As a human being in the 21st century I am overwhelmed by a saturation of facts; an environment of e-knowledge too impossible to comprehend,
too perplexing to remedy,
too pointless to sustain, to make sense of.
Our technology grows more inscrutable, our politics more convoluted, foreign policy beyond madness, rules expand, legislation grows, libraries thicken, archives burst. So much to learn, in one life, a tiny lifetime to learn so much.
Where are my ancestors? Who hands down the wisdom? [Just the important bits please.]
As an artist in New Zealand 2013 I am overwhelmed by too many choices: a saturation of imagery, beauty absorbed by capitalist propaganda, materialist agendas, art objects sold, weighed, cut by 40%, add %15, taxed at %19.
Nature divided – birds, insects, human parts rearranged, reconfigured.
In the cafe, the restaurant, the office.
To the hearth, the lounge wall, the foyer.
Then it becomes a poster, a jpeg,
if you are lucky … a file in a vault.
As a spiritual being at the dawn of this new millenium I am overwhelmed by religious fervour, embarrassed by fundamental insistences, God appearing in broken people,
Christ not walking among us, breaking his own bread, sharing wine with us.
A memory of Israelites. Engrained. Embellished.
A diffuse Divine,
absent in the modern
we reincarnate the Ancients
we summon the Dead
we invoke the Saints
we need their wisdom to be … so very infused, absorbed, engrained at the core!
– where we don’t have to think or measure the weight of it.
Nor even the reality of it.
Just their wisdom please, a wisdom that our genes seem to have lost somewhere along the line.
Why are we not like the Bees? Who for millions of years, billions of generations have built the exact same hive. A hexagon. Do the young’ns say – ‘lets build something modern! Lets innovate! A circle perhaps?” And do the old’ns say – “We tried that once, little fella – didn’t work.” Four thousand new bees swarm in our hive at the back of the garden. They got straight to work and began to build baby houses for their Queen’s brood. The same as they have ever done. Soon there will be 20,000. And honey. Hopefully. But quite likely.
A few stragglers wander into my studio and alight on the gilded surfaces.
Is Heaven for all the billions? The Divine soul is listening; Empathic souls hear every cry. Blimey, it must be exhausting!
Have you worked out that it is between the lines that we work? That poetry and painting reveal the spaces between the saturation? I cannot think in prose this week, I cannot apply logic and coherence to my thoughts – actually I am refusing to do so. I am finding my reality in parallel, in simultaneousness, and vague intuition. Legitimately.
I am not a computer who can manage my information efficiently.
Sort, stack, assemble, pattern, sample, divide and conquer.
Linear processing and serial deduction to reach sequential conclusions.
“Once Copernicus had eliminated place as a basis of the human claim to centrality in the universe, we were at a lost to interpret our spatial experience simultaneously. Descartes replaced it with the reality of our own mental processes -he coined the famous dictum “I think, therefore I am”- a few words which displaced spatial experience, created a referential void, and further disassociated us from our passages of life.” [G. Barnes, From An Essay I wrote when I could think logically. 1995. University of Otago]
Place. Space. And Being.
that maybe the wisdom, humility and mothering spirit of the ancient soul of the Virgin Mary could be invoked in the violent nights of suburban New Zealand. That angry hands be stayed. That the child sleeps in peace, comfort, joy.
that the astronaut, in terror descends the lunar surface, looks back at the Earth.
It floats alone, a small sliver of oxygen holding back an infinity of piercing cosmic dust.
Wisdom is imparted from our ancestors, from celestial travellers.
Are we listening? No – that’s not the right question – I mean –
Are we contemplating?
Painters and poets translate their message.
Sometimes we see a vague image.
We scribble it on cave walls,
… and gessoed panels.