New work: Alice and The Really Real
It's hard not to think about how much time I spend on the computer or my phone, tracking down things that we want or need or trying to answer questions or just checking in socially to see what people are up to. All of those hours can't ever be gotten back. Frankly, it depresses me. On the other hand, it also prompts some thinking and apparently, some art making.
On my walk last week, I thought about the Internet and how much of a "rabbit hole" it is. A person could certainly fall into this hole and not know up from down, wrong from right or reality from fantasy. The situation today reminds me of the novel, Alice in Wonderland. Poor Alice! She starts out as a logical young girl but gets drawn into a complete farce of an adventure. Things are the opposite of how they should be and things happen that shouldn't happen. Anyone else out there feel like Alice at times? I certainly do.
It seems to me that there is a parallel between this whimsical and satirical novel and our current obsession with The Internet. Technology has changed our lives in so many ways. It feels like the world is topsy turvy at times. Our ability to discern the difference between reality and fantasy is fading quickly. Much as Alice does in the novel, we have come to accept the hyperbolic, the ludicrous and the ridiculous as perfectly OK. Outlandish behavior and talk seems to be the new normal. Where will it end I wonder?
For the above piece, I knew I wanted to use some particular imagery that represented things from today and things from the Alice novel. I started with the idea of how we get our information. The computer monitor/television set with rabbit ears and antenna are representative of new and old technology. The clocks (in graduating sizes) both represent how we spend our time but also make reference to the novel where Alice continually grows and shrinks. Additionally, the novel was written in 1865 and so I used the time for each clock to show that. The green "rabbit hole" on the left side, the water at the bottom (Alice cries so much that she swims around in her own tears), the Cheshire cat, and the flowers are all images from the novel. (I refrained from putting faces on those flowers!) They all represent the absurd that is taken as the normal.
The most difficult portion for me was the "two Alice" image. I am very self conscious about adding figures yet I really want to do this. So, I tried and am happy with the results. Alice's experience is so disjointed. I felt that having Alice in different parts (her skirt, her profile and her neck/torso as the monitor stand) would at least convey the idea of her strange experience. For me, our experience on the Internet is similar. I have one life on the computer and another life with Rich and still another life outside of all that when I leave the house. Sometimes it feels chopped up. It doesn't matter though because at the end of the day, we must face ourselves (like Alice facing herself in the above piece) and decide what is "really real."
It's always tough when an artist has an idea in mind. Did they get the point across effectively? Honestly, I am not sure it really matters for me. For me, images are personal and specific. Will this piece be understood differently by different people? Certainly. Perhaps even misunderstood. That's OK. Right now, it just matters that I followed through on my thoughts and made some art to reflect that.
I didn't mention everything about the piece so if anyone reading sees something or wants to chat just send me an email. I hope the piece (and the post) spark some ideas!
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