The Living Human Body As Art

Here on Earth there’s a sort of planetary economy that used to be based on work. Actual, physical work. You got on your knees and got your hands dirty and planted seeds and if you waited long enough, plants would grow. And if you waited for them to grow tall and proud, you could pick them, turn them into cloth, and weave them into a garment. Or if they were food, you could throw them into the back of a wagon, drive them to the village square and sell them for money.

And then radio came along, and then television. And people don’t want to turn on their set to listen to the rustle of grain or to see a loom clacking away, they want to see a face. They want to see people. In particular, beautiful people.

So began the living human body as art.

We began to dress and act as though we were in a movie or on TV, modeling ourselves after what we saw in the glowing glass, thinking it was a mirror. We thought we could imitate what we saw in the picture, unaware of what was going on just outside the edges of the screen: Massive lamps, heavy cameras, directors doing sign language, a hundred grips running with looped cords, and boom microphones were all posed just outside the line of sight.

We thought we could be like them.

Now people think their lives should run like a movie, that what they say should be gifable, and that the outfits they pick out should be worthy of history.

It takes a lot to make a movie; about one hour of work goes into one minute of film…and that’s for a small indie project. The question is, are you really willing to put that much work into your life? (Apart from the fact that that would be mathematically impossible.)

The living body as art is a decontextualization of life. The body you see on screen, wind-blown hair just so, outfit just so, quips and quotes just so, exists in a certain context. A context outside reality. Redefining beauty standards doesn’t mean you should be fat or just not take care of yourself. It means you should think about what a healthy, happy person looks like in the context of life. Dirty, everyday, mundane, natural life with nobody filming or feeding you lines.

Advertisements

A Different Key

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction, however at current it reflects my state in the world of publishing. Any guesses?

I come home, walk up my steps, and fish through my keychain cluttered with Volkswagen emblems and trinkets from St. Petersburg. Dónde está my house keys? Ah, here they are. Gold and greasy. Ew.

I jam it into the lock, and twist it. Maybe my roommate left some borscht out for me before he went on his night shift…? Probably not. But before I can be disappointed (duh, he never leaves out the leftovers from his nightly battlefield called dinner), I remember that we had our locks changed recently. Not only will the door not budge, but the key won’t turn. I am left with sore fingers (It’s cold out today, which doesn’t help!) and a greasy, golden, useless key.

…Oh wait, it may not be that useless! There’s another door!

Dragging my boots down the stairs again, I nod to a lady watering a flowerpot nearby, muttering a kindly “Здравствуйте.” She eyes me coldly and turns her shoulder. Eesh, what am I doing in this country? I try to speak their language, but they pretend they don’t understand.

The side door won’t budge either. I fiddle with my Samsung phone, quickly sending Sergey a text message asking desperately where he left the new keys. While I wait for a response, I look around at the other people sitting in their warm homes, enjoying some television or reading a good book. Some of them are fraternizing with friends, and family. I wish I had some company tonight…if I ever got into my house.

Beep beep! I slide open my phone.

UNDER THE WELCOME MAT, writes Sergey. How original!

The welcome mat is heavy, but the key is, sure enough, hiding underneath. It’s not as used as my greasy golden key. In fact, it’s brand new. Somebody had even taken the time to monogram it with an S. I think it stands for Seph. It could also stand for Sergey, which puts my ego in check…

Satisfied, I slide the new key into the lock…

Sushi Through the Years

This is Sushi. (Well Duh.)

I think y’all know what sushi is so I’ll spare you the lengthy description. Above me you will see an old picture…from the Edo Dynasty (1600-1800’s). And sushi’s still alive and kicking, hundreds of years later.

This world is all about change. And things change all the time. But there are some things, like yo-yo’s, butter, sherpas, and sushi, that extend their role in the play for all it’s worth.

Can you imagine centuries years in the future…will Television, Dorito’s, and Baseball still be around?

Writers: Will your books still be around, or just a fad “Kick?”

Artists: Will your art still be around? Or will it fade on the wall, and get relegated to yard-sale material?

Movie stars: Will your movies still be around? Or will they get stuck in the “DVD” era, and never move to (fill in the blank with whatever comes next, which might obsolete DVDs like what happened to those poor VHS’s)?

Will you be forgotten?

Just somethin’ to think about.

-j.p.