Saturday, September 26, 2015

Oh, it's been a while

So I'm still stuck in the morass of getting the next book out. But even that doesn't excuse the time between posts. So I will definitely try to get as many stories out as possible (note, the best way is still via the email newsletter, which you can sign up for to the right). I have, outside of the novel, felt most of my muse has been of the short story variant. This is a partial result of what I've been finding interesting to read (Borges). One short, the one on Sasquan World-con, was well received over at file770. Many thanks to Mr. Glyer who called the story "an oasis". Much too kind, that.

Nevertheless, I am also here to present to you an excuse, of sorts. For when I have not been dealing with the upcoming novel [1], I have been out and about and dealing with the very things that one would call a distraction. And so it goes, you may say. For one, all that has been in the news has been pushing me to write more and more on that which has been on my mind. But I have not. 

When it comes to matters like the refugee crisis, all I can say is that the world better have a better plan than what they are showing of being capable of right now. Anyone with a brain will have accepted climate change as inevitable. So what to do next? Even the tamest of predictions put the lowering of water tables and the increase in droughts across the world (and especially in the third world) will make this refugee crisis (to say nothing of the militias, heavily brutalized, that will come from it) look like a picnic. 

Think on it. How much would a little bit of drought prevention have helped Syria, rather than what they (and the world) are facing right now. So I see all this and wonder how the world could not have any plan. Even if this one crisis somehow goes by without too many more deaths, what about the next one? 

Of course, to see the tribalism in Europeans and Americans come to the fore is predictable—and can only be one of history's sense of humor, for how many times have many members of these nations looked elsewhere to mock tribalism?—but very sad too. I would wonder if older people have the same sense of foreboding and history repeating as I do, if they weren't spouting the same tribalistic nonsense as everyone else. And so it goes.

But let's not dive into politics for now. I will write, and write plenty on the matter later. If any of you have been following this blog for some time, you will now that I'm a little bit of a lover of arts. The younger me would never have understood it (that youth only liked grand realistic paintings), but as I've grown older, my love for the arts, for facture, has grown and I now think on it as one of those pleasures of life that I can count on and love.

And if you've been following this blog, you will know about one artist whom I find extremely interesting and, along with street art, I think of as one of the best of our time. Well, I recently had a chance to see her work in a gallery nearby this town of ours. By the way, if anyone wants to tell you that you have to go to large cities for beautiful work, don't listen to them. That is entirely false. Here in the Inland NW, there are plenty of artists making some very interesting art.

Let me speak, now, on the artist's work. There were only a handful of pieces,[2] but they were all worth it. This section of her work, at this time of her life, was based on Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man. Ostensibly the one drawing that points to the man becoming, once more, the center of the world, this drawing is beyond iconic. Nevertheless, it's this that she based all her work around.

The first is a sculpture of the Vitruvian Man. Except this one is in a sphere and his arms and legs are being moved back and forth and back and forth. On his face is a look of anguish. A torture mechanism? I'm not sure, but it certainly seems that way. Then there are a series of paintings. All are a mixture of the Vitruvian man stuck in the nodes of large and expansive edge-node paintings. I wasn't sure what each was, though some were shaped like household objects and others still parts of the atlas, or a human body part [3]

You might think this derivative, and it probably is, but I am of the mind that it says much about the coming age (or, perhaps, says much about the industrial and post-industrial age). A few of the paintings towards the end have the men, and women, climbing between nodes, fighting as some nodes dissipate. Odd, these.

The ultimate piece, a sculpture, was a combination of all that preceded it: a large mass, made up of small Vitruvian men (and women, and everyone else too, I should note) in nodes as small as peas. You have to look closely to see what they are. Each node and edge is hooked up to a fine LED light. And over and over a light starts at one place and spreads to everyone, node by node. It usually takes only a few seconds for it to do so. Above it a large display flashes what is traveling in such a viral fashion: virus, happiness, anger, fear and so on. They're all the same and in the same pattern—and I'm sure scientists will argue—but the point is made.

It was beautiful, the entire show, and I only felt like it gave me more ideas for my future work. For all of you out there, you should definitely check it out.

[1] And my, this here is a warning to anyone trying to undertake some sort of borderline manic world: beware. For once caught in such things, you'll certainly have to live it over and over again as you go over every detail you dreamed (or whatever experts are now calling writing, surely not a purely sub-conscious nor purely conscious matter) and it might be a little too much.

[2] I'm aware of many of her critics who think even her previous edge-node artwork was much too literal, if not ironic (and what art critic thinks that art should stoop to such a low level?). they will certainly find this worse, then. Of course, this sort of blatant imagery is exactly what I like. Perhaps it's the peasant in me.

[3] Again, I agree with her critics here, that it's close to impossible for any one person to draw what must be a million nodes on a painting this large. Not in a lifetime. So even if the robot arm that draws rumors are true, so what? Does that change the art at all? Does it change the message? I think not.

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