Monday, February 23, 2009

the guppy

This very unusual aircraft is confusing from any angle--seen head-on probably makes it even more-so. Called the Super Guppy or the Pregnant Guppy, the plane was designed to carry outsized cargo. The only one left in service is used by NASA to carry parts for the international space station. This particular one is non functioning and is at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona.

One of the choices I have when taking a picture is whether to make the subject matter clearer or more obscure. Obscurity allows people to consider various meanings for subject matter they would not be familiar with. Obscurity allows for wonder and imagination. Clarity generally has the opposite effect. Aircraft aficionado's typically would prefer clairity. I am not one of those.

Enigmatic art (another way of saying obscure) seems to be mostly a product of modernity. Okay, I haven't done any research about that--it's just an assumption. I have a hunch that it comes from the desire to undermine the desire for knowledge and certainty that comes with the rationalist world view. For centuries art, painting, photography--the visual arts--have been put work in service of explanation. As various methods of explaining ourselves have proliferated, we increasingly take the tools of explanation in other directions.

Here's the sideview that allows you to figure out the function a bit more clearly.

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