Archive for month: February, 2016

Love is

In Alain Badiou’s words:

“Love is a tenacious adventure. The adventurous side is necessary, but equally so is the need for tenacity. To give up at the first hurdle, the first serious disagreement, the first quarrel, is only to distort love. Real love is one that triumphs lastingly, sometimes painfully, over the hurdles erected by time, space and the world… Happiness in love is the proof that time can accommodate eternity.” [1]

Art is love.

A chance meeting, an interest and then, like with love, we engage in an adventure that turns into one’s destiny.

Without the learning process all we have is a burning desire to express ourselves, because that is what we know best.

We impend on an investigation of our perspective on life; in essence, the world from our vantage point.

The idea that we might communicate, reach out to others, is stronger than us and even at times compulsive.

We test different mediums.

We learn.

We experiment.

Often we fail, so we try again.

Words can never be enough to express what those enigmatic 21 grams of soul (that leave us when we die) have to say.

While the more ethereal art forms such as music or the conceptual might have a much stronger effect than the tangible in uncovering the mysteries of our lives, perhaps they don’t.

The questioning is important.

Doubting our preconceived notions, our indoctrinated assumptions and searching for deeper understanding lead us to the unveiling of something grander than ourselves.

Badiou says that: “Love… is a quest for truth….Love isn’t simply about two people meeting and their inward-looking relationship: it is a construction, a life that is being made, no longer from the perspective of One but from the perspective of Two. [2]

Like with art, love is built from that first chance encounter.

It offers challenges that might often, present themselves as insurmountable hurdles.

Our destiny then, is cast when the pursuit of truth begins the construction of our greatest oeuvre, our story.

Badiou calls it “the locking in of chance” as “an anticipation of eternity. [3]

By Boky & Blake

  2. ibid
  3. ibid

Remember the Future

I can still hear Freud’s quote: “Where does a thought go when it is forgotten?”

Where does it go?

That sends me straight into Alice’s Wonderland where the Red Queen has the ability to remember the future.

If time is linear then the past loses relevance and the future is at stake because as we over-prepare for those eventualities we actually sacrifice our present. [1]

Perhaps this is why people go to church.

Perhaps religion gives them those ten minutes within which they can get lost in meditation and allow their dreams to take flight in the safety of a future. Perhaps this is why we create art; because in those hours, if we can find the concentration and get into the flow we forget who we are, all our complaints, all or needs, are gone.

Where does that forgotten thought end up?

I might suggest many things, but in the end, all I could ever hope to convey, would, at least to some extent, be tied to episodic memories and I’m not so sure there would be any real accuracy in that, especially given that I am no longer now who I was then.

“Echoing Meghan O’Rourke’s poetic assertion that the people we most love [become] ingrained in our synapses, in the pathways where memories are created,’ [2] Goldstein writes:

A person whom one has loved seems altogether too significant a thing to simply vanish altogether from the world. A person whom one loves is a world, just as one knows oneself to be a world. How can worlds like these simply cease altogether?” [3]

They don’t cease, but with every passing second we change.

Semantic memory grants us a backdrop for our future dreams and episodic memory allows us to attempt to predict an imagined outcome.

Without this we would have no plans, no goals, no dreams. We would be as good as dead. There would be nothing left to fight for and our terminal degrees would be buried deep within our past.

Knowledge is the gateway to our deepest humanity.

By Boky & Blake


Critic or Celebrator

Which are you, critic or celebrator?

I happen to agree with minimalist sculptor, Anne Truitt, who recounts in her Day Book the first time she became aware that she, the ‘self’ she considered to be okay and whole, was in fact, sadly inadequate.

One day, while very young, she was being dressed for a party.

Her mother and nurse were fixing her hair and trying to perfect a curl at the top of her head.

They went on and on about it, twisting, wetting and turning the hair so the curl would be just right.

They wanted to add something more to her, giving her the impression that she wasn’t enough without it and before she knew it, she wanted it too.

The praise was abundant and she felt proud to have that curl and to be more than she was before having it.

That was the lie behind the pride.

It was the fact that she needed to add something to that ‘self’ which up until that moment, that curl, had been terribly deficient.

From that moment on she understood how we become pleasers.

We deny ourselves, forfeiting our truths and even our self-worth, in order to get that praise that society will shower upon us, if we do the right thing.

Still, the right thing would be what exactly?

To be more like them?

Because as Truitt explains, humans will chastise anything unlike themselves.

If we can all conform and live within their ‘book of being’ we are not only accepted, but praised.

Who doesn’t want the praise?

Who doesn’t like to be doted on and idolized?

So, in time we sacrifice it all.

Even our art might be perverted into something they might understand and like.

We want them to like it, don’t we?

If we deviate too far from what they are, we lose page likes, we lose sales and even the art critics could turn the other way.

Why can’t we be celebrators and honour our differences?

What happened to empathy, to love and to compassion?

What happened to humility?

Must we really be so presumptuous as to think that only our way is the right way?

The self-righteous and cruel will gladly condemn us to “the darkness of their disapproval” [1] as judgment is passed, triggered by continuous peer pressure.

The truth is that we are all guilty of this.

It is a horrible automatism that is learned.

Indoctrinated to shred ourselves from that very first experience onward; when we discover that we need to be more that just ourselves because that is simply not enough.

We become a victim, a criminal and a judge all in one.

Talk about a vicious cycle!

So I think that being aware of this might help us remain humble, drop the preconceptions and celebrate others and their differences.

Truitt was not only a wonderful sculptor but also a psychologist.

She concludes:

“Unless we are very, very careful, we doom each other by holding onto images of one another based on preconceptions that are in turn based on indifference to what is other than ourselves. This indifference can be, in its extreme, a form of murder and seems to me a rather common phenomenon. We claim autonomy for ourselves and forget that in so doing we can fall into the tyranny of defining other people as we would like them to be. By focusing on what we choose to acknowledge in them, we impose an insidious control on them…love, is the honoring of others in a way that grants them the grace of their own autonomy and allows mutual discovery.” [2]

As Blake always says: “Love your friends for who they are, not for who you would have them be.”

By Boky

  2. Ibid

In the light

“The compensation of growing old [is] that the passions remain as strong as ever, but one has gained — at last! — the power which adds the supreme flavour to existence, — the power of taking hold of experience, of turning it around, slowly, in the light.” [1]

These words from Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway offer an insight into the deepest abyss of inspiration that propels us, changing our vantage point from the pain of the “sudden shock” of the “unexpected blow”.

This was her truth. Read more

Privilege and Surrender

When viewing a work of art for the first time, what do you see?

Does your inner voice comment?

Does it question?

Do you fall in love, respectfully accept it as a work of art, or do you shred it to pieces?

Is it reverence or complacency?

Art has such power, but like anything else, its power is limited to the importance we give it.

Is it being viewed with respect?

Are we dedicating a moment of our precious lives to understanding what is presented to us? Can we surrender to this moment?

Are we humble enough to admit that perhaps we sometimes don’t understand?

Or does our arrogance as critics allow us to simply dismiss it as a feeble attempt at art and call it ‘pathetic!’?

Jeanette Winterson, in her essay, Art Objects, explains such negative comments:

“They are statements that tell us something about the speaker. That should be obvious, but in fact, such statements are offered as criticisms of art, as evidence against, not least because the ignorant, the lazy, or the plain confused are not likely to want to admit themselves as such. We hear a lot about the arrogance of the artist but nothing about the arrogance of the audience. The audience, who have not done the work, who have not taken any risks, whose life and livelihood are not bound up at every moment with what they are making, who have given no thought to the medium or the method, will glance up, flick through, chatter over the opening chords, then snap their fingers and walk away like some monstrous Roman tyrant.” [1]

Art is intense and requires concentration, not only in its creation but in its viewing.

I truly believe that the time we give to the art; not simply the quick glance, but looking deeply into the work will reflect so much about ourselves, that perhaps this is what we fear.

As artists we bear our souls, often revealing so much more than we should, still expression is our undeniable need.

At times terrified, we project our personal identity into the work and spend most of our lives explaining ourselves to ourselves.

When the viewer perceives it as being too far from the safety of their personal experience, they will fight to keep that world from shattering around them and as a result the work is dismissed.

The tragedy, I find, is that the mirror that could have reflected back to the viewer, something new about themselves, has been shattered as well, and with it, growth.

Winterson says that “True art, when it happens to us, challenges the “I” that we are.” [2]

“Art objects to the lie against life that it is pointless and mean. The message coloured through time is not lack but abundance, Not silence but many voices. Art, all art, is the communication cord that cannot be snapped by indifference or disaster. Against the daily death it does not die.” [3]

By Boky & Blake


2. Ibid.

3. Ibid

Self Under Siege

When do we feel safe?

It’s an interesting question.

I find that in today’s society we have a tendency to be the persona we are expected to be in order to suit that particular environment.

We deny our truth in front of the audience that is the outer world and feel safe exclusively while being tucked away, safely backstage.

This role-playing may be counter-productive to our true selves as well as to artistic creation.

Louise Bourgeois was a huge fan of Picasso’s because she saw so much truth in his work.

He lived and experienced every movement and there was integrity in every brush stroke.

She believed that Dali and his ilk were theatrical, as was the New York scene where their main goal was to be fashionable.

“Never depart from the truth even though it seems banal at first…! Keep your integrity. You will only count, for yourself and in your art, to the extent that you keep your integrity.” [1]

Few of us do not doubt ourselves at times.

Still, what if we feel unsure and fear the slaughter of the nullifidians?

What then, Louise?

“Skepticism is the beginning of decadence. It’s a form of abdication and bankruptcy.” [2]

Louise leads us to the fear that fuels this bankruptcy of hope.

The fear becomes that monster within us, yet upon close rational and intuitive examination we can see that, like most of the obstacles before us, this demon is built by our imagination.

She also said:

“To be an artist is a guarantee to your fellow humans that the wear and tear of living will not let you become a murderer… Audience is bullshit, unnecessary. Communication is rare; art is a language, like the Chinese language. Who gets it? The deaf mutes in the subway.” [3]

They kept her from being lonely.

The contact with kindred spirits, the deaf mutes in the subway.

“You are born alone. You die alone. The value of the space in between is trust and love.” [4]

By Boky & Blake

  2. Ibid
  3. Ibid
  4. Ibid

We Dance

“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.” Albert Einstein [1]

While the attribution of this quote to Einstein is questionable, the sentiment is wonderful.

In doing, we discover and in discovering, we move forward.

Following a set of artistic rules, chiselled in stone would lead us to be like the others and there is very little point in that.

It is true that we are just a tiny ‘nano fleck’ in the universe, but maybe, if we avoid strict definitions and simply try doing things differently, we might just leave a tiny little mark.

There is very little point in standing still while we are alive.

The exhilaration of using our brains to create something is too good to pass up.

Jason Silva calls it being in a state of cognitive ecstasy; leaving the trivial world behind and transcending the ego; experiencing that ‘neuro storm’ of having created something; a connection to the rest of the world.

He describes it as the sharing of subjectivity and in some way uniting, as space and time warp.

These are the things that inspire and push him and his ‘Shots of Awe’ creative team. [2]

If we dream bigger and reach higher than we think we can, there is a good chance we will outdo ourselves.

We create our limitations, imagined or not, but we also create our dreams.

By Boky & Blake

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