The fireworks on the Fourth reminded me of Kandinsky’s Point and Line to Plane. He returns there to something like the synesthesia of his earlier opus, On the Spiritual in Art, in his discussion of independent straight lines:
Moreover, independent straight lines can, on a given surface, pass either through a common center or on either side of it [see above]. . . . Acentral, independent straight lines are the first to possess a particular capacity that enables a certain parallel to be drawn between them and the “chromatic” colors, and distinguishes them from black and white. In particular, yellow and blue carry in themselves various tensions — the tensions of advance and retreat.
. . . Independent straight lines, especially of the acentral variety . . . are less bound up with the surface and seem on occasion to pierce it. These lines are at the furthest remove from the point that burrows into the suface, since they in particular have abandoned the element of repose [present in horizontal and vertical lines].
Are we ready for such fireworks? Kandinsky mixes his technical art theory with social and spiritual commentary. He tells us that modern man’s addiction to the external (associated with vertical lines and white) causes him to look for inner silence (associated with horizontal lines and black).
Independent straight lines, particularly the acentral ones towards the top of each of these three pictures, break out of modern man’s repetitious dichotomy between his external and internal lives. Some of these lines pull toward us, like the color yellow, and some push away from us, like the color blue.
On the occasion of Independence Day, I wonder what Kandinsky would say we can and cannot see in our own fireworks, given the state of our polity?