Whoops, I was a little late with renewing the domain, so there was a little bit of downtime there. But we’re back with another year of Type Dom! I think this is the 9th year since I started blogging in one form or another.
It’s been awhile since I last posted. After that attempt at blogging every day during February (which ended up at a 50% rate, which I’m okay with), I decided to take some time to think more about what I wanted to do with this blog. I think that blogging at such a “high” rate is a bit too much and it feels a bit like I’m spamming. It also had the reverse effect of what I wanted to achieve with my writing and this blog, rather than thinking ideas and arguments through, I would just go for whatever is easy and convenient to write about, like reviews. A lot of the more substantial posts I wanted to write ended up just sitting in the draft folder because they were just a little too hard to finish within the day.
So the basic goals for the next year of the blog are:
Put more effort into writing substantial posts. Don’t just settle for easy posts.
Establish a stronger visual style with the blog. (This might mean another redesign).
Blog at a more consistent rate.
Short simple goals for the next year. Now to get to writing.
I’m writing this post using a Montblanc Fountain Pen (which I typed up after) loaded with blue-black ink, a present from my brother and a favourite combination of the author Haruki Murakami. Like many of the authors I’ve been reading lately, Murakami has his own particular fascinations with things: Cats, mysterious women, baseball, jazz, whisky.
Perhaps this type of fascination is a characteristic of all authors, a fixation that drives an author to finish the monumental task that is writing a book, an obsession that sustains a writer over hundreds of pages and thousands of words.
What if this fascination weren’t centered on something remarkable or our of the ordinary? What if it was on something that can be seen clearly by the vast majority of people? What if it were something banal like the colour blue?
That’s not to say that there is anything particularly boring or wrong with the colour of blue, but rather the topic would seem itself banal. The sky is blue, the ocean is blue, blue lights, blue cars, blue flowers, blue paint. As Maggie Nelson says, it must be admitted that if blue is anything on this earth, it is abundant.
In recent times, colour has been of little interest to me. I’ve been largely delving into photography and its long history of black and white photographs. Henri Cartier Bresson’s greatest works were shot in black and white. Daido Moriyama made a career out of making blurry, messy monochrome photographs. Some of the most important moments in history were captured in silver and remembered only in monochrome.
This dive has made me start to think that black and white photographs are the purist of photos, as they are only concerned with the quality of light. Adding colour complicates things, and if you do so without purpose you are just making your photos more of a mess. Therefore all colour must have meaning or it is meaningless.
But what can one colour mean? A lot according to Maggie Nelson. Whether it’s Greek philosophers contemplating the nature of light, Novalis’s troubadour haunted by a blue flower in a dream, Yves Klein’s blue paintings, a Leonard Cohen song that mentions blue or a self-help book called the Deepest Blue, Nelson meanders between them in her chase of the colour. She wishes to be saturated with blue.
“We love to contemplate blue, not because it advances to us but because it draws us after it,” she quotes Goeth.
But as with all fascinations, hers with blue is deeply personal. Blue is of the deepest connections with long time friends and lovers past. Why blue? “We don’t get to choose what or whom we love, I want to say, we just don’t get to choose.”
Don’t mistake this book as one filled with sentimentality and unbearable nostalgia though. “Desire is not always yearning.” Perhaps her fascination was / is just a distraction, a retreat into a blue comfort she could no longer find with him, and writing just a way to empty herself of his blue.
It is a hard book to recommend. It is overly self indulgent, but I would argue all books are in someway self indulgent. Rather than dealing in any of exaltation of her life, or even of the colour blue, the book is largely stoic and introspective. She is careful to talk of the pain as well as the joy of blue. For some, this might seem a thoughtful approach, but others droning and depressive.
“As a rule we find pleasure much less pleasureable, pain much more painful than we expected,” she quotes the philosopher Schnopenhauer.
But in amongst the self indulgent passages, she finds a way to convey the beauty of her fascination: “I knew it all along. The heart of the world is blue.”
So Instagram recently updated to have multiple pictures/videos in a single post and I thought I would test it out. I’ve always found that Instagram and Facebook tend to place value more on individual images rather than the images as a set, especially with the way their algorithms can land you in the middle of a set rather than at the start. So with this new feature, you can finally start sequences photos together and tell stories with those sequences. But you don’t necessarily have to tell the truth with them.
I think I took these three photos on three different days on at least two different cameras, but putting them together makes them seem like they were taken one after the other. Shooting film lacks that immediacy that digital cameras give you, and so you start to divorce your photos from the time and place they were taken. This is especially the case when its months between shooting the photo and developing it.
After developing them though, I wasn’t really sure what to do with them. Usually when it comes to posting on Instagram or on the blog, I would have chosen the best of the three and then posted it, but I really couldn’t decide which one I liked more. But when the Instagram update happened, I realised I didn’t actually need to choose, but could just sequence them together.
In my opinion, editing photos is probably the hardest part of photography. More than just tweaking a photograph to look better, or choosing which of three photographs of the same thing is best, it’s about picking the right photo (or photos) for the medium and its something that I still struggle with and expect to continue to struggle with in the future.
But it’s always nice to remember that photos don’t always tell the truth.
TWICE has been on a bit of a roll lately. Their first three singles have been huge hits, propelling them to becoming the most popular girl group in Korea right now and they’re positioning themselves to hit the Japan market with some force. Their latest single, KNOCK KNOCK sees them continue with the same kind of addictive bubblegum pop that they’ve become known for.
And I do mean that. The song has everything we’ve come to expect from a TWICE song: It has that addictive repeatable hook “Knock knock knock knock, knock my door”, it starts with Nayeon, has Jihyo belting the chorus, an odd but obligatory rap bit with Chaeyoung and Dahyun and mimickable choreography move. But being a single off of a repackaged album (TWICEcoaster), more of the same is what’s to be expected. So if you liked or disliked other TWICE songs, you’ll probably fall on the same side with this song, though I do think that KNOCK KNOCK has a more consistent sound than their other singles, making it easier to like from the get go.
The MV though was a bit of a surprise, especially with the random JYP cameo. It feels like they’ve turned up the fan service to another level in this video, with the girls having a lot of little moments that invite and reward fans who watch it on repeat more intently (my favourite is Dahyun about to murder Momo with a pillow, but the hit was cut to keep the MV under an R rating). The storyline is meant to be a sequel to TT, but its done in some vague manner that I wonder why they even bothered to do it (but its par for course with confusing Kpop MVs). It also feels very Christmas-y, and would’ve felt more appropriate for a December release.
With TWICE aiming for an entry in the Japanese market sooner rather than later (they’re only promoting KNOCK KNOCK for two weeks while covering Harajuku and Shibuya with ads), the group is probably going to take a small break from the Korean market. I wonder if after that time off they’ll keep the same almost formulaic cutesy girl group concept going forward from TWICEcoaster, and if they do, I wonder how long that kind of thing can last, or will TWICE evolve into something more than that. I really hope that they do.