Updated: Sep 26, 2020
Soundtrack to this post: “Assassin Creed Theme”, by Lorne Balfe.
What’s my idea of peace?
I could have started this piece in different ways, but in the end, it’s always better to go straight to the point: what’s my concept of peace? To me, peace is synonym with
S T I L L N E S S
Hence, war is anything that drags me away from stillness and silence and quietness against my own desires. I crave silence and stillness. I long for peace. I search and sniff, explore and hunt for that “tiny crack of silence in the walls of [my] inner words” (Larson, 2013). I love solitude and I am not faced by even long moments of isolation. Quite the contrary.
The opposite, to me, is anger: deep-rooted, immediate, overpowering, destabilising, frantic anger. And powerlessness. And I am well-aware (I am not sorry for digressing) that the worlds of peace and anger are both intertwined and respectively contained. You cannot have a sheet of paper without its two sides or a coin without its two faces. Anger hides in peace; Peace is found in anger. For more on the Buddhist Ten Worlds, please read “The Buddha in Daily Life” by Richard Causton here or see here or here in my book Rebeltherapy.
I accept the fact that not everybody perceives peace as I do. And I am ok with it. But let me tell you: at my age, I am very much ok with what I like, dislike, think and believe in. Not that I am not prepared to change my values and allegiances or preferences, but you really have to show me, teach me, educate me, convince me that what you believe in is better than what I believe in. Because I am not prepared to waste time in listening to ignorant, shallow and ill-informed convincing.
I am all up for brain-storming and exploring; not a single fuck will instead be given to brain-washing and persuading.
Art, to me, has to be militant and to convey a message. In this case: my message:
WAKE THE FUCK UP!
This is what I wrote before: “I am just going to say that now that I have discovered it, I know what kind of “stuff” I am going to make for my peace project. And I feel very happy about it. And it’s going to be about futility and hypocrisy, and irony. Basically, as a homily on ignorant delusions” (from here). It wasn’t all true: I wasn’t sure about what I was going to make. Therefore, I made the poppies / painting / beads experiments, but I felt they were not “me”. No, better: they were “me”, but I also knew I could do better: I could really be openly “me”. I knew I had ideas, and concepts, and this seething anger and rebellious broth bubbling in me. Somewhere else I wrote this: “Can we, as artists, take risks? What about offending people? Can I make pieces which push ethical boundaries of people with disabilities, of a different religion, or do I have to stick into being politically correct and censor myself and my own beliefs? Where is the fine line between my own freedom of speech and others feeling not accepted, or eventually mocked? Is there ANY OTHER WAY I could convey my message without raising ethical issues?” (from here). These questions were so important while creating for this project.
I strongly believe that whatever work I have been doing with regards to this brief, it meant that self-exploration and development had to go hand-in-hand with the production of pieces and the theoretical approach.
Pieces had to be appealing, pleasing, balanced, elegant, simple, funny, playful; and at the same time punch you right in the stomach and make you think. I want the viewer to stop and look, laugh and then stop and look again. And realise the bitterness and disillusion of the times we live in. I want you to laugh, and then feel melancholia ad disenchantment. And I want you to search, on your hand and knees, within you, under all of that, a sense of militant and revolutionary passion for change.
One of the first pieces I made is titled: Peace on the Train. Supporting my ideas on silence, respect, and simply good manners: I cannot stand people who sniff and do not blow their nose. Especially on the train, which I am using very often.
This piece, to me, meant that I had to find the courage to publicly exhibit my ideas, showing the real Me, my values, and beliefs, with no mediation, no compromises, no understanding, no protecting others from offence and hurt, nor me. This is not just a plank of wood with a couple of tissues nailed on it. I had to find the courage to say to people: I cannot stand people sniffing. Please, blow your nose. Be an adult, stop being a child. Your way of acting in public is immature, bad-mannered; and what kind of example are you giving to your friends / kids?
This plank of wood is one of the things I am most proud of.
In the following posts (MA&FLX – #) I will talk you through the other pieces I have been creating. Please, feel free to refer back to this post while reading the others.
Larson, K. (2013) Where the Heart beats. John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists. Penguin : London