Mobody’s home

November 29th, 2007

I feel bad about not joining in the spirit of Movember this year and failing to raise any money for prostate cancer or depression, so next year I shall redeem myself with Cocktober.

The art of subversion, or the subversion of art

July 15th, 2007

What is Art?

I think about this quite a bit, as I have a few friends who are visual artists.

When you stand before a painting or photograph, framed and hung in a gallery, perhaps bearing the creator’s signature and a title or description located next to it on the wall, of course we know this is art because all the signs are there, no matter what – if anything at all – it stirs within us .

When we come across a bronze sculpture on a street corner or in a park, again we are clear: it is art – I can literally put my finger on it. Big, metallic stillness where otherwise all around is buzzing movement; it proclaims to us its conceived, designed and crafted nature.

And what if these things arouse nothing within us? Are they therefore not works of art after all, or are we in fact the deficient ones?

I do believe art should arouse something within us as viewers, as I also hope it is forged from something aroused within the artist. I want art to make me aware of something new, to make me question, to make me see or think or feel differently about something. I want it to change my consciousness in some way, or at least to be a catalyst for this.

You will notice I have interspersed this piece with photos of street name signs. They are as you would find all over Melbourne. There is nothing special about them at all. Their form will be familiar to you and indeed they are so much in the background of our lives as to be practically invisible (except, perhaps when we’re lost).

What have they to do with art?

Well …

… behold …

. . . . . . . . THIS!

When I saw it I had an incoherent feeling that something in the world was not right, yet I couldn’t identify what it was.

Most unsettling.

After a while I pinpointed the source of it: this street sign was very different. Over the next few moments the realisations unfurled: the letters of the street name were all lower case . . . in a completely different typeface . . . and serif!

I was actually stunned.

Not by the audacity (yes, audacity) of the sign’s presence, but by the thoughts and feelings which now started tumbling within me:

“Wow. That’s different. It’s a serif typeface . . . Is it Times New Roman? And lower case letters . . . . Very cheeky! I think I like it. Do I like it? Yes, I do. Definitely. But what do I think of the all the other regular ones? Wow – I’ve never stopped to think about it. What do they look like again? I don’t know, I’ve never paid them much attention and now I can’t visualise beyond this cute little serif-o-rama of Times New Roman. I was blind but now I can see! What sort of a person am I – what sort of an unconscious haze have I been walking around in – that I have never noticed the forms around me every day, let alone come to some appraisal of how I feel about them, about whether or not I find them pleasing?”

Within seconds I was not only evaluating for the first time a small (and, you would agree, insignificant) aspect of my world, but I was also in fact re-evaluating my very way of being in the world in quite a broad sense.

 

It’s big stuff.

 

And that, in my opinion, truly is art.

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Ouch!

April 15th, 2007

So I’m lying belly-to-the-ground, on a thin mattress on the floor in the study, typing this on J’s laptop which is likewise situated on the floor in front of me.

How did I get here?

Actually, I crawled.

After spending the last couple of days in bed and in pain with one kind of lurgi, I threw myself into a spasm while getting up off a chair this afternoon. Funny thing pain. As I was explaining earlier to J, unlike the nauseating, dull, aching pain that transforms the world into something distant and cloudy this is searing, invigorating pain that sharpens and focuses consciousness (May the truly evil people in the world be similarly invigorated; then let’s see them try to do mischief).

It took me a full 5 minutes to cover the few metres from the floor of the bedroom to the floor of the study on my hands and knees. In the end — if you can picture this — I had to use the inflatable “fit ball” as a sort of walker, letting it bear my torso’s weight as I inched forward on my knees. I have a new respect for hardwood flooring.

(What good is a blog if you can’t occasionally whinge or upload pet photos?)

Aspirin has been administered and is working its magic; a hot water bottle is nestled into what’s left of the curve of my lower back; the mp3 player, laptop, water and a crossword are all within reach.

It may hurt, but it’s surely not as painful and definitely less embarrassing — even on all fours, hugging an inflatable ball — than being attacked by a vicious beaver, a tale you can hear recounted in mp3 format here.

Enough about me.

If you have a moment, please join me in saying a prayer or holding in your thoughts or meditations those people struggling with real pain and suffering:

May the road ahead be kinder than the road behind.

5 ways to change your life by “Sorkinizing”

November 23rd, 2006

I used to think my life lacked direction, but I now realise what’s missing is good scriptwriting.

5 ways your life would improve if it were scripted by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip):

  1. You would rarely be at a loss for words and if you were, it would be for powerful dramatic effect.
  2. You’d be thinner and also much fitter from the constant walking-while-talking. Younger too, probably, and definitely more beautiful/handsome.
  3. Your friends (mainly from work which, of course, would be in a highly influential field such as federal politics or national network television, with you one of the central puppetmasters . . . ) your friends would also be very fit, for whenever they turn up for a chat you’d get them to “walk with me”.
  4. You would speak (rather quickly) in perfectly constructed sentences of staggering brilliance rather than like, you know, um . . . sort of . . . whatever.
  5. None of your relationships would be taken for granted, nor wither due to inattention because you’d focus on even the most peripheral of these at least every few months in an introspective letter to a close relative.

Do it, don’t do it . . . it’s entirely up to you.

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And I had these thoughts well before seeing this or this.

Believe me, don’t believe me . . . it’s entirely up to you  ;-)