Archive for August, 2010
I have a theory that English people might be a bit reserved. As far as I’m aware no one else has ever come up with this theory.
I believe that they talk about the weather too often and for far too long because they feel too inhibited to have meaningful and personal discussions with strangers, associates or even family and friends. But I also believe they would dearly like to have more intimate discussions.
In England this week a weatherman was caught sticking his finger up at the news presenter. This was after a joke from the presenter about how accurate the weather prediction was going to be. The BBC have had to apologise.
The event has led once again to more analysis of the accuracy of weather predictions and just a lot more weather talk in general.
It reminded me of an artwork I did 18months ago when I was still ironing out the nuts and bolts of News Art (this took a while because ironing nuts and bolts is a very slow process).
I had only been in England for six months and was finding the overly polite and sometimes stiff conversations with people I met slightly depressing. I felt restrained by the formal and superficial weather analysis dominating the majority of conversations.
On the eve of Groundhog Day (a day synonymous with weather and analysis of weather) I laid fake snow down to demonstrate the ‘suffocating blanket of cold, icy reserve’ that weather discussion represents to me. I hoped this ARTicle would wake London up to the need to talk about SOMETHING other than weather for once and connect with one another.
Unfortunately I overdid the snow. I continued my work all night until London woke up the next day to what they believed was ‘the heaviest snowfall in 20 years’. This meant that news bulletins, radio DJs, people on the street, people in bars, people at bus stops, EVERYONE talked about NOTHING but weather for the next two weeks! Whoops!
On the plus side, snow is amazing! Look at this one…
Plus I met this guy who seemed comfortable with more chatty discussion. Though the witch’s hat suggested he might have been drunk and returning from a stag do.
Further to my news ARTicle earlier today, the news has JUST reported that a ‘psychic salt water crocodile’ has ‘picked’ Julia Gillard to win the election!!
At first I thought this strange, as surely the crocodile would want to pick a fellow crocodile. But then I read that the crocodile had eaten a chicken carcass with a caricature of Prime Minister Julia Gillard on it.
CLEARLY this is the crocodile trying to devour its master’s enemy!
The only other option I can imagine is that Tony Abbott’s plan to not sleep for 36hours until the election has made him confused and tired already and meant he is sending the wrong psychic directions to his crocodile followers.
I have photographed Abbott as he waited for the results of the psychic crocodile’s prediction and you can detect some tiredness around the eyes I think.
Either way this means there is still no definite prediction here as to who will win. They should have got this much better psychic.
Living in the UK for the past two years has brought to my attention the fact that no attention is given to Australia in the British news unless it is a story about a dangerous animal attack. There are no exceptions.
I have a feeling most other countries have the same attitude to news about Australia.
This weekend there is a very important and quite dramatic election going on in Australia so I feel it is my duty to find a way to inform those outside our country of what is going on.
Hence I have used my art to explain the battle of the two main parties in the federal election as… DANGEROUS ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS.
As I understand it, JULIA GILLARD, our current Prime Minister who stands for the Labor Party, can be represented metaphorically as a great white shark. She has recently had bad press for attacking a diver.
The diver in question was the Prime Minister before her, Kevin Rudd, who only defeated the previous longstanding Prime Minister, John Howard (a box jellyfish), three years ago. Rudd’s popularity had declined drastically over his first term due to several embarrassing mistakes and failures from the Labor Party.
This is why the party chose to overthrow him two months ago and his deputy, Julia Gillard, took the bait (she saw him paddling above her looking like a seal) and attacked. SHARK ATTACK!
This has given her serious image problems in Australia as the opposing conservative party (the Liberal Party) are using this act to portray her as a ruthless backstabber (ignoring the fact that sharks can’t hold knives… and that their leader similarly ousted his predecessor).
But was Julia acting out of malice and plotting or was she just acting on instinct, attacking where she saw necessary to achieve her ultimate aim, ie, victory for the Labor Party/eating a seal?
This is a bone of contention but one that can be solved when we realise that movies have perpetuated the MYTH that sharks enjoy attacking humans. In reality we know that sharks usually only attack humans by mistake or if they can tell the human has no way of winning an upcoming election.
The opposition leader is TONY ABBOTT.
I have depicted him here as a crocodile (in one of my most lifelike sculptures yet) because
a) he loves swimming and he loves grinning creepily
b) if you are swimming alone in a river he will often sneak up on you, drag you under the water in a death roll and then devour your lifeless corpse. Particularly if you are pro abortion. And not in a metaphorical way.
I must point out that I’m not an expert on the tiny details of his policies, having been away some time, but I am fairly sure that death rolls and lurking near swimmers are still high on his political agenda.
Also crocodiles are the closest living animal to dinosaurs and dinosaurs also thought climate change was ‘crap’, just like Abbott does.
Also part of Tony’s election campaign is to target refugees coming to Australia in boats. He wants to alert the Australian public to the horror of ‘boat people’ and promises to get rid of them. I believe he plans to do this by swimming up from below the boat and knocking it with his snout.
Julia has stated her belief in climate change but not acted effectively on it so far which is foolish of her, considering the immediate danger sharks face from global warming.
Click here to see Abbott’s refugee policy which begins at the 4:20 mark.
Also click here to see the prediction election analysts have made on the outcome of the vote on Saturday.
A final note on political bias
Whenever politics are discussed or reported, accusations of bias are flung around. So let me declare my bias straight away. It is true that I think sharks are way more awesome than crocodiles, particularly in terms of films about GIANT versions of these animals.
However I have tried to keep my analysis of shark and crocodile politics as objective as possible here.
If you feel that this has not been achieved than I urge you to seek out the advice of a marine biologist, especially one in a lab coat with glasses who likes to experiment in making GIANT sharks, and ask them about Julia Gillard’s failures to commit to Emmissions Trading Schemes or Tony Abbott’s lack of understanding about broadband technology.
NB: Crocodile photo taken by Heidi (from Michael Holley’s photo collection)
Celebrities are like Greek Gods… they live in a world of power and privilege that us mere mortals can only dream about. Also many of them are getting beards these days. And several were in that film Clash of the Titans.
But, just like the Greek Gods, they often abuse their power and fame.
Kanye West did this while I was away.
Kanye began using Twitter and decided to follow just one person, at random. He chose an anonymous 19 year old from Coventry, Steve Holmes. He knew that this would change the boy’s life immediately, giving him a taste of the life of a god.
But he did this without preparing the boy by first asking his permission, sending him a warning or letting some slutty goddess come and give him a horse with wings. Steve hated the sudden media attention he got.
Why did Kanye do this? To amuse himself.
I decided it was high time for some Revenge Art on behalf of this Steve Holmes. This time the target had to be celebrities and Twitter.
And there is no greater Twitter celebrity than British national treasure @StephenFry.
How would Stephen FRY feel if he was treated/tweeted as carelessly as Steven HOLMES was? How would this Greek God like being randomly chosen by the slings and mouse arrows (WORDPLAY ALERT!!) of fortune to have their life turned around?
I, @heidi_regan, a small time and beginner tweeter (representing small time tweeter Steve Holmes), began following @StephenFry the giant celebrity (representing Kanye West). I did this completely out of the blue and WITHOUT WARNING.
The results were almost immediate! Within only 20 minutes of my choosing to follow him Stephen Fry was SWAMPED with 1,653,675 followers! A week later and he had 20,000 more! Another week and it was almost 40,000 more!
I hadn’t thought to check his follower numbers before I added him but I would assume it was no more than 400 or so because no one has many more friends than that. Not to mention the fact that lots of people don’t like the internet (I find it condescending).
I can only imagine the anguish Stephen is now going through as he tries to understand and cope with this sudden explosion of attention and fame. So I will imagine it.
I have also represented it in art.
To portray my attack on the destructive Greek Gods I have created this sculpture of a triumphant Perseus killing the Medusa. Perseus was, like me, a mortal who slew a powerful god/followed them on Twitter.
Also Medusa was a goddess who was both beautiful and ugly, like fame, and she had hair that would have been very difficult to manage, like celebrities.
Actually I just remembered that Perseus was meant to be part God. This could be said to imply that I also am part god/the chosen one, which is very flattering, thank you.
First allow me to apologise for the art hiatus. I was hacked… sad emoticon. My website disappeared.
I don’t want to write any angry comments about this. I don’t even want to repeat what the hacker named themselves as I don’t want to draw the Eye of the Hacker back to my fragile site so I will simply refer to them as He Who Shall Not Be Named. Oh that’s Voldemort… which makes me Harry Potter, which makes me the Chosen One. Again? Weird.
Luckily the news politely stopped while I was unable to report it.
But who actually hacked it?
Good question, Heidi. Well I don’t want to point any fingers here, I only want to make specific accusations…
So why is it that IMMEDIATELY after I made slight criticism of the Anonymous Artist’s most recent artwork my website was hacked?! If this is the reason then this is NOT the way to deal with criticism of your work.
All I’m saying is that whenever someone negatively criticizes my artwork (this never happens), I handle it more constructively. I merely go alone into my studio and write on pieces of paper the Winston Churchill quote, ‘Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
I write this 2000 times over until the monotony of the task has wiped the memory of all the constructive criticism from my head and hence it is like they never said it. Ergo I win!
(I then papier mache the papers into cannonballs and shoot them from my Love Gun at the critic’s windows, to show them I took what they said on board, before I erased it from my memory).
Seeing as they are still (though I am loathe to say it) an artist, I decided to convey to the Anonymous Artist the pain their hacking caused me through art. Hence I made this sculpture, which I call ‘Pain and anguish’.
I think the turmoil I felt is quite clear here. I apologise for the confronting imagery. Clearly it’s a very violent and emotional piece but as you can see I was quite upset.
Right. In recent months I was offered membership of the Cake Club at work. Every Wednesday a different member brings a cake to work. Then we eat it. Anyone can join if they have been invited and if they supply a cake when it is their turn.
I was excited to join, partly for the weekly sugar surprise and partly because the club seemed straight forward and we had recently had turbulent leadership battles and factional in-fighting in the Vending Machine Club.
However, upon joining cake club, I did hesitate for a TINY, TINY moment, at the thought of whether I could afford to buy a cake every couple of months. But I only hesitated for a MOMENT.
Despite this the Anonymous Artist seems to have felt it necessary to influence European politics to teach me a lesson through art!!
You can imagine my ire when I discovered that Slovakia was going through almost exactly the same dilemma as I had gone through. Around the same time in June, Slovakia was dragging its feet over signing up to a large safety net for EU states that fell upon financial difficulty.
As the EU’s poorest and a relatively new member it was understandably unexcited at the thought of contributing towards a very large and mandatory bailout fund.
Yes, there was a part of me that felt that as a new member of cake club who hadn’t indulged in any cakes yet, I should be allowed to have a few weeks of cake before I was expected to buy one. I had also only just come back to full time shifts so was very low on funds.
On the other hand, Cake Club was a good backup/bailout if you got to a Wednesday and had forgotten to pack a lunch (much like Greece forgot to implement financial reform, leading to their need for bailout/cake).
However I kept all these concerns (that were being mirrored in Slovakia’s hesitations) to myself so HOW had the Anonymous Artist known?
This was most worrying. And, not AS worrying but still quite intriguing; how had the Anonymous Artist managed to gain such an influential role in Slovakian and Eurozone politics so quickly upon learning of my cake club reservations?
Either way the Anonymous Artist has gone too far with their art, in my opinion. And it has got worse…
Since Slovakia’s hesitation Hungary has since been denied a similar rescue plan from the EU and IMF. This was clearly engineered by the Anonymous Artist as a VERY POOR word pun on the words Hungary and hungry in relation to cake (WORDPLAY ALERT!).
The Artist is not just inspiring an audience anymore, they are messing with international politics and the economic prosperity of entire countries!
And above all they are IGNORING the fact that after hesitating for only a moment, I not only bought my first cake for cake club but I bought the above one that was double the price of all others. This was because it could be made to amusingly spell ‘enchante’ which makes it FANCY and FRENCH! I bet Nicholas Sarkozy would be quite happy to negotiate further with Slovakia over austerity measurements being required of Greece if he saw that!
NB: I did consider at first the chance that the Anonymous Artist was influencing the Cake Club to make a statement about EU diplomacy, rather than vice versa… however I am quite sure that the Cake Club could not be infiltrated and its joining policies influenced so easily and quickly.
Today I have looked at how far we have come as a species who can now resolve conflict peacefully through diplomacy. Hopefully, as we continue to evolve, we will soon not even need diplomacy but merely psychic octopuses/octopussi to tell us who would win in a nuclear war…
The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, will still visit the UK. This is despite recent anger at UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s comments that Pakistan was linked with groups that ‘promote the export of terror’. The comments had led to a diplomatic row.
This story made me glad we have diplomacy to protect us. We have reasoning and debate to rescue us from the fate of our primitive ancestors. Those primitive ancestors who could only communicate with their fists and weapons (and ocassionally interpretive dance).
But we must never forget our violent roots, no matter how much more intelligent and skilled and capable we now are. I decided to make some long spears to represent the continuity of violence in our history.
This was to remind us that we may be 100 times smarter now but there is still the ever present threat of war.
Unfortunately it took me a lot longer than I had planned to chip the spear heads. And then I couldn’t get them sharp or smooth… nor could I figure out how they go on the wooden stick bit thing.
After 9 hours I gave up and left this pile of rough spear heads, unattached to any stick and quite disappointing. I call it ‘Look how far we have come’.
A man at the British Museum offered to teach me the methods our ancestors used to make them but he spoke so slowly that I’m ashamed to say I became frustrated and stabbed him with one of the spear heads. Luckily I hadn’t been able to sharpen it properly so it just bruised him slightly (and cut him significantly).
My difficulties with the project made me question history and the validity of every iron and bronze age finding because how would those men who look really ugly and stupid in the drawings have done it? And how did they cut their hair so nicely?