Friday, August 22, 2008


A few interesting and exciting things have happened in the last couple of weeks. I heard last week that my entry for the $20,000 Tattersall's Club Landscape Art Award is one of the 47 shortlisted entries. The award is announced on the 10th September.

Also, I have been asked to be one of the presenters at Creative Conversation 3: Peaceful Space Sound Space and the Environment- An Intercultural Dialogue on September 6 at the University of Queensland. You are welcome to register online for this event.

And, I have been asked to make speeches at a couple of other events over the next few months. I will update as more details are confirmed.

In my previous BLOG entry I wrote about the space between the macro/micro-global/local and ideas of rethinking perspective. In the last BLOG and the previous one called 'Perspective' I briefly mentioned my thoughts about compassion. It is interesting because I feel that in this globalised world which we see simultaneously through our 'local' eyes we must make space for compassionate conversation and relationships. If we don't the globalised world maybe destroyed by dysfunction, brutality and conflict. Indeed, there are places where these are already happening and we must find ways to to be more compassionate otherwise insanity is the alternative.

I have thought about compassion a lot since my experiences exhibiting in the Middle East and the wonderful conversations I had with people from all over the region, Estern Europe and Africa [I have previously writtten about this]. What has struck me is that post-modernism and its insidious infiltration of many of our western social, cultural, financial and educational structures lacks compassion...not in a deliberate way but in more of an 'autistic' way. By this I mean that many aspects of post-modernism seem to me to be protective mechanisms designed to help explain that which is inexplicable when the capacity for sentient 'feeling' is not present or lacking. This is not to say that these mechanisms are not incredibly clever, intelligent and fascinating. In fact, these are very seductive elements which have great merit and enjoyment, but do they create a wholeness within which space/distance is made to move and experience different perspectives? Even understanding that the whole needs to acknowledge the possibility of the 'outside'?

I believe we are seeing the collapse of structures created in the era of post-modernism. For example-I have previously written about my thoughts on the sub-prime crisis ie: that the lending of money to people who have minimum ability to pay back loans if one element of the system changes eg: interest rates, was created on an illusion. Each borrower was not individually 'big time', but grouped together the size of the aggregate debt was/is such 'big time' that it has caused the crumbling of financial sytems around the world. The idea of 'sub' meaning 'under' is also intriguing because by its title 'sub-prime' indicates that the disaster has occurred at foundation levels and we all know if foundations are not strong the structure above is compromised. Yet, the illusion of of strength was clearly evident. Any illusion cannot be compassionate because it is an illusion!

So, back to compassion. The 'space between' is the place I believe compassion can appear. This space is that place between perspectives of and from the macro/micro-global/local. How do we negotiate this space? Conversaton is a crutial element. Agendaless conversation is rich with possibility and this is where the direction of these conversations can possibility and discovery. The distance within possibility is exciting. I also, think that art can be one of the catalysts for these types of conversations. However, my impression of art created with post-modernist attributes [especially when exagerrated by sensationalism] is that finding the 'space between' is difficult because subtelty and nuance are not the same as illusion, simulation, appropriation etc. The latter are tricks and the viewer remains unsure [even scared] although often entertained... yet nuance and subtelty are more inviting and illicit in a way which is...well...compassionate.

To me compassion is shared. It is about putting oneself in another's shoes to see different perspectives and possibly changing yourself and your views as a result. Whereas, sympathy is something which is given to another who receives it. It is, in a way, less personal and more transient. I also think it is something which people may become tired of giving after a period of time...

So, there is more to be said, but I have go and paint!

Lifeblood Oil on linen 90 x 200 cm 2008

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