Creative Act #7: The Good, the Bad and the Artist.

The prompt for this creative act was to “create something using an archetypal pattern or image to inspire you”. An archetype being described as something universally understood. There are a few faces that are known by people all over the world, and my research of polls and online articles came up with a top three: Michael Jackson, Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler. The artist, the good and the bad. Familiar for music, faith and evil, these three faces are immediately recognized globally. I envisioned combining the three faces together, and not being a visual artist I decided to use a computer program. At morphthing.com, I was able to take a photo of Michael Jackson in his later years, Jesus’ face mapped digitally from the Shroud of Turin (as opposed to the iconic image of Jesus often light haired, blue eyed and fair skinned), and a photo of Hitler. A representation of the collective face of humanity.

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Michael Jackson in his later years.

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Jesus Christ from the Shroud of Turin.

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Coloured Adolf Hitler Portrait

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The combination of the three. A rough representation of the archetype of face. Time will perhaps replace these figures with another three, as there were others before them—so long as artists have depicted the human face.

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Creative Act #5: Language Paradigm

For this week’s creative act we were told to accept a current paradigm and then change it. This has proven difficult for me. However, I eventually settled on the paradigm of language. Many countries, cultures and people have their own language—something built up and passed down over time. What I propose is a change from the estimated six-thousand to seven-thousand languages in the world, to one. This has been attempted before with esperanto, a language created from a number of others, but rigid in it’s application. Instead, my approach is that children should be taught the following main languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Mandarin, Hindi, Japanese, Swahili and Arabic. Teaching children each word from each language simultaneously, and encouraging them to incorporate and switch the words as they speak. This would soon enough create a melange (French for mixture) language that would be kueleweka (Swahili for understandable) by all. Not rigid in it’s written or spoken form, but instead a constantly changing sort of improvisation.

Examples of speech in this new, mixed language:

Where es l’épicerie, ich muss buy tamāṭara.
(Where is the grocery store, I need to buy tomatoes.)
[English, Spanish, French, German, English, Hindi.]

And just as easily, the above sentence could be spoken as such:

Wo ist das produktovyy magazin, watashi wa comprar tomates.
[German, Russian, Japanese, Spanish.]

More examples of this combined language:

¿Cómo proshel kontsert? Nikashikia wa sore wa fantasutikkudatta.
(How was the concert? I heard that it was fantastic.)
[Spanish, Russian, Swahili, Japanese.]

Aprendi to speak wie dies als ein Háizi.
(I learned to speak like this as a child.)
[French, English, German, Mandarin.]

This would connect the world like never before, or ever since the fall of the Tower of Babel. A uniting force that would draw the world out of it’s current state of conflict, improve relations between all peoples, and promote international business and contact with a once impossible ease.

Creative Act #4: A Paranoid’s Journal

0850: A man and a woman jog past me at the bus-stop. The watching eyes not as discrete as my surveillance usually is – I assume they are new agents. Inexperienced. I am not. They have been getting sloppy in who they send.

-She wore an orange Nike baseball-cap, grey shorts and a blue shirt, with dark hair in a pony-tail; Approximately 5’3’’ of Korean ethnicity.
-He wore a black shirt, blue shorts, stained-white trainers and glasses; medium length brown hair, approximately 5’10’’ and Caucasian.

0900: Another walked by shortly after the first pair, perhaps on assignment from a different agency – whatever the case, he was more discrete – until I saw the audio-receiver in his ear.

-With light hair and a medium beard, he wore a blue hoodie, grey shorts, long white socks, runners and a green bag with the brand ‘Fidelity’ on the back. Standing approximately 6’4’’, Caucasian.

0930: The bus arrives. It isn’t the usual driver for this route, and he won’t make eye-contact behind his sunglasses and visor as I board. And people call me paranoid. All the other passengers seemed focused or occupied elsewhere, but I can feel their peripheral stares. This bus is thoroughly compromised. I will be getting off at the next stop.

0935: I transfer to another bus, after walking three stops backwards and taking the opposing route on the opposite street. They both end up in the same place, albeit this one takes longer.

1015: I pay my ferry ticket at the self check-out like usual, no need for physical eyes to have noticed and spend a portion of their memory on me.

1100: I miss the 10 o’ clock ferry, either due to the bus driver purposefully stalling or the ferry leaving early. Either way, my trip has been detected, and I board the 11 o’ clock.

1130: Arsenal scores against West Ham on the television set. Score: 3-1. I remember this game, and I start to wonder why there would be a Premier League recording on the ferry’s entertainment system. Is this entire ship a shame? Crew, passengers, voyage..

1233: I always hold the rail while crossing that retractable bridge, connecting the ferry and terminal. The fifty foot drop to foaming surf below, combined with all those unknown, staring faces that hustle and push past – any one of them could be an agent, trying to end me with a simple push. So I hold the rail.

1244: In choosing a taxi-cab, one must be careful. The drivers who rush towards you, hands trying to grab bags before they’ve left your own and smiles beaming without purchase. Who would be so eager to drive someone they don’t know? A potential serial killer, a potential agent. I always choose the cab-driver most disinterested, most talking on his phone to his wife, begging her to not leave him and most unconcerned with me. I let him talk on his phone, a rat tat tat machine-gunning of Farsi.

1330: My habitual and prudent glances through the back window of the cab, have proven justified for yet another time. There is clearly a vehicle following us: Cadillac Seville, 1989, black in colour with a license-plate reading: FDF-469. I’ll run it through a database later, despite the fact that it will no doubt come up as a single mother from Burnaby – those who follow me are always careful about their tracks. For now though, I urge my driver on, to take a right hand turn just before it would have been too late. The slight screech of tyres and that faint noxious smell of burnt rubber and built up exhaust slip through the back window, as he takes the turn off and I watch the Cadillac speed on by.

1420: Another series of diversions and necessary twists and turns, and we arrive at my location. It is three blocks walk away, but I don’t need the driver to know exactly where I live, regardless of how trustworthily inept he is. I pay the fare, with a modest tip, before taking my luggage and trudging off through a nearby alley-way. Rolling wheels over the occasional dip and divvy, I arrive at my safe house without any further incident.

1600: I go out the back-way, instead of the other back-way, melding into the shadows that hug the sides of the apartment buildings close. Dark, knee-length coat the perfect camouflage. Around the corner there is a coffee shop, with long hair and a nobel straight nose, beautiful brown eyes that seem to stare right through me. I avoid it, instead walking another four and a half blocks to the Starbucks. No one remembers you at Starbucks. Sipping a pumpkin spice latte, I reflect not for the first time on how vile it is, preferring my coffee black – but that information could prove disastrous if learned by them.

1630: I wait until a large group of friends depart, before slipping in next to them and using their fat as a shield against prying eyes. Walking along with them for a distance, I slip off into an antique store, standing next to a cedar armoire posing as mahogany, looking through the deserted shop’s window carefully, noting any who could have been on my tail. A suspicious man slowly moves by, his back hunched as if in pain and his weight seemingly leaned upon a triple pronged cane, green fuzz embellishing it’s points. I wait until he is too far away to notice, before slipping back out into the street and going to my safe house.

1730: I board the Sky Train at Commercial-Broadway, the first into the first train car, I make sure to acquire a window seat. As the remotely operated vehicle grinds down it’s electrified tracks, I use the reflective screen of my Sony Ericsson to watch the faces behind and to my sides.

-A man in a blue and yellow striped track-suit, a Puma cap pulled down, so that the brim hid the details of his Caucasian face. Approximately 5’10’’ and 165 lbs,
I keep an eye on him for the rest of the trip – as he does the same to me. He gets off at Joyce-Collingwood. I get off at the next stop, diverting to the Millennium line, in case he had plans for them to meet me at an ensuing stop.

1820: I go to Costco, I find it’s tremendous size comforting – making it easier to blend and disappear. I buy a can of turkey gravy, bread, cranberry sauce and slices of processed turkey meat to make Thanksgiving dinner.

1900: Preparing my sandwiches at the safe-house, I think of everything I am thankful for: electrical tape, Emil Kraepelin, leather.

2100: I go to sleep, after locking up – turning off – alarming – booby-trapping and cleaning my safe-house. It will be a restless night.

I kept a journal while traveling from Victoria to the mainland for Thanksgiving, recording thoughts and events with paranoia always in the back of my mind. The regular happenings, normal people and mundane places I saw, soon transformed into danger and subterfuge at every turn.

Creative Act #3: The Television Tree

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Creative Act #3: The Television Tree

I was very tempted to delve into a writing medium I was not personally experienced with for this creative act, such as a screenplay or perhaps a one-act, however I decided to venture beyond my usual paper boundaries and try something new. I decided upon sculpture. This photo is of a number of televisions stacked, with a Nintendo video game console and a modem at the top. Placed in the foreground of a tall tree with very natural growth (which was not able to be captured entirely in the photograph), the television tree as I call it, represents society’s shift from a focus on the natural and the beauty of the world, towards viewing everything through the dulling screen of technology. On the ground in front of the television tree, are a number of electrical cords which are a parody of roots. There is a good example of life beyond the screen in the right background, where a large, beautifully green-leafed tree is visible.

Creative Act #2: The Pillars

The hills stood tall amongst the clouds; smooth blades of grass, drawn against the coursing winds of the sky like soft pelt. Countless in number, they covered the seas with their rolling, rounded slopes, brilliant emerald skin stretching to the lapping tides. The great waterways between these giants interlaced and twined, into a scarce navigable maze, home to pale, bared bones of pine. Many the victim of time, hunger & thirst. Others prey to their fellow traveller. The steeps barren but for their mask of nature, shadowed channels long-since drained of life. These the pillars of no-man.

To those who found their way through the labyrinth, the other side harbored nothing but bare sheets of sand – buffered from the pillars by a stretch of silent ocean. The great desert, pulsing with veins of lava buried just beneath the soft, sinking dunes, was curled seamlessly across the land. Edge sinking into foaming surf. Cactus and thorn-scrub sprouted inconsistently from thinner pools of the sun’s grain, their roots lingering deep in the moisture and nutrient of soil below. Little help to wandering souls, pushing through the wind-swept plains that cut skin afresh, with tiny blades picked off the threshing floor. None knew what lay beyond, for it took a lifetime to traverse. Yet still they came, the sailors and survivors, pushing themselves on – further and further – towards the end of the world.

The landscape of a fictional-world, imagined above, came to me with a combination of Moroccan kif incense and staring at my ceiling.

Creative Act #1: Space ambitions shrink in scale

Space ambitions shrink in scale

When those who were meant to, dream not.

Innumerable stars will never be caught by their glint,

Or betray a clarity against coal backdrops.

Against the featureless, black-hole of squishing,

Malleable imagining.

Connections are drawn like dots:

From one, to the other.

To those who cast their line,

In the overwhelming tide,

And live well in the knowledge of creation.

While others still, with a stencil, will.

Following a claimed fate,

Bold and harsh, in shades.

Drawn since time immemorial.

Their straight-jackets pulled taught,

On those who refuse to be understood,

By those who refuse to understand.

The cavity of your mind, is not tooled or set.

We sub-conscious roam, don’t you know?

Touching,

Groping,

Yearning,

For the other.

In that time that seems sweet – sleep,

They play.

Dreaming that which is naught,

But a cerebral-day.

Dreams too life-like, to be anything but.

Faces, people and places,

Moving from one pond to the other.

Dipping toes in luke-warm water.

They’re the actors of each dreamer’s play.

The mares and the caricatures,

Beautiful in their own vague way.

– – –

This poem, which begins with a headline from the BBC News, deals with the concept of connected-dreams and of those who do not know how to dream. I had no plan for the poem when it began, instead allowing the writing to bring me to a realization through a natural process of creation and contemplation. The poem began with a single line, “Space ambitions shrink in scale”, the headline from an article I did not read; I did not want the actual material of the piece to affect the course of the poem. Instead, I allowed subjectivity and individual interpretation reign. What the headline could have meant, or rather what it meant to me, soon revealed itself in the free-verse form. After completing the poem, I read the news piece in question. I noted the general unlikeness between the realism involved in the cut-backs on space-travel research, and my poem about refusing mental-boundaries and allowing yourself any and all exploration of the human mind, or space. This combination of a rigid, scientific-news piece and unstructured poetry, led to the creation of a personal theory: our dreams are inhabited by other dreamers.

Cooper, Quentin. “Space Ambitions Shrink in Scale.” BBC.com. BBC, 10 Sept. 2012. Web. <http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120910-space-ambitions-shrink-in-scale&gt;.