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Re: art and the planted aquarium
It's interesting, Roger, that the club would be
historically divided about aquaria as art.
The problem with the technical aspect of the hobby is
that you can only take it so far. And then you are
done. We all know how to get there. Lack of success
usually means shortcuts were employed (co2, light,
algae eaters, fertilizers).
How many more plants will be added to the hobby? How
many more species can we jam into one tank?
I've never been completely comfortable with the word
"gardener" when it comes to planted aquascapes. When
I hear that word, I think of rows of corn and
tomatoes. I admit to eating watersprite once, but
that's as far as it goes for me.
I have noted that none of the tanks in the AGA contest
have titles. At least none of the ones I have looked
at. Works of art have titles. And when they don't
have titles, they are called "untitled." Amano uses
titles for his tanks. I think adding titles colors
the way we view a tank, and just that little bit can
add to the enjoyment. How about it? Titles
(optional, I suppose) in the future.
It seems to me that an aquascaping contest is ALL
about art. The AGA can be about many things, but the
contest ought to be about art. If people want, maybe
there can be other kinds of contests, like points for
the number of species you can grow in a year
(sometimes I get emails that sound like those kids
that solicit magazines--"if I sell one more magazine,
I'll get 5,000 points, and win a scholarship to
Harvard, please!" "I need x plant to get the 10
points that will put me over the top in my plant
club..."). Or maybe quantity can be a contest (dry
weight of plants). Or perhaps "most LFS trade-in
credit contest". But the showcase ought to be about
art. Which it was, for the most part. I think there
is one glaring example where it wasn't, but I don't
really feel like going there. You either know what I
am talking about or you don't.
I'm somewhat familiar with poetry. Took a class in
college. :) And what they would do there is have
someone in the class bring a poem. We would go home
and study it, and then come back and offer critique
and criticism. Then the author would use that info.
to improve their work. Eventually, you could kind of
guess what the criticism would be, and could therefore
edit better even before you showed your work to
others. Perhaps people can post URL's to tanks they
would like critiqued, and interested parties can offer
their advice/opinions. Or perhaps someone would like
to suggest that a different tank besides the one
selected ought to have been the Best of Show, and can
tell us why he/she thought so. I'm just throwing out
ideas here. Getting together for a contest once a
year is great, but maybe ongoing dialogue could be
useful also. Maybe even creating a different list
would be in order.
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