I have probably said it before, but I am a “glass half empty” person. In truth I usually feel that my glass is three-quarters empty — but that doesn’t make much sense as a pithy observation.
I have a profound capacity to see and dwell upon anything negative in a situation, even whilst those around me experience great joy. The best I can say about this is that I’ve gradually learned to keep my mouth shut (usually), so I don’t spoil others’ pleasure.
The American musician and comic Oscar Levant said that happiness isn’t something you experience, but something you remember. While I subscribe wholeheartedly to that view, I often struggle to even remember happiness, such is my Eeyore-like nature.
So my personal challenge for this week’s Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge has been to bring together the things that make for a good day; those things that get me out of bed and willing to try on a happy face.
In choosing these images I am paying tribute to the scenes, moments, rituals, and above all people, whose presence contribute to a good day — if only I let myself see it.
The title for the post comes from Paul Simon’s Slip Slidin’ Away. I could be the woman, but am trying to choose not to be.
I know a woman
Became a wife
These are the very words she uses
To describe her life
She said a good day
Ain’t got no rain
She said a bad day’s when I lie in bed
And think of things that might have been
Slip slidin’ away
Slip slidin’ away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you’re slip slidin’ away
Paul Simon, Slip Slidin’ Away
Combining travel with art is my idea of bliss, so it’s fair to say that last weekend — spent in one of my favourite cities which happened to be hosting a light festival — was a pretty blissed-out experience.
Wellington LUX is a festival of light sculpture; clever, high-tech, whimsical and just plain gorgeous. By its nature, it’s a night-time event, so my photos are a bit wobbly, but I think they give a sense of the magic wrought by some very talented artists and designers with that most primal of materials — light.Auckland artists Turtle Donna Sarten and Bernie Harfleet installed their ‘Feed the Kids Too‘ work, first seen at NZ Sculpture OnShore last year. Consisting of 1800 empty plastic lunchboxes, this incredibly popular and powerful work reminds us how many children in New Zealand go to school hungry each day. After last year’s Sculpture OnShore, the lunchboxes (6000 of them then) were cleaned, filled with food and distributed to Auckland children. This time the artists have arranged with the Wellington City Mission to fill and distribute the boxes to local children who might otherwise go hungry.
Playing on Wellington’s notoriety as a very windy city, ‘Gust‘ projects images of its audience interacting with an imaginary wind – represented by geometric shapes.
30Forward comprised a performance video of dance company Footnote New Zealand. Projected on a water-screen in the harbour, this installation was incredibly popular — even when the wind blew spray all over the audience!
In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.
— Francis Bacon
Art can be a light shone on life, society, ideas; an illumination of the mind. In the case of LUX, Francis Bacon is doubly right.
I spent the weekend in Wellington, visiting friends, exhibitions and Wellington LUX – a light festival installed along the city’s waterfront. I had intended to write the a few blog posts while I was away, but my iPad decided otherwise. I suspect that the version of iOS I’m running isn’t compatible with the version of WordPress, so while I can eventually access the Reader (after clicking through half a dozen error messages); I can no longer post anything. OK for now, but I’ll have to address the problem before I go to Sculpture by the Sea in Sydney at the end of October.
LUX was wonderful — and definitely worth a separate post — but here is a shot from the installation Shima for Wellington by Murasaki Penguin — a collaborative project between Japanese dancer and choreographer Anna Kuroda and Australian artist David Kirkpatrick.
Creepy things are kind of an ambiguity but they’re also kind of not, so our brains don’t know what to do. Some parts respond with fear, while other parts don’t, and they don’t know why. So instead of achieving a typical fear response – horror – we simply feel uneasy. Terror. Creeped out. Between the mountains of safety and danger there is a valley of creepiness, where the limits of our trust and knowledge and security aren’t very clear.
I like this; particularly the emphasis on ambiguity. English is a language so rich it’s not always easy to separate out clear definitions and uses for its many synonymous words. “Terror”. “Horror”. “Fear”. “The creeps.” We know they are different, but knowing how and why is tricky.
I find the image above slightly creepy. Is it an eye? Or just a drop of water. In my imagination it could easily be the chrysallis of an alien life, beginning its transformation.
Creepy-ness is a quality particularly suited to photography and film-making, where manipulation of images is a legitimate part of the magic.
A couple of years ago I photographed some ceramic heads mounted in a tree at a sculpture exhibition. At the time I found them slightly disturbing, but in the light of day, I could see where the heads were mounted on the tree, so there was no real ambiguity — it was a piece of sculpture.
But with a bit of photo editing — to “hide the joins” — I think the image takes on a slightly ambiguous quality.
Some things are culturally imbued with a much greater “creepy” factor than others; like insects, which are often called “creepy-crawlies.” What is it about something so small that makes us so uneasy?
And do we feel better or worse when the image is transformed a bit so it appear the insect lies beneath a layer of … what?
I’m getting the hang of this domestic goddess lark. Have spent the last few days making pickled onions and more sourdough bread. Now we just have to dust off the Big T’s cheese-making kit and we’ll be on the way to a decent home-made ploughman’s lunch.
But I guess we might have to start a micro-brewery too.