Sunday, November 16, 2008



Optimism is having faith in yourself and the human race.

Optimism is knowing that life’s complexity and its chaotic presentation create the forces for survival.

Optimism is knowing that the dark night of the soul when you stare into the open mouth of the lion, is part of a journey, not the end. It is knowing that mourning releases you from the crippling clinging attachment to those things, people or relationships you have lost. By letting go you release yourself and others to potential.

Optimism knows the negative exists in potential, thus….

Optimism is realistic.

Optimism is far more than positive thinking. The latter overlays negative thoughts without dealing with them, leaving them to ultimately corrupt the positive thinking.

Optimism is not wishful thinking.

Optimism can inspire others.

Optimism is a choice.
Image: Frisson Gouache on paper 21 x 30 cm 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008


                                                                      Sharing The Spaces

                                                                    After The Implosion

I started writing this [below] for a letter to a newspaper, but it got too here it is for you instead!

Media commentary on the global financial implosion is peppered with key descriptive words which have seemingly gone unscrutinised under the deluge of blame, fear and doom reporting and rhetoric. Words such as ‘bubble’, ‘magical’, ‘fantasy’, ‘unreal’, ‘dreamland’ and ‘nothing’ describe the antithesis of reality, yet they hold clues to identifying the underlying motivational [albeit not necessarily conscious] reason for the financial and economic turmoil which has swept swiftly throughout the globe. This reason goes beyond Gordon Gekko’s simple and obvious greed.

Over the last twenty to thirty years postmodernism's distortion into slippery yet seductive narcissistic tendencies and a love of simulacra has insidiously infiltrated many of society’s institutions via memetic means. Narcissism is characterised by a self worship, which proclaims a right to flout rules and regulations, at the same time as making them up for others, who abide only to find the rules change in a nano second, or they are so complex multiple interpretations confuse. Narcissism’s passive-aggressive qualities dupe people into thinking someone cares making sympathy a tool to emotionally colonise the poor, underprivileged and powerless. Conversely the latter [along with everyone else] succumb to the narcissistic seduction by believing they can have a house, a car or whatever without concrete obligation.

The slippery and swift manoeuvring of ‘dud’ deals into packaged ‘investment’ entities to offload onto someone else is narcissism’s game, aided and abetted by simulation. The simulated experience is also seductive because an escape to a fantasy world where everything is available and abundant seems possible. The sub prime debacle is an example of simulacra vanishing in the face of ‘authentic’ experiences of ‘real life’, one example being interest rate rises. The debacle whipped the rug from under narcissism’s feet causing the economic ‘house of cards’ largely built from more simulacra to collapse.

Society’s core values have been hijacked by the underbelly of post modernism’s narcissistic inability to share. Lack of emotion, except for selfish and sensationalist emotional displays designed to manipulate, is a characteristic of narcissism. In varying degrees this behaviour is part of normal teenage development, so perhaps the crisis is a wake-up call to grow up! The world currently has deeply bended knees. The hope is that when the world jumps it actually moves and does not land on the same spot becoming the arrested teenager. The latter is unlikely because the crisis is very serious and the need for new paradigms supported by core values which embrace the experiences of a world where globalisation has collapsed the distance of difference is obvious.

The implosion could be seen as an inevitable aspect of post modernism’s demise and simultaneously a sign of burgeoning new paradigms which collectively have yet to be named [and possibly even identified]. Within the artworld artists, academics and theorists have been contemplating the question of ‘what’s next?’ for some time. In this way the artworld can be seen as a barometer for detecting, reflecting [and sometimes affecting] change well before the broader community is aware that failing structures are actually heralding something new. Hopefully whatever is ‘new’ will retain the best of postmodernism including its creative insistence to stretch boundaries to test whether what seems impossible has real possibility.
Art’s agency is its potent ability to be reflective, yet at its weakest this can merely scaffold existing paradigms. Art’s less obvious agency is its ability to be affective albeit not deliberately so, otherwise it falls prey to restrictive and prescriptive didacticism and purpose. Flexible skills in perspective are needed to negotiate or dance across the contemporary ‘stage’ which exists between the global and local ‘wings’. Art's agency is its potential to provide experiences with multiple, distorted, unexpected perspectives both literally and metaphorically.

Perspective of others and self is enabled by contemporary life which is about living locally in the increasingly globalised world. Thus, perspective gained by experiencing multiple viewpoints creates a [potential] space/place where compassion for self and others can flourish and be shared in dignified, equal and mature relationships, negotiations and transactions in all areas of life.

Healthy self-interest becomes a compassionate urge at a micro level knowing that it wants and needs to positively affect the community or macro level. World leaders and the general population must re-build foundations based on underlying compassionate principles taking into account the individual and the collective. For this to be effective it needs to be done without wasting time on blame and retribution because basically we all passively [through ignorance and disinterest] or actively played in post modernism’s illusory playground where ‘bubbles’, ‘magic’, ‘fantasy’, ‘unreality’, 'dreamland' were the games [albeit at times very enjoyable games].

All good things must come to an end and whatever happens next will ultimately implode/deconstruct/die to make room for the necessary out-picturing of evolutionary urges.

Image above-After The Implosion Gouache on paper 25 x 18 cm 2008
This work on paper was inspired by the possibility of something new happening in the aftermath of implosion. The 'new 'errupts in a way which whilst not necessarily identifiable is possibly detectible by the very existence of implosion. I have used the spiral to reference my interest in Don Beck's Spiral Dynamic Integral theory.
Sharing The Spaces Gouache on paper 21 x 30 cm 2008
Spaces are created when we have perspective literal and metaphoric. The distance in these spaces can be close or far, spatial or temporal, conscious or unconscious, material or spiritual and so on. These spaces are not empty.