FLOTSAM AND JET SET
In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
A vessel sinks, but it’s not considered a tragedy, no lives were lost, not even from steerage, but their valuables were taken and repurposed by the first class passengers who were rescued, bailed out, while the human flotsam that was left to drift continues to try to keep in [digital] “touch,” as long as their devices hold.
Violent souls with hearts of darkness escape inside their twi-lit ‘copter. These four hollow “men,” not innocent survivors, but the perpetrators of this mini apocalypse, now fly first class to their dream kingdom.
They are, from the right: Pestilence who is us, now more dangerous than other creatures, War, that most rational scientist, unceremoniously groped by the next rider, Famine, who embraces only the lower 99%—21st century steerage—these days, and, of course, good old Death ever at the helm.
And what about the easels, do they exist…
Between the idea
And the reality…
…Between the desire
And the spasm [?]
Seems so; they—it actually, the same one is in both images—are flotsam, too. They are objets trouve: art as what’s left of life and its discontents. They face one way, then the other, regretting then hoping or hoping then regretting, it’s hard to tell which.
Droll thing life is — that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself — that comes too late — a crop of inextinguishable regrets. ― Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”
Note 1: First two quotes are from T. S. Eliot’s “Hollow Men”
Note 2: In my opinion not all found (flotsam, objet trouve) art is art. An example: Is the Makapansgat Pebble art because an artist said so and is this object finder an artist because she found it? I can accept that tautology. Another: can an established artist just declare a preexisting object art and have it be accepted as such? Who can say as there are a lot of weasel words there like “established” “accepted,” not to mention “artist.”
I think the intent of the artist counts for a lot here. Our pebble finder liked what she saw, so she took it home. That’s a legitimate motive, yes? Three million years later one “established artist” tried to exhibit a urinal as art because he was pissed at the art establishment. And another “established artist” dragged her bed into a gallery to make money from (f*ck?) that very establishment, that she was “sleeping with.”
I suspect neither of these artists liked what they saw, and they didn’t care, that was not their intent. Aesthetics don’t count much anymore in Artworld, not that that matters to the rest of us on Planet Real. Personally, the only object of the three I’d have in my house would be the pebble. But I can admire Duchamp’s witty subversiveness, while despising Emin’s mercenary opportunism.