So, I’ve gone from potential dance hall triumphs to throwing dad-dance shapes in the river – floating on my back helplessly downstream. On my back, looking up. I’m looking at the sky. I’m looking at air. I’m in the air, aren’t I? Air. That monad? Like light (Turner) and language (insert name of favourite poet here) air is surely a monad [draws target on soul and awaits consequences]. It’s a binder that resists us. A binder that resists. A tautological binder.
I’m looking for something that isn’t socially formatted but somehow overrides the culture/nature binary. Yet I use those cultural precepts. I’m an artist after all. Landscape is the method – look (and it was traditionally only looking that was ‘allowed’) at a view and then core sample it. That’s it, there, right where you are looking: with the cattle neatly arranged in the foreground, a ruined castle on the bluff just off-centre, a beautifully arching tree-frame, a backdrop of wild mountains and an appealing glow of sunlight to draw in the viewer. [That’s interesting. Who is the viewer? The painter of views or the one that views them?]. Clunk. Ouch. Heavy, cracked varnish. I can’t get to that art light, but there is something all around me that does perhaps bind me to it.
Landscape is of course a sociocultural figment. There is no landscape in nature. Indeed, nature knows nothing of Nature. It’s about framing. A big FO gilt frame that keeps us out of nature and nature out of us. Never the twain shall meet. But art is what I ‘know’ and landscape too. But every time I think I have a lead to follow I’m boffed by terms and movements with more than their fair share of baggage. Bags full of exotic stuff, wild and wonderful fruit. Fruit that are beginning to go off and I will never taste. Never wanted to taste anyway. So there. What is it with all this factionaISM?
Surely nobody can own the air though? Step, step, step, slide. Boff.
[Oh, and I’ve been flicking through the pages of Nietzsche’s notebooks too:
When one speaks of humanity, the idea is fundamental that this is something that separates and distinguishes man from nature. In reality, however, there is no such separation: “natural” qualities and those called properly “human” are indivisibly grown together. Man, in his highest and most noble capacities, is wholly nature and embodies its uncanny dual character. Those of which his abilities which are awesome and considered inhuman are perhaps the fertile soil out of which alone all … humanity can grow.
Nietszche, Friedrich. Homer’s Contest. 1873.
Whatever that means.]