Have decided that this project should (for now at least) become my ‘on going of all things’ posting. In reality the piece is actually about just that, and as I have thus far not managed to put anything tangible together for version 2 of ‘When was NOW’…this can be its presence in reality for the foreseeable future.
SO…quick recap on previous posting re list of random inventions:
11. Audio plates. Listen to the sound of the animal you might have been eating. Particularly good for vegetarians seeking an extra edge to their Quorn consumption experience
Cross trainer trundling on Saturday morning, I was watching a prog on the gym tele that I probably wouldn’t otherwise see called ‘Click’ . The prog reviews all the latest goings on in the digital world of cool inventions, gaming and future shock type issues. There was a piece about digi micro projectors that can project at extreme angles, thereby making them more useable in small spaces. They filmed some event where people were sat around a dining table enjoying a virtual meal which in reality was the sum total of various projections, with not a real carrot or sprout in evidence. I’m a bit sketchy on what the point of this was but it struck me that it fell squarely into the territory of my Audio Plate invention. I am not alone in my pursuit of flippancy in this serious world I thought.
I headed with this observation because I want to make a more serious one – one that is becoming the theme of When was NOW overall – and often crops up in my work, namely, the increasing polarisation of life. Day to day detail butting up against inevitable global awareness. The trivial against the depressingly profound.
A case in point… I returned from Tunisia a few days ago – the scene of initial unrest ( i.e. street rioting) that fuelled the so called ‘Arab spring’ and which has now continued in exponential complexity across such wide swathes of the middle east and beyond. (In 2012 thousands of Salafi Islamists rioted in Tunis provoked by an art show, one of whose artworks spelt out the name of ‘God’ using insects. I really don’t know what the work was about, and I wonder if the rioters did either, but one cannot help but be both impressed and appalled at the interest an artwork can generate when plugged into a higher voltage issue).
That aside – we went to Tunisia on holiday. The weather was lovely, the people friendly, the punters multi-ethnic and from a very wide catchment area that included France, Russia, Algeria, Scandinavia and Japan…oh and Wales. We lived pretty much in a bubble of tourism, tho we did venture out just a little to the local town of Sousse which is not exactly ‘pretty’ despite its claustrophobic Medina. We donned appropriate garb to visit the local mosque – but in reality had no meaningful contact with the locals. In one sense we could have been on a virtual reality set. There was a little non virtual background spookiness that we unconsciously tuned out most of the time, and of course you are not encouraged to journey into certain areas of the country if you value your life on this earth, but all in all I am not significantly wiser about the place.
Then again we were on holiday; a sun and sea holiday. We weren’t wanting to look too closely. If you gazed out to sea, towards the beautiful blue horizon, on any day you could see pirate ships. Not the Somalian ones that might immediately spring to mind from frequent media mentions, but fake Pirates of the Caribbean type ones for tourists. Whole armadas of the buggers. A fitting visual example of the polarity of representation in a single object I thought.
Troubles in neighbouring Libya are also bearing down on the Tunisian economy. Our coach driver actually thanked us happy returning holiday makers for supporting Tunisia ‘at this time’. We brought our culture with us and we returned with it and to it.
Once home more issues. If Syria and Iraq et al are on one side of the colour wheel then we are, in my opinion, privileged to be on the other. A week full of apples fallen from the tree in our garden. Such a waste but we never get round to doing anything with them. How prosaic. How very English. In the kitchen a recent envelope asking for donations to some relief agency whilst outside my window rotting fruit, naggingly pricks my conscience. My audio plate (if I had built it rather than just invented its notion) might make some cutting remark about squandering resources.
“Eat up boy – there’s starving children in Africa who don’t have that food.” The cheeky boy inside me wants to say “but sir, we need to work out the means of equal distribution rather than proposing stop gap solutions based on guilt.”