Monet’s haystacks are a pastoral technology. Unchanged in form since the mummy god Osiris taught men to plant seeds in the earth, they remain still on the earth while the wheeling light passes over them. It is from such stillness under change that we have become aware of time.
This image is a Monet landscape, but its pastoral imagery is now shrunken almost to unnoticeability. High and large in the foreground and, as the image’s title says, ascending, a new technology is sending unchanging shadow back up to the sky from which changing light once descended unchecked, bringing with it life and death in seasonal alteration. Linear Marinetti history is superseding cyclical Monet history. A hundred years ago, says this historical record, death was on the rise.
Source: Aufstieg eines Jagdflugzeuges (“Ascent of a fighter plane”), Austria-Hungary, about 1917. National Library of Austria, http://www.bildarchivaustria.at/Pages/ImageDetail.aspx?p_iBildID=4814016. Photoshopped.
Background: anonymous Vorticist drawing, 1916.
Annotation from the record in the Library of Congress’s George Grantham Bain Collection: “Photograph shows Nephele A. Bunnell (b. 1897), a participant at the automobile fashion show held at Sheepshead Bay Race Track, New York City, June 23, 1917. The event was a fundraiser on behalf of the Actors’ Fund of America. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2015).” Link: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ggb2006000143/. Photoshopped.
Source: Holger Damgaard, French uniform with gas mask, 1915. Royal Library, Copenhagen, http://www.kb.dk/images/billed/2010/okt/billeder/object140232/en/. Photoshopped.
Source: “Le zeppelin ‘L 49’ abattu à Bourbonne-les-Bains [le 20 octobre 1917].” Photograph by Agence Rol, Bibliothèque nationale de France, http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b530036907/f1.item. Photoshopped.
Click to enlarge. The gunboat Geier, detached from the German Navy’s doomed Pacific squadron at the beginning of World War I, was interned in Honolulu during the period of American neutrality. After the United States broke off diplomatic relations with Germany in February 1917, Geier’s crew attempted to burn the ship at its dock before it could pass under American control. An earlier post about the incident, based on undigitized images, is at http://theartpart.jonathanmorse.net/snap-shots-of-an-event-that-may-become-historic/ .
For Franz Kline
The image of the Cunard liner Mauretania in World War I dazzle paint is on the web, but I haven’t found its original source. The anonymous posting that I downloaded and photoshopped dates the image as April 2, 1917, but that is clearly wrong because the flags indicate that the picture was taken in an American port and the United States didn’t enter the war until April 5. I’d guess that the picture was taken in New York on December 2, 1918, at the same time as the image I posted about on October 23, 2016.