Saturday, March 22, 2008

Attention to detail

A small stoat is taking a drink at the edge of a stream. A leopard approaches, with a glint in it’s eye.

Leopard: I always find that writing something down is a way of instantly forgetting it. It is all taken care of and you don’t need to worry about forgetting it later. Don’t you think?

Stoat: Please don’t eat me.

: You don’t need to worry, I’m never very hungry when I’m thinking..

Some small talk.

: So you’re saying that in Hollywood love is a fade to black, then cigarettes?

Leopard: At least it used to be, back when Hollywood respected it’s audience enough to hide things from them. Now it’s all copulation and flesh, teasing and gratification. Funnily enough, the fade to black is more generous to our perversions and fantasies than flesh caught on film ever is. The bride stripped bare is no longer a bride, but an animal, the groom a fauve too. Our minds have little work to do in such an encounter – all of the work is being done for us, in our place. So the fade to black used to be much more risqué in a way.. by letting our own fantasies bloom. Now it is no longer possible to engage in my own personal fantasy – to apply my desires to the situation in front of me – instead a predetermined piece of choreography is dictated to me, preaching generosity and democracy, while practicing authoritarian fascism.

Personally I believe the old adage that love is blind. It is like standing back to back with someone you trust. You are unable to see them, but when the back of your hand touches the back of theirs you know that you are both there because you want to be. When facing away from each other, at any point one or the other of you could walk away and leave the other completely exposed. This cannot happen when you are looking someone in the eye – face to face – body to body, flesh on screen. It is that unspoken agreement the fade to black that stands for something. Maybe I am old-fashioned, but I get more kicks from Alfred Hitchcock than from Takashi Miike. Let me elucidate a little..

I think that the pain and beauty of being alive lies in our inconsolable loneliness; our universal singularity, and in our innate drive to find the miracle that will reverse this condition. Supposedly the answer to this loneliness has existed in the solidarity of workers, in the solidarity of belief, in the solidarity of religion and class. But solidarity is not happiness, it is temporary euphoria. It is the feeling of marching side by side towards a common goal. But solidarity cannot last forever. March too long and fatigue sets in, euphoria turns to ideology. March farther still and ideology turns into doctrine. And if the march stretches out longer still doctrine turns into hegemony.

So solidarity is an impermanent phenomena relying on constant propulsion, an increasing or at least steady velocity. As soon as it slows the essence of solidarity is lost, when euphoria turns into ideology it requires more and more fuel to reach that joy of initial and unmediated euphoria. It is this way with capitalism, with drugs, and with relationships too. We enter into a relationship with the hope for communion, but what we find is solidarity. We enter into a relationship with the hope of finding a self propelling something that exists in a natural state – just because we will it so. But we find that to keep the engine running there must be a constant feeding of fuel into the fire. What we expect to be ease - our own private utopia – we see is actually work, just as much the dysfunction as the thing we hope to take solace from.

So in love unless your backs are turned to one another, unless you are facing opposite directions and remaining perfectly still, you will always be walking slowly away from each other even though you travel in the same direction.

Stoat: I think I know what you mean. Love can be hard to find sometimes, so sometimes we need to look a bit harder. When we are looking harder, we take notice of things that we may otherwise miss; a fallen tree balanced gingerly across two rocks, a light yellow sheet caught on a wire. When we are not possessed of a single love but are looking, we take notice of these things and somehow they make sense and we realise that actually we are already in love.

Some smalltalk.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


A dinosaur and a human are at an airport waiting for a flight – which has just been delayed.

Dinosaur: Damn.
Human: Damn.

Some Smalltalk.


I also don’t understand why you humans don’t like spiders – why you eliminate bugs. Don’t you know that bugs eliminate each other much more effectively then you do? You wipe spiders out of your house and then act surprised when the place fills up with flies. Death is not one off and final, not extermination. It is cyclic and essential and joyous. I don’t understand you humans – you hate death so much that you spend your life fighting instead of living. It is always a joyous thing when somebody dies. Sad, certainly, but overwhelmingly joyous. A death acts as an affirmation of life. When somebody dies the shocking thing is not that they are gone, but that you are still there. This must be joyous no? A death is not a realisation of death itself, but of life. If all your loved ones were to live forever you would end up hating them, because you would know them too well.

We dinosaurs lived for some billions of years, I’m not sure how many, we didn’t bother to count. We lived that long because we enjoyed it. You humans live at a pace that exceeds that of the universe. And as such – you will all be dead before the various gods you worship can even realise you exist, let alone help you.

Lets pretend we can call all your objects of worship ‘god’, it doesn’t matter what they are. Lets pretend that this god is an animate being. God is sexless, in as much as that it is made up of all the men and women that worship it. This sexless god is a sum of its parts. The parent is only a parent because of the child. God is only god because of the worshipper. Each devout human is an individual cell in the body of this god – entirely not god – but entirely a part thereof. This is how you do things I think. What you struggle to realise is that there can be no communion between a human that is part of god and god that is made of humans. Being human, god cannot exist, being god humans cannot exist. They are the same thing because they are entirely different. So a human is a cell in this god, in whatever god. The funny thing is that you have hundreds of words for this god – the most common being ‘God’ and ‘Humanity’ where the word humanity acknowledges that humans exist as humans because of their ability to communicate and to exist individually inside of multiplicities. If there were only one human there would be no humanity.

You can never talk to god. You exist at a much faster pace. All that god, humanity or otherwise hears from your entire existence is a tiny blip – a fragment that cannot make sense on its own. It is only by juxtaposing thousands, millions of these blips, one following another that god can make sense of anything that is being sent to it. Maybe after stringing millions of these blips together it hears ‘damn’.

You cannot commune with humanity because you exist at a much faster pace. You can never understand anything in it’s entirety because you are a part of a whole. You can never understand anything in isolation because it is part of the same whole that you are.

In the body of your god, if you If you try too hard to survive you become either a thought or a cancer, either way it is risky business, but you humans cannot live without these stakes it seems.

A long time ago we dinosaurs realised these things, and this is why we became so happy, stopped trying to communicate with things intangible and once again started to enjoy life. We dinosaurs were so happy because we understood enough to know that understanding isn’t everything. We used to build houses, great houses, made of granite and thatch, but soon we no longer bothered, because we found we would rather dance in the rain then sit inside. When we dance in the rain we warm up from inside, with heat and with rhythm. When we dance in the rain we cool down from the outside, with chill and with melody.

When we sat inside during the rain we would sit and stare, and wait for the rain to stop. While we waited for dry we would think too much and grow angry, because thinking is useless without doing. It is pointless to grow angry at the rain. Even when it stops the anger stays, because it isn’t anger that stops rain. Anger from thinking too much, anger that is no solution.

So we abolished the construction of houses and instead when it rained we would dance and be happy, because the feeling of heat is best when it is cold, rhythm is best with melody.

I do not mean that you should abolish your own houses - you are not dinosaurs yet – just that you should live outside as well as in.


Yes, we are not dinosaurs yet, and I am not sure we ever will be. We do not have the same lethargy of ages, instead the virility of youth and of viruses. I think we are unable to live as intensities, we would then be apes again. I think we need to know things in order to change them, but the things we most commonly get to know are our criteria for knowledge, so we are constantly changing our concept of concepts. This is our survival scheme – like a virus will constantly evolve and grow resistant to vaccines, we will constantly become resistant to truth, because with truth is death. And as you say, we are more scared of death than anything, so we spend our time trying to pre-empt life. I think we have touched on some of what you are saying, dinosaur. Have you ever seen a human tragedy?

Tragedies are fundamentally happy things I think, the tragic element of a tragedy is not so much the death or demise of one or all of the main characters (which is sad), but the fact that though the character is dead, life will continue (which is happy), regardless of this woe. A tragedy cannot be a sad thing unless the central woe is lesser than the implicit joys of being. The tragedy is tragic because the implication is there that though death may be profound; it is only meaningful in the greater significance of life. A tragedy has to be truly and fundamentally happy, to be truly and fundamentally sad.

It is the same with our houses, we can only appreciate one thing in relation to another. We can only appreciate outside because inside exists.


That seems a bit tenuous to me.. So what you are saying is that all your buildings are houses. There are two types that I can see, your houses called home, by which you will always be at war with your neighbors, and your houses called railway stations, called mosques and airports and churches, which provide the ammunition and mobility to make war from your home.

For your houses space becomes impressive only when you can define it’s limits. This is how you operate yes? You build a great hall which can hold much space, but you do not appreciate the space itself – only the structure that encapsulates it. You determine value by separation. You have the capacity to build fluid structures – I have seen you do it – but constantly you revert to concrete after thinking thoughts filled with helium.

The flight is now boarding.


You are such a hippie. Did you know that dinosaurs evolved into birds? See that pigeon? That’s you in the future.


That’s a bit depressing.

Some Smalltalk.

You Are Here

You Are Here

Kah Bee Chow, Fiona Connor, Finn Ferrier, Alex Monteith, John Ward Knox
2 February – 1 March 2008
Curated by Ariane Craig-Smith, ARTSPACE 2007 Curatorial Intern

Photos by Alex North
Poster design by Nell May

Gravity Dance Sexy

3-16 Feb 2008

John Ward Knox. Curriculum Vitae