also see that the painted object, which is composed of component objects, exceeds the sum of its component objects. The resemblance or portrait-ness of the painting is irreducible to any sum of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. And because of this excess beyond component parts, the resemblance itself marks the withdrawnness of a real object. 
Arcimboldo has, then, translated the real object-ness of his subject into a sensual object (the portrait) much as the subject translates the fruits and vegetables that constitutive it. 

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