Wednesday, 1 June 2022

A month of making art

I can scarcely credit the fact but that’s how long it’s been for me with my paramontages, practically every morning from before dawn I’ve been busy manipulating software. Either writing poems or putting together the assemblages. One or the other, one thing or another.

It’s surreal.

For so long I’ve been mute, unable to say anything, trapped like Han Solo in his block of carbonite, the minutes slipping by as fast as days, the weeks disappearing mute as fast as years. Time sped up, slowed down, but anyway without expression of all of the feelings inside me apart from book reviews.

If Putin sparked my gardening – and I’m still wrestling with pests and diseases – then he also helped me to come to grips with my past. It seems wrong to only write about things other people have written in a world where there’s so much evil. It’s as if I have to help in some way, I have to contribute to the effort aimed at countering the forces of torment and destruction Russia has unleashed by invading a neighbouring country. So much destruction asks for commensurate efforts from people everywhere.

In our own region China continues to push its autocratic bias. If Scott Morrison can be congratulated for anything – and I know many are happy to see less of him (though not me) – calling it an “arc of autocracy” is right on the money, and such countries deeply resent freedom because the very example we pose to their kleptocratic practices offends them so deeply they would rather kill and destroy than sit back and listen to their own people complain.

What could I do in the face of such men?

Just yesterday while on the bus going into town to pick up more paramontages I saw the park glowing in the afternoon sun. I don’t even have to go outside, but a change of scene helps to stir the creative juices and the green grass wedged by hedges, houses, and traffic formed a quick burst of ecstasy that enlivened my senses, I promised myself to go back on another clear day to take photos of the glory. The light shows of Vivid Sydney, which began recently, have helped me to focus my energies because they provided a context within which to create and a subject for study. 

On one day I took enough photos harvested with two cameras to furnish material for four paramontages, resulting in files I left with the print shop yesterday. On the day in question I went into town early when it was still light and took photos in the CBD for a while, walking down Market Street then George Street and finally along Pitt Street Mall and Martin Place before heading north to the Quay. The crowds of shoppers gave me what I needed on in that interval though at other times it was a ferry shunting past the blocks of apartments beside the harbour or the Opera House standing like a beacon on its promontory overlooking the water.

At night the office buildings were glowing with illuminations projected onto their facades. The creators of these shots had put together a varied show where, at one moment, you could see children’s drawings of buildings (on the side of the Customs House) then the next you could see windsurfers. Green, yellow, blue, red switched around in curious montages someone had spent time making, who it was invisible there were no signatures on the work. But people took away memories.

Or perhaps they didn’t, perhaps the slideshow disappeared into oblivion like a fallen leaf on a tree in autumn. Life is vanishingly swift, we grow up to be – something, a project manager or an actor, a dentist or a politician – and then before we realise what’s just happened we’re ready to retire. With any luck we’ll enjoy our lives, but few people make a record apart from what remains in the memories of their children.

On my part this journey started in the last days of April but it’s not over yet. What’s been released from the box cannot be put back in.

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