Friday, October 7, 2011

Keepers of possibility

Well, the one thing we all know is this: just because WE go away, doesn't mean our TO-DO list goes away.  So after a restful alone time I am back in the thick of things; prepping for exhibits-to-come and working on a number of projects for my husband. 

Meditation time this morning -- already delayed because he awoke when I did, and we had a lot of catching up to do related to these projects -- was twice interrupted after he left, so I decided it just wasn't going to happen today, although I did at least get to finish the Henri Nouwen book I've been reading, Befriending Life.

So then when I sat down to blog, the images that arose all had this rushing quality -- lots of lights disappearing into the distance, things flashing by, disappearing perspectives...  I finally settled on this one, which, though it has similar qualities, is at least about fields instead of traffic.

What's throwing me off a bit, I think, is that with this new technique the original image doesn't actually need to be in focus any more.  Which means I can't do the automatic discard of un-focused images I used to do: if I'm trying to cull through a set of new images, I have to be aware that (thanks to the wizardry of Photoshop) weak compositions can be strengthened, low contrast can be heightened, dull colors can be sharpened, sloping horizons can be straightened, and now even focus can be repaired.  So all these decisions have become much harder to make, and require a certain amount of experimentation to investigate.

It's a bit like the difference between the harsh fundamentalism of my youth and the broad ecumenism I now espouse, or like the development of compassion and tolerance: it's no longer clear what has the potential for value -- everything has possibilities.  But that's so time-consuming, to pay that kind of attention to what's going on around us -- especially when there's so much information out there. Which, I suspect, is why corporations let computers do the initial culling-through and rejecting of resumes: every employee has potential, but there are so many applicants that it's just too much trouble to take the time to explore the possibilities, so they automatically drop them from the pile of possibles if the experience isn't an exact match, or the age is too young, or too old.

Maybe (she said, upon hearing that yet another organization was curtailing its art/communications budget) that's the function of art and artists: perhaps we artists exist to bring awareness to the forgotten, the ordinary, the less-than-perfect aspects of existence; to remind people of all the other possibilities in the world.  And if we are disappearing from the corporate or community landscape, what else, what other potential is being lost?

1 comment:

Caris said...

Yes, art is always a reminder about the beauty found in the ordinary. Have you ever seen the play "Emma's Child?" It's so powerful and a reminder that we're here to discover the beauty and wonder in people, places, situations the world deems "ugly" and unacceptable.

I too come from a "fundamentalist" kind of background, and have moved far from that, finding God in the most unexpected places. Thanks for this.