Saturday, November 8, 2008

recipes for conversation (part 1 of 3)

as noted, my exhibition is finished. i will be receiving the documentary materials for the exhibition in the next week or so, and i am intrigued to see the comments left in the guest book. in the meantime, i have been having an interesting conversation about the installation with a friend, and i've asked permission to post some of that discussion (and in no particular order). i would definitely be interested in other responses to the images, texts or installation whether you have seen it in situ or here. anyway, i am always interested in viewers' responses and questions, and i appreciate the opportunity for discussion (my friend's comments and questions are italicized, mine are in colour):

hey __,

thanks for the responses. i think there are some very interesting readings here. i will give some of my thoughts about these pieces.

ultimately, the piece is about communication, and how communication is difficult, and how language can be used poorly or cruelly or well.

it’s about how we use knowledge, and how words (and ideas) have power. it’s about what we choose to communicate, or not.

the piece is also really about relationships – between people, between ideas, between words and meaning, etc. the texts also refer to what the artwork (any artwork) actually does - they describe the relational activity that goes on between viewer/ reader and the work in the process of interpretation, as you’re looking and thinking. there are comparisons and equivalencies, but there are also contrasts.

I've been looking at your works, and here are what i get from them:

"you prefer comfort to wholeness"
I really like this one. Me too. People will often avoid issues in their life because of pain that they may need to face to overcome it, even though they would be a more whole person after facing their issue(s). The picture looks like the skeletons are tucked in, trying to feel luxurious with their things, while they are in fact dead. I'm not too sure how the knot fits in, my best guess is that the strength of the knot comes from it's tightness - uncomfortable. very nice reading. the knot also represents connection (an unhealthy one, perhaps?) and to echo the relationship between comfort and wholeness. they look the same, but they’re not.

"make a hole in silence"
I don't get this one. Lions are often associated with royalty, which ties in with the crowns, but from there....these things also represent authority, and therefore the authority to speak into things, to speak into silence, to take control and exercise your power. and words are often the first way people do that. that’s how the prophetic functions, in the sense of brueggemann's "prophetic imagination".

"I remember how it feels to be adored"
Not too sure. I guess drawing from my experience, and relating that to the drawing, I would always feel vulnerable (as the man is naked) as though I want to keep people feeling this way (to gratify my self-worth) but that at any moment they may see the truth of who I am - which relates to the flames; scared that things may get out of control. that being said, the flowers don't seem to fit in with that. there is that, but there is also the idea of longing, of missing the feeling of being adored. passion, love, romance, even desire.

"Why not just say 'lover'"
Another one I appreciate. People won't actually use words to communicate how they feel about others. There is an idea that if I say "I Love You," I give the other person a trump over me. That my frank honesty gives something to others that people can hold against me. Instead I use body language. To communicate what I mean without committing by actually saying what I feel. It's foolish. On a personal note, I've been to a few funerals and it seems so silly for people to get together after someone is dead to say how you really feel about that person. I always wonder at funerals "Did he know you felt that way about him?" There would probably be a lot a value in honestly telling someone what you think of them while they are alive to appreciate it. right. pretty straightforward, i think. once again, it’s about using words, the right words, perhaps even provocative words. again, there’s passion here (that image could be interpreted various ways – it’s from a worship conference brochure, but it looks sensual, or even sexual), but there are also different ways of saying “lover”.

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