In Search of A/The Point of Life

Posts Tagged ‘multiplicity’

DAY 19: KAIDIE HAS SHAPESHIFTED TO A 157m SPONGE SO AS TO BETTER SOAK UP THE FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE.

How are you enjoying the festivities, my Dear Readers?

This morning I took a hard look at myself at the mirror. I quite like my current formation as a hamster – I quite enjoyed being a cockroach as well, both of which are fabulous for going undercover, but I am also exhausted of only being vertically-challenged all the time. (For instance, what in gods’ names gives short men the right to chat up short women as if they are godsends, as if I should be ever so grateful for meeting someone of a physical formation [sic] that I could crush with the tip of my little toe?! Kaidie is a 3rdlifer, for chrissake, and is adamantly against smalltownprovincial incest, inbreeding and any sort of breeding. Have you forgotten that Kaidie is  a perfectly globalised cosmopolitan of metropolitan Nondon? Get out of my way shorties, let Kaidie mingle with all the other species, formations, forms, lifeforms and non-life forms out there.)

So, what should I become next? I pondered for a while… When in Rome, surely I should do as the Romans do. When in Nondon, surely I should do as Nondeners do. What better way to soak up the atmosphere than to be a sponge! But what size should I go for? A 1.57m kitchen sponge does not quite make a strong enough visual presence as a 157m one. So voila, I’ve made the transition. In order not to confuse you, my Dear Reader, for my continually refreshing renewals, renovations and reinventions, I created a diagramme for your kind reference. (My hamster formation is a few pixels, right at the left side of the diagramme, actually, can you spot it? ) As you can see, I have coloured myself in my favourite pink to try to add some neon glamour to the festive occasion. In addition, in order not to commit the frequent superhero fashion faux pas, I have dyed my square pants the same #ff02d8 shade as the rest of my body. Don’t you think this is a most fabulous getup for me to visit Frafalgar Square, the Nondon-I and the New Year’s Day Parade! How do you like it?

* PS THANK YOU my Facebook friends Breda and Vassili for your kind advice! *

* If YOU have any suggestions as to what (and when) I could become next, do SHOUT!*

small_sponge

Kaidie finally meeting her match in Nondon.

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THE MUSEUM OF EVERYTHING AND HENRY DARGER (many thanks to JO & ROB for this wonderful recommendation!)

What is between everything and nothing? Something, for sure.

What is between everything and nothing? Something, for sure.

At Jo and Roy’s recommendation, I visited the Museum of Everything last Sunday. (DO GET YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS POURING IN! I will take them up and report back!! This blog entry is proof!) I walked to and from the museum (about 7km) at a temperature not fit for humans. Fortunately I was a hamster then (and now). Unfortunately, my little hands/feet (call them what you will – ok, limbs) could not have a good grip of the icy ground, so I slipped and landed on my ass. In Life 3.0, being the smart ass that I am, I turned my accident into a positive experience, and instead of trying to stand up and confront the chuckling spectators, I rolled myself on the ground, all the way to the Museum at Sharples Hall Street, which is right next to Primprose Hill.

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Sharples Hall Street

How glad I am to have visited. I quite like the show (though I must say that I find the term ‘Outsider Art’ – which the show has been described as – slightly problematic, the way all forms of ghetto-isation are, and also dangerous, to an extent, for a sort of mythologisation and romanticisation of artists and their processes. This is interesting also especially if the curators of a show are NOT outside but on the contrary, inside inside. Or perhaps this is meant to be an other of those clever contemporary self-reflexive joke?).

Anyways. I like the space, narrow even for me (I have been invariably described as ‘diminutive’ – yes yes, compared to you human beings I am vertically challenged, but please note that while I am a hamster, I am NOT a dwarf hamster – that’s an other breed altogether. Kindly note that I am much taller than them). Being the last day of the show (20 Dec), the place was jam-packed. What a surprise. A very tall (nearly 200cm) young man with very arresting green eyes tells me that the space used to be a dairy. The way the artworks are arranged is quite clever, efficient and intimate. For the uninitiated (like this writer for instance), this might have even appeared to be a show by a single artist. Which goes to show, either that the selection of artists/artworks is a result of their similar aesthetic approaches, or that the curators have done a good job in unifying the entire show in a sharp and coherent manner, or both.

My favourite, favourite is Henry Darger. I stared for some time at his large superwidescreen drawings of toddlers in what looks like edens. There is as much violence as there is beauty, transience as there is timelessness, comehither -ness as there is repugnance and repulsion. The drawings are highly restrained as they are too much.

Even though Life 3.0 is free from death (except on  09.09.2012), I respect the wishes of the organiser.

Even though Life 3.0 is free from death (except on 09.09.2012), I respect the wishes of the organiser.

This concoction of emotions is rather powerful. I quickly travel back in time and cycle through my bank of memory and knowledge, and immediately many names, images and sounds jump up for my attention: Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, Chagall, El Greco, Elsie Beckmann and Hans Beckert/Peter Lorre in Lang’s M, Chapman Brothers, the muse of Lewis Carroll and imaginations of Nabokov, AES+F’s Last Riot, and of course, the Great Pretender Takashi Murakami and his faux naif approach. I also recall that I had felt this surge of feelings only a few times before in my previous life: when I saw Boltanski’s solo exhibition in France, a Mark Rothko painting in Chicago, and Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil.

I came back, and tell myself that I must, must go and find out more about Darger.

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“IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE I’VE BEEN ME.”

Há muito tempo que não sou eu. – Fernando Pessoa, A Factless Autobiography, edited by Richard Zenith, Lisbon, 2006, p. 143

Zenith

A phrase like ‘face-value’ would have been more than a double-entendre when it comes to describing someone like Portuguese poet /writer Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa (1888- 1935), who invented ‘at least 72 identities[i] in a self-mythologising ‘theatre’ of himself[ii]. This is all the more intriguing given that the author is nearly unknown in his own country, and that his work is only discovered and published posthumously. It is from the mountains of fragments – of some 25,000+ manuscripts written by the Pessoa under a multitude of pseudonyms – that one can begin to attempt to re-construct one, or a few, re-presentations of Pessoa(s).

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The rather wonderful Richard Zenith elucidates the Pessoa’s craft:

The fragmentary state of the archives is emblematic of the author’s literary project of depersonalization. “Be plural like the universe!” wrote Pessoa with a flourish on a scrap of paper left in his famous trunk of manuscripts, and he set the example, multiplying himself into three major “heteronyms”-Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis, and Alvaro de Campos- along with dozens of lesser “dramatis personae” who wrote poetry, stories, essays and criticism, very often about each other. Teresa Rita Lopes, one of Portugal’s most knowledgeable and astute Pessoa scholars, convincingly argues that the universe of Pessoa was a vast and ongoing theatre of himself, and she cites the protean poet’s own words as evidence. He wrote, for example, that the heteronyms “should be considered as distinct from their author. Each one forms a drama of sorts; and together they form another drama…. The works of these three poets constitute a dramatic ensemble, with careful attention having been paid to their intellectual and personal interaction. … It is a drama in people, instead of in acts.” [iii]

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Zenith writes a most brilliantly eloquent forward in Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet, which I strongly urge you, my dear reader, to read, and, of course, the book itself, which is nicely structured as aphorisms which you can dive into from any page, in a non-linear fashion, which is my kind of book, being a restless time-&-space-traveller with a highly challenged attention-span myself. Some of them are reproduced here, for you to have a bit of a taster. I scanned them with my best little friend, the lovely 6-year-old Renee, just before I ended my last life, and whom I do miss quite a bit from my previous life.



[i] John Gray, “Assault on authorship.” New Statesman, 2001. <http://www.newstatesman.com/200105280043> [accessed 9 July 2009]

[ii] Richard Zenith, “Fernando Pessoa and the Theatre of His Self,” Performing Arts Journal, 15 (1993), 47-49. I am responsible for highlighting the text in bold.

[iii] Zenith, p. 48.

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