Archive for September, 2010
Ed Miliband has been chosen by the UK Labour Party over his older brother David Miliband to be the party’s new leader. After an embarrassing public rebuke over the Iraq War, David has also now quit frontline politics.
The nation has watched the perceived rivalry between the two men with keen interest.
The competition between these two brothers made me think about the most famous of all sibling rivalry, that of the bible’s Cain and Abel, and how it was an obvious allegory for the tale of the more most famous sibling rivalry, Mufasa and Scar, who I have sculpted here.
If only David Miliband could learn from Mufasa and Scar about not letting competition from your brother make you give up on your dreams.
Did Scar let Mufasa get in the way of his dreams to rule? No, he mobilised and achieved backing from the hyenas (who had quite poor representation in the Disney press) to help him take overand continue the patriarchal, colonial and autocratic system they had going at Pride Rock whilst also bringing some elements of a welfare state back into the mix.
Where is David’s plan? What are his politics concerning the Circle of Life and which animals he should eat versus which he should hire as trusted advisers? Who is Simba? What happened to JTT, the voice of Simba, once his voice broke? Is he in a union?
I don’t know the answer to any of these questions nor how to tell lions apart but I do know that the Labour Party is at a very important crossroads right now and could do with a motivational song from Elton John.
This weekend the Macondo BP oil well was pronounced ‘effectively dead’.
It’s final breath was extinguished by a smothering of concrete.
The well is now effectively dry.
I thought about how this empty, dead well could also be seen as a metaphor for creativity and inspiration in our lives.
If we are too demanding and careless with how often we tap this well, we can cause it to burst and give us a spill of too many ideas that are all useless and dirty (like that endless line of Carry On movies that were spewed out in the 60s and 70s where everything was just a cheap pun alluding to erections and sex and such. Disgusting!).
As I thought about this dead and sealed up well I realised I had no idea how to represent it in art. What was wrong? This had never happened to me before! I promise!
I had LITERALLY caught the ‘dried up well of inspiration’ art metaphor from thinking too HARD about it (without any protection) and it had infected my levels of inspiration.
I was, and currently still am, without any ideas or inspiration because the news became art and then infected my well (this is a common problem among artists that is not well known among you non-artists).
So until either BP opens the well again or I get some metaphorical metaphor-antidote medicine (sadly the chemist shut 20min ago) I can’t show you any sculpture about BP’s news.
Once I am cured I hope to see the inspiration burst forth again, which I have represented with this sculpture I call ‘Fountain of Ideas’.
PETA are mad at Lady Gaga and so am I!
To protest the discrimination in the US military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy on homosexuality, she wore a dress made of raw meat to the Video Music Awards.
Here is Cher giving Gaga her award in the meat dress.
Peta are obviously asking how she can justify wearing dead, nay (neigh), BUTCHERED animals on her body to defend civil rights!? Isn’t she being an Oxy Moron? And what about the cows’ rights? What if they were also gay and seeking a military career? Would she have felt she was fighting their cause correctly by murdering them then wearing them as a suit? And how would they hold the guns with hooves?
To demonstrate how her choice of outfit was morally wrong, no matter how just the cause, I have made this sculpture.
This replica cow represents the many innocent creatures that were murdered so that Lady Gaga could display their remains as ‘fashion’ on international television.
As you can see, the cow’s corpse has been strung up in an undignified pose, high in a tree, for the world to point and laugh at (or it has run up there to get away from Cher before she takes its skin for her ‘evening face’ collection).
However… in the name of truth in art, I should admit a sad note to this sculpture.
As I am not good at sculpting purely from my imagination and usually need a subject to work from… I did have to murder a cow and hoist it into a tree to get an idea of how to create this piece.
Well I say a cow, but it actually took about six or seven because the first few cows proved too heavy to hoist into the tree (turns out my dad has a weak back… or weak will). Also I had a problem with farmers spotting me in their field offing their cattle so had to do a runner several times before I was able to successfully drag my art/kill away.
But I think the message against animal cruelty remains adequately clear.
This week Leonardo Dicaprio finally got a restraining order on a woman who has been stalking him. She claimed to be his wife and pregnant with his love child ‘Jesus’.
At the same time today BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine spoke of a charity campaigner who allegedly stalked him for months. The woman even changed her surname to Vine and put a photoshopped picture of the pair of them together on her Myspace.
The real issue here is how obsessed our culture is with celebrity. As he lived in my city, I decided to talk to Jeremy Vine about whether he feels this would have happened to him if he wasn’t in the public eye.
Unfortunately he wouldn’t agree to an interview and after a while he began ignoring my emails and phone calls requesting said interview.
I waited outside his house for a few days in case his email and phones weren’t working but he never seemed to see me waving and running after him when he left the house. Bizarrely his doorbell was also faulty.
Eventually I decided if we weren’t going to be able to coordinate an interview then the closest I could get to learning how it feels to be in that celebrity world was to simply go through Jeremy Vine’s bin and maybe eat any of his food scraps or try on some of his clothes.
Unfortunately some policemen arrived (just as I was trying on what I assume was a pair of his ripped tights) and asked, in a not very friendly way, that I leave. The police are clearly not art lovers.
They made me go without taking any of the food scraps or clothes I had been collecting for my art. Hence I could only make this replica of the bin I was rooting through.
We now use it at my house and it actually is a really good replica. In fact he’d probably find it amusing how similar it is. I might email him about it.
Terry Jones, the pastor of the World Dove Outreach Centre, has attempted to emulate the peaceful nature of their bird namesake by threatening a good ol book burning of copies of the Quran.
It is terrible when a tiny, radical minority claims to represent the more caring and considerate majority from whom they are actually worlds apart .
I am talking of course, about idiots. There are so many idiots in the world who mind their own business or promote love and tolerance but sadly this one idiot has now managed to give ALL idiots a bad name.
When I heard the initial reports of his plans to burn copies of the Quran I thought, ‘Where’s the fire? This is just some stupid man with no followers who clearly doesn’t represent Americans or Christians and has just managed to time his threats poignantly enough to get far too much news coverage. If we pay any attention to him we’re just adding fuel to the fire in debate over the Ground Zero Mosque which frankly is already a hot enough topic’.
When I next heard that there were also plans by some Muslims to counter his Quran burning with their own American flag burning I thought, ‘Enough is enough. They are fanning the flames of misunderstanding and this kind of anger is going to spread like wild fire’.
I then thought, ‘what an articulate inner monologue I’m having today, usually it’s just a string of emotions and images of food I might like to eat that day’.
I soon decided it was time to fight fire with fire. Hence I went around looking for something I could burn to help the situation.
Unfortuantely I fell asleep during the movie Backdraft so my knowledge on the mechanics of fire are limited and hence I am unsure on ways to technically ‘fight fire with fire’. I think it may require summoning Captain Planet but I’m not into witchcraft.
I also didn’t want to inflame the situation myself, or get caught in the line of fire of more angry fundamentalists. ‘Why can’t we all just get on like a house on fire?’ I wondered.
Other thoughts that crossed my mind in this short period included the phrases ‘baptism of fire’, ‘ball of fire’, ‘light a fire under’, ‘miss fire’, ‘no smoke without fire’, out of the frying pan into the fire’, ‘trial by fire’, and how the show Grace Under Fire was really really shit.
So finally, in response to this man’s religious intolerance and the potential for the whole situation to go up in flames, I have made this sculpture of a fireman.
He is a metaphor for the need for someone or something to extinguish a very real and very dangerous threat. I am referring, of course, to my overuse of WORDPLAY concerning fire which has made me so excited there is now a fire in my pants.
NB: The fireman could also be sent to put out all the fires of misunderstanding and hatred and carry the screaming woman known as Social Harmony from the third storey bedroom window of Globalisation. But inappropriate fire puns are the more immediate issue here I believe.
Australia has a government once more and it is a minority Labor government formed after negotiations with one Greens MP and three Independent MPs.
To represent this through art I thought back to one aspect of Prime Minister Gillard that some people tried to make an issue of during the election, that is, her lack of children.
During the campaign Tony Abbott, her election rival, questioned Gillard’s ability to relate to the electorate because she is childless.
NB:: He said this in defence of his advice to his daughters that their viriginity was ‘the most precious gift you can give someone’. Abbott felt he was more able to relate to the electorate on the subject of hymens being the most precious and exciting thing about a prospective girlfriend/wife (above all that baloney like personality and love) because he was both a parent and in possession of a hymen I assume.
Anyway, it’s a very convincing argument from Abbott except for only ONE key point… Julia Gillard IS a mother now. She is the mother of a new parliament and a new era in Australian politics.
And as she tries to negotiate every single bill through a minority government she is going to be the most stressed and depressing mother you ever met. Not to mention the fact that Julia is also a single mum. She has some baby sitters and Treasurers to help out but ultimately the responsibility falls to her.
This is a sculpture of her holding the Parliament, which is her baby now, in her arms.
Meanwhile the weak, upset and confused newborn baby is making her tired. The demands of looking after the baby will make it hard for Julia to work full time at her job (looking after the parliament) and hence this job will inevitably suffer as she tries to juggle her baby/looking after the parliament with work/looking after the parliament.
In the end she may find that despite her desire to ‘have it all’ she will one day have to choose between being a mother to the new government and being a mother to the new government.
I hope she chooses wisely.
Also the new parliament will probably soil itself a lot in the first six months. And I bet old hypocrite Julia will one day advise it to guard its hymen big time!
Debate continues to rage over the guilt, not-guilt or unguilt of three Pakistani cricketers, accused of involvement in an alleged betting scam.
Cricket has always been viewed as a gentleman’s game (because gentlemen are great at sledging/your mama insults). If these allegations turn out to be true then it is a sad, sad day for the sport.
I made an artwork to represent this. I arranged for these two performance artists to dress as knights and do battle against one another.
They were a clear metaphor for the battle these cricketers had fought between their personal integrity and their greed.
In this artwork the knight representing Greed beats the knight representing Integrity and honour to within an inch of his life, to show the moral consequences of corruption in sport.
Unfortunately, as the crowds to the art exhibition became more and more excited by each performance, the performance artists began enjoying the attention too much. The Integrity knight decided he much preferred it when he was winning and had the crowd cheering him on. He began to fight back, against the script of the piece, and beat the Greed knight each time.
Eventually, to keep the intended meaning of the piece, I had to pay the Integrity knight double the original agreed fee to get him to promise to lose. This fee was demanded for each performance and I was soon in severe financial difficulty.
Luckily for me, I discovered that many people in the crowd had begun betting on the outcome of the artwork/fight. I made a small but unlikely bet that the knight representing Personal Gain would shout a swearword beginning with ‘c’ in the third round and paid the Personal Gain knight to do this (we went with ‘crumbs’).
This was unlikely to affect the overall outcome of the fight and earned myself enough money to continue paying the knight representing Honour to lose. So the overall meaning of the importance of integrity in sport was maintained. WIN!