1st August 2010
Becky the art public house art history philosopher, Ben the leaf technician and Al the poet’s poem.
Henrik: Hey, so it’s going to be audio.
Henrik: Ummm…. Its first of August, I just realized.
Henrik: Yeah well done, congratulations.
Becky: Well I call that [something indiscernible] it is the first of August.
Henrik: And you are?
Becky: Becks Bennett.
Henrik: Becks Bennett… Becks Bennett good old Becks Bennett.
Becky: That is so cheesy, I’m going to switch on interview mode.
Henrik: Cheesy… Yeah no… What’s that… something eating me, um… where is it, where are we? We’re in..?
Becky: We are in Devon in Sidmouth.
Henrik: And you accused me of being, this whole thing was a fine art project.
Becky: Accused you… (laughing), OK… You obviously have an extremely orientated victim mentality.
Henrik: Oh yeah, yeah its all about the pain yeah… no but I thought what you said was interesting yeah, your idea of, you know what was it you were saying about fine artists, you know the pyramid or the triangle.
Becky: I think that to have difficult ideas and complicated ideas not necessarily complicated ideas but… both that mirror society and don’t know that they are doing it, and… kind of what fine art seems to end up doing even sitting up the aim of the artist at the top, what they are thinking about or what they are wrestling with and what they playing with tends to trickle down though different medias to the masses eventually, and if you, certainly art history seems… to reflect that .
Henrik: Oh yeah, it does?
Becky: I think so, the small bit that I’ve seen seems to kind of do that.
Henrik: Okay so.
Becky: So like Monet and those guys, they were, they were all about this is what we see, the visual that there isn’t anything beyond that, it’s just stimulus and there is no God,
Becky: Which was very radical, and some of them may not have known that was what they were doing but it became that kind of influential change of eventually it influenced the thinkers of those days were thinking around, is there God or is this just it, just what our senses are picking up. It became very prevalent and influential.
Henrik: So in general what was it you were saying something about artists and change or I don’t know what was it? It was something which I cant remember what it was… but you…
Becky: I would like to hope and think that he people that are pushing the boundaries of thinking and wrestling with ideas and philosophy and why we are here and what this life is about and the important things, influence society… but I think they struggled to influence society because I think there are lot of other very loud voices that try and get in the way of that.
Henrik: What can we do?
Becky: I think what we can do is to follow that very deep instinct and intuition and be true to that and try not to be constrained by what we think people might want to do and do it and I think in doing that if we do it with integrity we will have influence and will change society has a possibility to change society and to change things that aren’t great.
Henrik: Did you talk about the pyramid thing?
Henrik: You already did?
Henrik: Could you sort of expand on it? I mean you said… what is this pyramid?
Becky: I just think its essentially quite a _____ (indiscernible) the pyramid thing is quite a _____ (indiscernible) to do with education it’s to do with how much you know and being bothered to think and being bothered to learn and to find out things.
Henrik: Or having a time.
Becky: Yeah that’s true it’s a privileged position definitely and then out of that can come not always, can come stuff that could change and influence society for better or for worse actually.
Henrik: Okay, so you have, I mean you basically one of the thing that they say is the sign of a wealthy society is a, basically the number of art schools it has.
Becky: Okay I didn’t know that.
Henrik: Because you know you basically I don’t know if that can be true actually I don’t know about Saudi Arabia whether they turn out fine art students, I probably doubt it actually, you don’t know?
Becky: Oh yeah, I don’t know, I think it possibly has to do with a lot, it stiffles a lot because its something that is not meant to be, but whether you use that as a measure.
Becky: yeah, can stifle a lot of things but if you are having to work 12 hours aday…
Henrik: What I am saying is its excess.
Becky: You’re saying art is an excess?
Henrik: Well I’m not, I am saying that its one of the first things to go isn’t it? If, when a government starts to tighten up its purse strings.
Becky: Oh yeah but then if you look at societies and cultures where they were imbalanced like the Maori and that kind of society art was very importance and very prevalent when things were imbalanced so just because art goes when there is a money crisis, I don’t know how much that says I don’t know what that says.
Henrik: You think that’s more about, just what how believe? I suppose it is really, what you prioritize.
Becky: Yeah I guess so… and also an artist have a way of, a way of, umm… if something’s difficult then often you come up… you become more creative so I think sometimes it’s a good thing.
Henrik: Not to have as much.
Becky: Not to have as much because it focuses… and it does… it can get rid of some of the dross because it’s not all good.
Henrik: No, but then again what they are talking about, I was listening to the radio today about commercial theatre, you know, you know.
Becky: I don’t really know much about theatre at all actually and I know…
Henrik: But basically it’s a similar thing I suppose it becomes cooperation’s and business that have to fund theatre they are not going to become tamer and sort of… basically safer and more conformist.
Becky: Yeah, I think that’s probably true, I think they are probably some purging that goes on in times that are hard because it needs to be more relevant or more insightful than just trying to capture Saatchi’s attention.
Henrik: Yeah, yeah. Yeah I mean… what else is on this pyramid?
Becky: Ummm. I don’t know, I don’t really… my kind of theory is, at the top is artists and thinkers and philosophers and stuff that is less mass market and then those influences and ideas filter down to the design markets and you it’s not, it’s quite, its quite an old school way of thinking its not rocket science its been around a long time and then that in turn influence the mass market the mass you know mass media.
Henrik: But is it that Greek model?
Becky: No I haven’t heard about the Greek model.
Henrik: Okay thinking something to do with, you know it talks about the workers, the manual laborers and then you have… to be honest I cant remember as well its like one of the…
(I was talking about the 3 tiers of society)
Becky: So the people of the club the intelligentsia or whatever you want to call them the elite then influence the workers, the kind of the people on the bottom on the factory floor.
Henrik: And they felt like it was a completely natural order but not everyone is capable or is made for one or the other… and obviously that then could create situations where you know people are trapped, you know like there is a car system and…
Becky: I think an interesting thing because when I get down to the nitty gritty is that significance of what we are here for where we derive our significance from and because we take value systems on that the philosopher is greater than the factory worker so therefore that person has more significance which is slightly a different issue… one’s about influence and one without whether that structure is right or wrong and should be.
Henrik: Did you think that is the case… the philosopher is…?
Becky: I think our societies valued that, I’m talking from societies point of view am not talking from my point of view.
Henrik: The society that we have got now, this capitalist society is it the philosopher or is it the, whoever has got the most money?
Becky: Ahhhh. I think now its moving towards whoever has got the most money, I think that’s probably coming into play but I don’t know, its hard to tell, I think the idea are still very influential but then so is money and power.
(people cheering from the wedding marquee nearby)
Becky: I once had to be in front of the camera and then edit it.
Henrik: I know.
Becky: It’s horrible.
Henrik: Good shot of you though… So what’s the conclusion?
Becky: About, significance?
Henrik: Well the significance, the pyramids the fine artists.
Becky: I think the pyramids exists whether it is right in its existence or whether I think possibly it did exist I don’t know quite where it stands now, I think in terms of significance I think that’s something very different… and I think it gets into the realm personally of, is there a God, and is that where our significance comes from rather than a worldly value system of a plumber is better than a, someone who owns a cooperation and how we value human being from what, by what they do rather than who they are and where that significance comes from. I think that would be my conclusion.
Henrik: But do you know from me though and I thought that this is what you were implying about yourself in a way because you are kind of an artist, are you an artist of some sort?
Henrik: Because it seems to me that you were implying that, although I don’t buy into the whole, triangular sort of pyramid, one person being more valued or whatever. Its nice to, you know you were suggesting that… so artists for me, it seems that artists they are always just like, most of the ones that I know anyway. Artists and writers or whatever they are kind of struggling to make some dream happen, and they are have to work rubbish jobs… and that you are suggesting that, actually kind of er… you know they are the top of the pyramid.
Becky: No I don’t think I am suggesting that is the top of the pyramid, I think the people who make it are the ones who are influential, whether they are a philosopher or an artists.
Henrik: I mean in a philosophical way, even not in reality you are not actually.
Becky: If they make it and they influential then they are influential.
Henrik: But is it about making it, I am talking… I’m wondering if… I thought what you meant was it’s like about the… do you know we are missing, probably missing speeches aren’t we?
Becky: Could be, and pudding.
Henrik: You are being very patient.
Henrik: I am just trying to get to the bottom of this that’s the thing, what we can do is that we can…
Becky: I think I believe that there is influence to be heard in art and pursuing it, even if you don’t ‘make it’ there is influence to be done much like somebody you can have somebody who hits on an idea for already helping the poor on a quiet a big scale and you can have somebody who works on council estate who helps a few families and works with a few family and changes their life in a radical way and you know just because of numbers doesn’t denounce the value or the influence that they have had.
Becky: Equally powerful or can be, it depends on what you’re saying because art is different, you could be saying something that is incredibly destructive or selfish or narcissistic or that isn’t… but that could influence a society. They are invalid, but those things that aren’t helpful can also influence society gratefully, greatly like individuality and narcissism, you know there are plenty of artists out there doing it and therefore influencing society to it’s detriment. So it’s a powerful thing how you use it.
Henrik: Because when you said, what I was doing this fine art and asked you… so is there… I cant remember exactly but it made me think you know it was something about instruments of change or something, so then I thought well was Martin Luther King a fine artist for example.
Becky: (laughing) No.
Henrik: But where did the line go because that was the question, you know with this project…?
Becky: I think within it we were talking about the visual arts and…
Henrik: But with this project you know I said it could be a diary.
Becky: It could be a diary yeah, but I said that it was to do with the motivation behind it that makes it a fine art so if it was just a diary.
Henrik: But my motivation could be one like Martin Luther King’s, you know or Hitler’s.
Becky: Yeah and it still could be, well yeah…
Henrik: See what I mean but am just doing it taking pictures.
Becky: Okay there are this two things there is art am going to make art because its pretty and I got no other agenda than that, or I can make art because I have an idea and a philosophy and something that I want to influence people by, I want to communicate because that will be my definition of fine art and art.
Henrik: Okay so you have to make, it is about the making of something, because when Martin Luther King would have written a speech that was creatively a penned speech that had a message.
Becky: I guess I am talking about because then you can broaden out to that extent where you know you cook a meal and you can call that art because you created it. So I guess at some point you have the employ, some kind of parameters and measuring system that are kind of like I am talking about the visual arts broadly. So film painting, sculpture…
Henrik: If I take all the pictures out it won’t be fine art.
Becky: That’s an interesting one, it depends I guess how you have explained it or showed it in a book, is the book fine art, probably not because its not visual but then if you put it into a gallery on a plinth maybe it was because then you are saying then you get into whole realm of what the gallery does…
Henrik: Yeah I mean this might be a little kind of A level kind of, what is fine art discussion but when you said that’s what it was, I mean I am happy for it to be that but I don’t think that’s all it is, or its one element of it and I wouldn’t want it to be in a way I wouldn’t want it to be labeled just as that.
Becky: I think fine art is exciting isn’t it? Because it means that you have got ideas and concepts that you are trying to communicate.
Henrik: Well I am just having conversation with people in trees.
Becky: Yes, yeah you are and I guess then you have to make your mind up why you are doing that and whether it’s about wanting to influence society and whether its visual.
Henrik: Like Martin Luther King.
Becky: Otherwise you wouldn’t take photos I don’t know.
Henrik: That’s cool, thank you, thank you, I just want to get a couple of more pictures.
Ben (the technician)
Henrik: So what was your name again?
Henrik: Ben the technician.
Ben: You can call me whatever you like.
Henrik: Tell me that story again if you would?
Ben: When I was on holiday we saw a kid crying his eyes out because he didn’t have the balloon and the girl did and I understood his pain because I got very attached to a leaf when I was on holiday when I was about five and the leaf was my best friend without a doubt and it’s a beautiful leaf really waxy one you know that didn’t discolor or age at all and one day this little Spanish kid who was, I think were in a restaurant he just came over and just ripped my leaf into pieces, hundreds of pieces and I was distraught, just completely, I think I’d ever felt pain like that and I cried, and cried, and cried my our out and I was completely inconsolable and nothing my parents said or did could, could do anything to please me because I was just I was just completely shocked and I thought, I just felt an immense loss over this bloody leaf and I remember the leaf to this day actually.
Henrik: Do you remember what sort of leaf it was?
Ben: It was very large it was about a foot and half long…
Henrik: It was big…
Ben: Yeah it was massive… and it was very dark and it was very glossy and waxy and it had twenty little veins running though it, you wouldn’t think I would remember that I do?
Henrik: And did you pick it up in Spain?
Ben: Yeah, yeah when we were on holiday, I found it somewhere.
Henrik: For how long did you have it for?
Ben: I probably carried it around all week.
Henrik: Right, right. And you have no idea why this kid did that?
Ben: He obviously saw my joy, saw my love my love for the leaf and basically wanted to ruin it, that kind of kid… crazy. But yeah my parents basically go this, dad went out desperate and sometime later that evening reappeared with a palm frond, the kind of thing you know that your parents would say to a five year old you know, don’t touch. It was covered in thorns, it was massive, and really sharp fronds at the ends of it and…
Ben: Yeah for the rest of the holiday, I carried this round like, four or five foot palm frond everywhere we went.
Ben: Yeah and they knew better than to like disagree with me that it was a good idea.
Henrik: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Did you um, did you um, you got pictures of it?
Henrik: Of the leaf as well?
Ben: No not the leaf. I just remember the leaf.
Henrik: It’s a cool story. I remember crying over a, some sort of beetle, that was like suffering along in the, in the sand. Like, I had no idea I just found this beetle that was like really struggling and it had like, legs missing and it was obviously dying you know, just crying my eyes out over it.
Henrik: No I probably about five as well, but um…
Ben: Little things matter when you’re little don’t they?
Henrik: So um do you have an affinity with trees then?
Ben: I respect them.
Henrik: You said you climbed one the other week?
Ben: It was er, I was just at a festival… it’s a really a nice thing to do because they are quiet, its quiet a simple pleasure…. and I felt quiet good because no one else I climbing trees and we were…
Ben: But when I lived in Southampton I used to go to this one beach and there was a tree there but it was really cool because it was a short bank that over looked a… 20 foot of shale and the branches would go horizontal all the way to the sea, erm, and I had one tree that I would always climb if I ever felt particularly down or frustrated I would just go to the tree and sit in it for a couple of hours and it…
Henrik: Oh really?
Ben: Yeah its pretty simple pleasure really, um, but I guess primal, we are monkeys aren’t we?
Ben: Sit in a tree high up an’ you don’t feel so bad unless you’ve got vertigo.
Henrik: Yeah, so do you think this um, your leaf story…
Henrik: …Did that continue or, or did you?
Ben: I don’t think if I have ever been attached to anything with the same amount of love since…
Ben: I think it taught me that lesson that nothing is forever no matter how much you love it.
Henrik: So you didn’t like come home and collect leaves then?
Ben: No I think I was don’t with completely obsessing over one thing, but yeah… someone else would just tare it into 120 pieces.
Henrik: Ooooh. Cool… well I am not sure whether I have to go, go along with that.
Henrik: As a philosophy.
Ben: I agree with it whole heartedly.
Henrik: Yeah… So don’t cling on to things to, don’t hold them too tightly.
Henrik: But how do you then, like if for example with the world and you know people destroying the world, I mean I think we should perhaps hold things loosely, like but to what point do you fight for things and how to what point do you let go?
Ben: Quiet different really isn’t it? I’m talking about material possessions. At the end of the day they are relatively unimportant, where as the place that we inhabit pretty important really and it’s much bigger.
Henrik: Okay so you are equating that to material possessions?
Ben: Yeah totally, yeah, yeah, yeah.
(‘three is the magic number’ by ‘De La Soul’ plays in the back ground from the marquee)
Ben: …Very important things like that.
Henrik: Yeah, no, I think its interesting I mean I suppose because the leaf is symbolic of… you know… maybe I am being am reading into it, I probably am in fact because you were five years old, but you know the least symbolic of I guess… or it’s attached to the tree and the tree is a symbol of, you know sustainability and life, and so some kid walks up and kind of destroys that, its taking a leap too far isn’t it really?
Ben: I wonder what he went to become, I wonder you sorted it all out or whether he is now some kind of cruel boss in a factory, who just beats is workers into the factory and beats them back out.
Henrik: He probably remembers it, he probably still thinks, I wish I hadn’t done that, you know, probably the one thing that’s his biggest regret. It’s probably the thing that turns him around… either that or he got a taste for it. Cool yeah, that’s great, thanks mate.
Ben: No worry.
Al the poet
…the cardiac attests
to the tesselating nature of the puzzle nestled in your chest
which is not a problem but a toy
every girl or boy
born with an infinity-piece set
ready to intertwine
well that’s the key that opens that which interlocks
interdigitating interlacing moments of experiential integration
puzzle-pieces get everywhere
that big four dimensional
because there’s fun to be had in the guessing of what’s made
of more than the sum of the tiny parts
but knowing you won’t know the whole of it
due to the segments you’ve given away of your heart
that now make up somebody’s else arrangement
to consciously live as an ongoing collage
the swapping and changing of fleeting identity
is in of itself a work of art
so you’ve got spaces
full to bursting with emptiness
room for human engagements
is the negation of dynamic
and i don’t believe in perfect
want to exist in continuous
ranging collection of morsels
completion is used up and worked out
- let’s be unfinished not over and done with
so flow like an octopus
with the stone of the philosophers
snuggled under your lungs
transmuting base to golden consciousness
tried by fire
the reconsciling of opposites
the genie in the bottled relationship
heart-stringed orchestras will echo through your atria
make donation of your unused shards to strangers
in the name of paper-chain golems
with love under their tongues
and the scissors that shaped them
holding open arms