“The Fat Monkey is a site specific work which was created out of the question from the Pixelshow to make a sculpture during their conference in 2010. Made with the help of local students and made from the brazilian icon; the flip flop which obviously works as one of the 10.000 pixels. The fat monkey is a work in the series Obeastitas.
I shall always be able to stand on my own two feet even when they are planted on the hardest soil of the harshest reality. And my acceptance is not indifference or helplessness. I feel deep moral indignation at a regime that treats human being in such a way. but events have become too overwhelming and too demonic to be stemmed with personal resentment and bitterness. These responses strike me as being utterly childish and unequal to the fateful course of events.
[I]t doesn’t really matter whether I go or somebody else does, the main thing is that so many thousands have to go. It is not as if I want to fall into the arms of destruction with a resigned smile-far from it. I am only bowing to the inevitable, and even as I do so I am sustained by the certain knowledge that ultimately they cannot rob us of anything that matters. But I don’t think I would feel happy if I were exempted from what so many others have to suffer. They keep telling me that someone like me has a duty to go into hiding, because I have so many things to do in life, so much to give. But I know that whatever I may have to give to others, I can give it no matter where I am, here in the circle of my friends or over there, in a concentration camp. And it is sheer arrogance to think oneself too good to share the fate of the masses.
And if God himself should feel that I still have a great deal to do, well then, I shall do it after I have suffered what all the others have to suffer. And whether or not I am a valuable human being will only become clear from my behavior in more arduous circumstances. And if I should not survive, how I die will show me who I really am.
"Receptivity is the first requisite of the disciple, and of anyone who wants to learn anything. We can be anything else we like: we can be wicked, we can be stupid, we can be full of faults, we can backslide. In a sense, it doesn’t matter. But we must be spiritually receptive; we have to be willing and ready to learn. When we know that we do not know, everything is possible."
"The self is relatedness. Only when the self mirrors itself in so many mirrors does it really exist. You can never come to your self by building a meditation hut on top of Mount Everest; you will only be visited by your own ghosts and that is not individuation. Not that you are, but that you do is the self. The self appears in your deeds, and deeds always mean relationships."
- CG Jung, Nietzsche seminar, January 29, 1936, p. 795
"Fundamentalism is the sin of literalism. It is blasphemous because it seeks to limit the autonomy of divine energy to what can be known and contained. This may lower anxiety but it is contrary to the very nature of mystery. The anxiety of ambiguity seeks to limit the autonomy of mystery by fixing the image; the fixation of image is literalism; literalism is idolatry. The truly religious attitude towards life obliges us to suffer ambiguity, ride the current of soul as it changes and disappears, and await its reappearance in a fresh place. What else is faith, then, but iconoclasm and the strength to wait upon the mystery?"
The Red Hourglass is a one-man performance written and acted by Alan Bissett, a multi-talented actor, playwright, novelist, and comedian. The performance focuses on exploring the identities and relationships of several famous arachnids (spiders to you and me). Each is given its own character, accent, and back story. For instance, there is a Venezuelan tarantula and a Glasweigan house spider.
The piece sits somewhere between comedy, drama, and popular science exposition. Each of the spider characters is nicely realised and while the play informs us about arachnid behaviour it also uses this as a means to explore and understand different aspects of human character. The Black Widow (which lends the performance its title), for instance, is presented as a femme fatale from the deep south of the US, perhaps Savannah.
I often read critics using the term ‘tour de force’ to describe pretty much any reasonably decent novel or play. Seeing Bissett perform this astonishingly well-written, funny, informative, moving, and intelligent piece, I have finally witnessed something that deserves the exalted ‘tour de force’ label. This really is a brilliant piece and Bissett is a mesmerizing performer.
there is something I must dwell on, because I know more than I know and I must learn it from myself.
I have wandered to the limits of my understanding any number of times … and I’ve scared myself too, a good many times, leaving all landmarks behind me, or so it seemed. And it has been among the true pleasures of my life. Night and light, silence and difficulty, it seemed to me always rigorous and good.
A Late Quartet, currently showing at Cornerhouse, Manchester tells the story of a classical, string quartet as it confronts aging, changing relationships, love, and frustration. The film has great emotional intensity, underlined by its being presented more like a stage play than a film. Each of the lead performances is strong with Seymour Hoffman and Walkden perhaps being the emotional core of the film. Imogen Poots, who plays the gorgeous daughter of two members of the quartet (and who is also a musician), adds some additional colour.
The exquisite harmony required to make a string quartet function serves as a beautiful illustration of human relationships and of human value in general. Each member of the quartet has a separate role, yet each is vital. While one member is the leader, it is also clear that without the others his own music lacks completeness. While Hoffman’s character feels somewhat inferior, as second violin, his role is nevertheless essential to make the quartet what it is.
The quartet itself, and the human relationships that underpin it, is delicately balanced such that when something changes (through Walkden’s illness), the equilibrium is upset. The rest of the film could be seen as the unfolding of the consequences of this and a movement towards a new equilibrium (note that it is not back to the old one).
There are some unconvincing aspects - such as a drop-dead gorgeous flamenco dancer falling for Seymour Hoffman (I don’t think so!) - but on the whole I found the relationships and emotions portrayed within the film convincing and engaging.
Cannibals, currently premiering at the Royal Exchange explores the themes of consumerism, human exploitation, and arbitrariness. Written by a young playwright, Rory Mullarkey, the play focuses on the life pilgrimage of Lizabeta, daughter of some war torn ex-Soviet state, whose spirit sustains her through a series of tragic, and occasionally comic, scenarios which ultimately bring her to the somewhat surreal streets of Manchester.
The play is quite a departure from the usual RX fare. The set is stripped bare in the manner of an industrial factory or abbatoir. Its spare, bleak outlook underpins the emotions and tone of the play itself. The play seems to be about many things but it certainly highlights the theme of commodification; how we turn others into objects rather than respecting their unique subjectivity and possibilities. The title, ‘Cannibals’, refers in general terms to a consumerist mentality and more specifically to the way that we use one another for our own ends rather than respecting each other’s utmost possibilities. It reminded me somewhat of the dark world of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
A second theme, which struck with me some force, is that of arbitrariness; things happen in life, sometimes suddenly, for which there is no apparent explanation and over which we may have very little control and yet we are forced to confront them. This willingness to explore such an uncomfortable dimension of life is testament to the courage of the playwright, who also sprinkled in a fair bit of Russian just for good measure.
The play lasts around 105 minutes without interval. While this may seem rather gruelling - and certainly the subject matter is challenging - the play is actually very absorbing and well worth the effort.