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Picturing a World

Embodied reality

In some ways, doesn't surrealism seem the most valid artistic response to the world we find ourselves in today? Hence Leonora Carrington's Bird Pong. And since we've all been sharing inspirational links, here's one more: Students of the Boston Conservatory in a display of musical and technological mastery as they perform Burt Bacharach's What the World Needs Now. But confinement at home need not restrict us to the virtual reality of the internet (and I do recognize the irony of saying so in a blog.) I came up with Bird Pong as a corollary to this post when I was thinking about a simple table-top exercise. It was devised by garden designer Walter Beck.

Take three small objects, say a bottle cap, a paper clip, and an eraser. Place them on a surface, such as a book laid on its side. Move them around. Observe how the lines of tension between them vary depending on the angles at which they are set. Find the most harmonious, the most unsettling, the one that seems wrong somehow, the most pleasing. Observe whether new arrangements feel different later. Let others in your household give it a try. Use different objects, maybe larger ones. The idea is to become very aware of physical objects and the forces we sense between them. As in miniature here, so with everything everywhere.

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