Friday, 26 April 2013

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit...

When my friends had their first baby 9 years ago I gave them a large print of two rabbits on a dry stone wall in a faux rococo frame. They have had a second child since and she now lies in the cot facing the giant bunnies just as her sibling had done. Her brother has begun a new journey away from the rabbits, in his own room, where he now thinks he makes choices about what is displayed.

Unquestionably this will have been one of their very first visual memories and my interest then and now is its effect on them as they grow up but equally how it might be imbued with their emotional development.

We have an inextricable link to the tangible; whilst technology races ahead we are evolving much slower and it seems that to hold something in our hands has a greater significance, especially and ironically for a new generation brought up only knowing a dominant digital world.

I bought Sage Charles, a 21 year old libertine and great writer, a '60's Olivetti typewriter. We were fascinated by the ability to express our feelings onto paper through the visualisation of the weight applied to the keys. It is only now that the almost spiritual subtleties of typewriter expression and handwriting can be celebrated relative to the glorious but (for the purposes of this chain of thought) cerebral nature of the computer world.

Section typed on Olivetti typewriter from 'The Day of Tomorrow' © Sage Charles

When I first attempted to make contact with my biological mother, I was introduced to an original file from when I was handed to the adoption agency as a baby. As the adult me, I was initially unmoved as I sat in the counselling room next to a half dead pot plant and a box of tissues. It was only at the point where I was introduced to a section written in my mother's hand that I was overwhelmed. In that moment, I was in the presence of her physical act 40 years previously, it was not the content or narrative meaning that resonated but her presence there in that moment.

Nostalgia is not purely the simplistic notion of harping back to a better time; it is to imbue an object, person or even one's entire present with emotional memory. If this is accepted then we cannot assume a universality of response or trust our own consciousness. I have experienced an audience reaction to a single piece of work ranging from weeping, a form of religious ecstasy to utter indifference. Perhaps the bunnies in my friends' house have stopped 'being' bunnies and have become purely the colors and shapes of a sort of emotional catalyst. Therefore I accept my fate and live with confusion and ambivalence; can we all agree on that? "To know that you do not know is the best." ~ Lao Tsu

Bunnies on a Wall (from series) © Richard Ansett 1999

No comments:

Post a Comment