Monday, 28 August 2017

My Bed and Blake

According to the curators of the Tracey Emin and William Blake in Focus exhibition, the link between the two is existential pain leading to artistic truth. I'm not convinced Blake was a champion of existential suffering as a prerequisite to creating art. Yes he had an insight into suffering but he was more interested in revealing our access to the creative soul as a means of emancipation from the institutionalised oppression of the goal driven, patriarchal/bifurcated forces that shape society. My Bed in some respects is the ultimate in turning art/life into a fixed object rather than the process of living event. The subject object split is the error at the heart of the mechanistic model of the mind that leads to human oppression. To think in terms of fixed substances is useful for certain forms of processing such as shopping lists or auditing of munitions but is a completely dysfunctional mode when it comes to addressing metaphysical matters (see how an elephant becomes an aspirin via structuralist subject/object rationality).This really is what Blake was getting at when he spoke of the single vision of the rational man and the release of fourfold vision, which recognises the role played by the imagination in the creation of reality. To the single visionists this is madness because the subject object split demands a perpetual split or separation. It seems to be exactly this kind of split My Bed is offering as it sits inert sealed off with official boundary markers. 

Life as object

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Reinvention, Reincarnation and Pop Chameleons

The power of a new facial expression

SO this week sees the latest change of image from the nations beloved chameleon of pop. What do you make of this new incarnation?

Well the shape shifting genius has done it again haven’t they? I mean would you have thought this was remotely possible?

I don’t know would you? Is it the trousers or the extra layer of eye shadow that has facilitated this rug-pulling event?

 I think is essentially something more superficial than that. Or perhaps a combination of the two.  The sleeveless jump suit could also have a major influence in the way the public perceive this tectonic shift though.

But it’s not a new thing is it? I mean after all many musician have played with their image and the idea of celebrity haven’t they? Haven't they?

Yes that’s true. Take Tony Hadley for instance he started off wearing tartan blankets and then morphed into a kind of city man suit-wearing persona. Or even someone like Toyah who entranced the public with her new wave sylph incarnation then became something totally different. Or look at Kim Wilde who was a kid in American with big hair and then became a more mumsy gardener type.

So what you’re saying essentially is that pop stars have reincarnated themselves since time immemorial. That even when Socrates was tuning into Greek totps there was this sense that the pop star was searching for some kind of essential substance beyond the accidental qualities such as hair style or height of heel?

That’s exactly what I’m saying and Madonna of all people highlighted how it is a mistake to seek an essential substance rather than process. She proved this with her hit song Vogue “don’t just stand there” she said “let’s get to it. Strike the pose there’s nothing to it”. A rallying cry if ever there was one to see the pop-star as an event rather than an object.

So really what we are seeing with this latest transmogrification is a return to something essential. A reaching out to the “other” of the self, which stands beyond the male thrust of chronological time?

Well perhaps not quite that but definitely a change of make-up application as well as a vaguely different facial expression in the publicity shots.

Ah well you’ve caught the mood entirely there and we haven't even mentioned Lady Gaga's meat blouse. So quite how the public will respond to this mythic volte-face remains to be seen thanks and farewell.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Vivarium Area

You are in the car reception
Waiting for your car to be serviced
 Your crutch is on the carpet tile covered floor
Beside you
You glimpse its large grey rubber end on the taupe texture of the tiles
Stout and reassuring
Is it you or the car that is being treated you wonder
The car is having the oil changed
It costs an arm and leg
You dislocated your ankle on holiday
It felt like a chicken bone when you carve the Sunday dinner
Schlplop it went as it slid back into place
Like a miracle
The car that caused your fall then drove off
It didn’t hit you
Just threw you off balance
You can bet they didn’t fancy that litigious look in your eye
As you lay flat on the tarmac
Then rose like the dying Gaul
To stare in disbelief at the new angle of your ankle
Then that schplop as it slid back
And here you are now back in England
Waiting in a car garage for your car
Your crutch at your side
Mosquito bites on your legs
Soaring to strange heights of irritability
Pulp on the in-house music system
Someone here likes indie
Indie music you think
Don’t you make indie music?
Not long till your car is ready though.
And you can go back to your sons
The sons who carried you home after you fall
Stay calm your son advised
It was like an update on that Rolf Harris song
Is he okay to mention?
Or is that memory now off limits
It used to make you cry
At least you didn’t sing Jake the Peg on Stars in their Eyes
You think
Like Jarvis
The indie singer who used to come to your gigs

The elderly lady opposite
Across the taupe carpet tiles
Has swollen ankles
The kind yours reminds you of
But then you also see she has a tattoo on her ankle
An elderly lady with a tattooed ankle you think
Trying not to stare now
She has rose tinted spectacles though
perhaps you look better from where she is?
The indie music is growing tinier
The tiled ceiling stretches off above you
Into auto heaven eternity
And the sun heats the plate glass cube
Where you the lizard man
Sit breathing in the vivarium

Trying not to stare
Like the lizard you saw on the deck
Back by the pool
You had gotten very close
Saw the miniature suckers on its feet
Saw its heart rapidly beat
Looked him in the eye
As he shuddered
Like a lucky bag toy
Came back the next day too

To see you off on your last day.