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The Devil and the Artist

Posted 28 February 2004, 1.12 am by Guest

It was on a cool winter day
when the wind shifted blue and swift,
that I met a man who said he knew my name
shivering cold in a bus stop kiosk.

This man, in tattered suit and tie
pressed his hand to my shoulder,
and pleaded I show him the place that I live,
as he shook like the revelation.

In a moment of weakness, I took his hand
and led him to the small place I stayed at,
with it's dingy curtains, my little home,
my little ray of sun in which to rest.

He moved, not rude, to the room
where stood there a half done woman
smooth bare flesh, icy limbs, stoney breast
the beginning of a hand at the end of a wrist.

He slinked like a spider to a couch and sat
and said nothing. I tried to tell what it was
that made me let him in, but instead
I went
to work
again

And talked of this great shining world inside me
threatening to burst from under my skin
if I should let it stand like water
If I did not let it free

and he talked

Of the silence inside him
his blackened inside from freezing snow
of his scraping hollow fingerbones
of the hunger of his slowly starving heart

and I cut the stone of her flesh and listened

as he told me of things no one could know
of the cutting fall and the urn of his belly
like a sieve filling up and leaking
shaking and spraying
all who stood near.

So we did not eat, and, when the sun went down
I gave in a place on the couch
where I knew he would not be
in the morning.

The Artist's Perception of his Art

Posted 27 February 2004, 3.16 pm by Alexander

Over the past few months I've been recording and mixing the new AKP album, which obviously involved a lot of repeated listening. During this process it occured to me that I was subconsciously filling in the gaps as I was listening - adding guitar parts and vocal melodies in my mind that simply were not recorded yet. I surmised this took place in all my artistic endeavours.

When I paint or draw, I can see in my mind all the lines I didn't draw, or didn't need to draw to have the effect on myself as the viewer. Of course, it's impossible to fully anticipate the way another human eye/mind will percieve the exact same media. There are thought processes running through this article that I may think are obvious, but you might need explaining.

The logical conclusion to all this is that art can fall into one or both of two main ideologies: that which leaves as many lines undrawn as possible to encourage interpretation by the audience, and that which is as detailed as humanly possible to communicate the artists intentions without ambiguity. Neither is more or less valid of course, and there are all the shades of grey in between.

Nonetheless, it's something to bear in mind if you are a creative person - think about how much material you want to give the viewer/listener. When you leave those lines undrawn, the responsibilty for the pieces effectiveness falls squarely on the shoulders of what you have explicitly committed yourself to. The whole piece can rely entirely on what you deem to be the essence of what you are trying to achieve, and as always it stands or falls by it's effectiveness to an unpredictable outside force. Similarly, working to eliminate all traces of ambiguity from a piece in order to communicate a pure idiom can be risky. The myriad interpretations of even the most mundane object or intention is testament more to the variety that exists in the human consciousness than any shortfall on the creators behalf. Look at nature for example. A shark is a tremendously effective hunter worthy of our awe until it bites your brother's leg off - at which point it becomes an enemy, an unthinking savage predator that should be destroyed.

The viewer himself also has a responsibility when viewing or partaking of art. But this responsibility does not extend as far as 'second guessing' the artist. In no way should the viewer attempt to use the artist's intentions in their critical appreciation of a work. Art is autonomous, existing outside of intention, because if that intention is made explicit, it becomes part of the work. All that can be asked for from the viewer is an open mind and some kind of self-honesty and individualism of thought, because in that mindset lies the closest connection with the artist.

Physical Ownership of Self

Posted 21 February 2004, 3.50 pm by Alexander

The increasing popularity of body modification - piercings, tattoos, scarification etc - is arguably testament for the most part to a shift in societal values. But let's factor in what I believe to be a more important and potentially more revealing aspect of this 'climate change' in body image. As our world changes, so do we (inevitably) so it is near impossible to separate the two aspects, but taking a wider view, the changes in how we perceive society reflect how we perceive ourselves.

Our physical shell has become more than just a vessel. More than a housing for a hungry stomach, an active brain and (for the sake of argument) a directionless soul. I would postulate a link between increasing commercialisation and our view of our corporeal form as a 'hanger' for designer label clothing or other fashionable items. As the world becomes an advertising hoarding, so too do our bodies. Hence we are not only unperturbed by paying to advertise The Gap, we in some cases actively seek to do so.

Although tattooing in particular has crossed from the tribal/alternative scene into mainstream with apparent ease, more extreme cases are still the bastion of the 'underground'. This could be symptomatic of the 'taking back' of the body from the generic, packaged corporate object it can increasingly easily become. In each case, such body modification can be interpreted as a reclaiming of the vessel by the soul.

There is no real need any more to separate oneself from another social group using body modification. The perceived segregation of different cultural subgroups has blurred so much in recent years as to make it more redundant than ever. I foresee this rapid reduction in hard distinctions increasing as society becomes more and more homogenous. When society itself becomes StarBucks and Subway, the consumers become more individualistic by default. They have to, even by small degrees. Having a tattoo or a pierced lip is no longer taboo, or seen as a particularly radical feature. While you would think the increased number of modified bodies would lead to a broader homogeneity, rather it leads to more and more potential differences between us. It's no longer have you a tattoo or not, it's where is yours and what is it of?

As such, body modification is like a barcode. Before long, as the percentage of the population who have chosen to mark themselves as 'unpure' or 'customised', we will recognise one another not by skin colour or accent but by number and extremity of piercing, size and complexity of tattoo, inventiveness of implant or choice of plastic surgery. These factors will go into the melting pot to make us who we are. Because we have taken control and designed ourselves.

As religion and the concept of a divine creator dwindles in the public consciousness our debt to him/her dwindles with it. We are quickly learning that our corporeal aspect is ours and ours only and should be taken ownership of. Abuse it, perfect it, customise it. It's a shift I relish as before we can truly relate to one another, it is arguable that we should know ourselves. The best way to know anything is to explore and experiment and to take control.

Hopefully soon our bodies will cease to be something we use to exist while we wait for it to fail on us and become a canvas, a soapbox and a means of expression and self-discovery. The societal shift that allows us to make the choice in the first place is the first step to a more enlightened and empowered world, and a more self-assured, open-minded and accepting climate in which to enjoy who we are.

This is my Land – Education: Part I of ??

Posted 16 February 2004, 2.08 pm by Green Mamba

Normally I steer clear of political discussions. It is not something that I like talking about and neither am I qualified in the science of politics. It is not that I am ignorant, but rather because similar to marketing, it angers me when people have to bullshit others just to make a sale. This is my layman’s attempt at trying to understand the current political environment of South Africa and possible solutions for its problems. I decided to throw it to the international masses both to enlighten them about South Africa and to see if my ideas have some degree of merit.

I would have thrown this in the Grinding Shed, but wasn’t sure how a multi-part post would function unless I started a new topic for every part.


South Africa has the potential to become one of the greatest countries in the world. I’m not basing this on actual statistical information or an in depth analysis of the current economical environment vs. possible future trends. No, this is a belief. I have to believe this because I have a son whose future depends very much on the future of his (and my) country of birth.

Currently South Africa is regarded as one of the most democratic countries in the world. In ten years we have gone from one extreme to the other. The problem however, is that everybody is so wrapped up in being “politically correct” that all our countries resources are being spent on identifying and defining democratic ideals instead of acting towards achieving those ideals. There are a number of other factors suffocating possibility out of reality, leaving us always one step behind achieving our countries true potential.

Lack of Education:
If knowledge is power, then the absence of knowledge is a weakness that threatens to bring the whole structure of democracy tumbling down. Democratic Elections are based upon the individuals ability to make an intelligent choice, but if the larger part of the voting public can barely read or write, then how can they be expected to make an intelligent choice. Obviously (and I am not passing judgement) their choices will be based on needs and whoever can persuade them that their needs will be fulfilled.
Our first democratic election was preceded by campaigns riddled with promises of free housing to the homeless (among others), which easily won the larger portion of the population over when the day came to make their mark next to the face he who made all the right promises.
Four years later (the last promises still unfulfilled) the focus was shifted to education and once again the marks were made next to the faces of those who told the most convincing lies. Instead of education, the standards in our schools were lowered to create the illusion that promises are being kept.
Now, as we stand at the doorstep of the third democratic election, lowering the crime rate is the latest buzzword to sway the masses into making the same mistakes that they have already made … twice.
I’m not blaming the voting public. What do they know, since they are deliberately being kept in the dark. Nothing is mentioned and therefore nothing is done to educate them to empower them to make an intelligent choice come Election Day. They do not possess the ability or have the means to gaining the ability to see through the obvious empty promises that are being dangled before them purely for the sake of convincing them to make their mark next to the right face.
In a situation like that, the ideals of democracy become a joke in the hands of uneducated people who live according to their most basic needs. If these needs remain forever on the verge of being fulfilled, but never actually are, they will never gain the opportunity to empower themselves and will continue to be led like sheep … not to greener pastures, but to the slaughterhouse.

NOTE: Our Election Forms only have pictures of the Political Parties Logo’s and photos of the candidates, because the majority of the voting public can not read or write (Once again, I am not judging anybody for being illiterate, but rather those who are exploiting their lack of education)

NEXT: COMPLEXITY VS. SIMPLICITY

SUICIDE JUNCTION

Posted 11 February 2004, 7.25 am by Green Mamba

An uncontrollable addiction to an empty promise of death … the sweet seductive after-tastelessness of cyanide … breathe in … breathe out … a life time spent at the speed of light … from birth to death and back again within a few hundredths of a second … fading out of yesterday … goodbye my love … tomorrow may never come.
Yesterday I had some live culture yoghurt for lunch … or maybe it was the year before … breathe in … breathe out … look closely mother … I think I lost my first tooth, so I waited up all night for the tooth fairy to show me his appreciation for the little chunk of ivory sleeping softly in my left shoe … kicked her flimsy ass good and solid when all he tried to leave me was a lousy two dollars … butterfly wings mounted on my bedroom wall … doesn’t she realise the pain I had to endure.
I can hear Satan laughing in the background … yeah laugh all you want you stupid fuck … breathe in … breathe out … you’re next … mount your fucking batwings on the wall … right next to Rudolph’s head … he shat on my front lawn you know … all for a lousy pair of socks and father … Christmas doesn’t care … crucified himself on new years day.
God is watching while I take another … breathe in … breathe out … mind your own business old man … you’re not in the equation any more … a prayer for the dying … almost gone … fading out of yesterday … goodbye my love … tomorrow may just be the last today … the sweet seductive after-tastelessness of death … an uncontrollable addiction to an empty canister of cyanide.
All I have left is enough change in my pocket for one last call … no use waiting by the phone … I’ll leave a message if you’re not home … to tell you where I went … and if it was worth the trip … pack you’re bags … you’re going too … sooner or later we all … breathe out

So, where was I?

Posted 10 February 2004, 8.37 am by Green Mamba

Oh yes, now I remember…

Free choice is an illusion. Any choice we make at any given point in time is determined by everything that has gone before. The information that we are exposed to is limited and controlled, so what we perceive to be free choice is merely partially predictable movements within set parameters.

Yes, I have elaborated on my previous statement and will do more so in an attempt to clarify my point. Maybe this time around I can actually bring it across in a more understandable manner.

Free choice is an illusion.
Firstly, what everybody failed to notice in the previous debate is that I never meant this literally. It is not really an illusion, because we as human beings do possess the ability to make choices driven by needs beyond pure instinct. In other words, I could choose to make the next word CAPS or whatever else I am allowed within the parameters of this site (remember that last part). Clearly I have made a choice, there is no doubt about that. But more importantly … why did I specifically choose CAPS for this example when there are literally hundreds of other examples I could have given.

The choices we make at any given point in time are pre-determined by everything that has gone before. In other words, our life experiences influence the choices we make. A simple example is when somebody offers me a choice between Smarties or M&M’s. Personally, I have tried both and will go for Smarties any day, because to me, it tastes better. Somebody else may prefer M&M’s. Clearly both of us made a choice and even though it wasn’t the same choice, it was influenced by our knowledge of the options at hand. Somebody who had never tasted either, might have declined or opted to try it before making a decision. Either way, choice is affected by the past experience and knowledge of the individual presented with the choice.

Another determining factor in choice is the parameters within which I am allowed to choose. Getting back to the whole CAPS example at the beginning of this thread. Since Alexander had set the front page up so that it strips all HTML … I couldn’t color the text or bold it. The only other option would have been to use mock tags like the now infamous tag, but once again I would only have done that because that is the only available option.

Going from AKpCEP to the bigger picture … society … modern culture … life. Instead of a web site, we find ourselves in a much bigger playground. The rules however, remain the same. Instead of the almighty Alexander, we have governments who set the parameters (laws) within which we are allowed to make choices and the media who controls the information that must assist us in the choices we have to make. It becomes even more complicated when you throw formal education, religion, peers, friends and whatever else I couldn’t think of into the mix … so much so that eventually these influences become so intertwined that we have difficulty distinguishing one from other. The sheer magnitude of the big machine called civilisation becomes so overwhelming that most of the data that we are exposed to are shoved into the back of our minds. Every time we have to make a “free choice” we in avertedly call on this information to assist us in making that choice. In other words, symbolically speaking … all our choices are made for us … pre-determined and limited by the information that is piled up in our subconscious minds. Information that we are being force-fed from the moment we outgrow the comforts of our mothers’ womb … maybe even before that…

The Thought

Posted 5 February 2004, 11.56 pm by shaggy

I pondered at the forlorn path
The secret strength, the hidden math
By which, strong uncertain
Battles of mysterious portend
Shall be displayed to me

And as each thought passed
The uncontrolled mass
That whispers secrets to me
I felt unlearned
And, to the answers, yearned
As if they I could see

And what I found there
Chilled my blood and paled my hair
What I found,
That was previous underground,
The answers and questions, sound
Uncertain, staring, lurking
Piling upon my humours
Whistling the answers in rumours
Of no weak import
Was found, in my gaze,
Surrounded in the deepest haze,
-- Oh, that horrid gaze!
Those horrid eyes, that wicked maze!--
I found in that place
A deep, staring face
And I knew within my heart
--But where shall I start?--
I knew without a doubt
That this hideous beast was out
And sent against this world.

Time for Farewells I

Posted 5 February 2004, 4.10 pm by Lilith

This is the first of three poems in the set, and hopefully part of the foundation for the "Seasons" cycle (that I need to work more on). Since to me, fall seems the natural place to start (has nothing to do with Jewish New Year being in the fall, actually) writing the cycle, this will most likely be the first poem not only in the set, but in the entire cycle when and if I ever complete it (well, hopefully I will).

Any criticism is welcome, here or on the forum.
____________________________________________

1.

In the morning it was autumn
Dry seeds tap-dancing across the concrete.
A tired body demanding sleep, unsated
In the short hours before sunrise.
And the lapis of the sky was perfect,
Immaculate; but the leaves
Were still vividly green—
Casual attire to be replaced
By the evening dress of fall.
And the air was sweet and just
A little too pungent,
The smell of abandoned orchards.
Yes, it was autumn in the morning,
The time for farewells.

The autumn wind came,
A lover’s touch—too tender to endure
Without tears.
It will undress the forest—
Tear away the seductive silks
Of crimson, purple and gold,
Exposing the souls of trees
The gentle mist clinging to the rolling hills.
And I will see far away,
Knowing the coming of Fall.

This morning they stand unsuspecting,
And I watch them wait
For the coming of Fall,
The time of becoming.

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Doggybag/baggy_dog is an artist living and working in Barga, Italy. Click here to read about this piece in his own words.


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80s candy bars were pretty good

only because i traded it for a candy bar in the 80's.

lol we all know you don't have a soul ghoti

my soul for some carbs...

But of course!

Yo ! Does this work ?

* Alexander wonders if this still works

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