Category Archives: Whilt

Where you can find me (Whilt 19)

Remember this one of my series – Whilt – What Have I learned Today?

Trying to come back to it – little day-to-day discoveries of a starry-eyed kid, which lives in me (despite my daring attempts to evict it) and within all those interesting people I’ve met.

I followed that link – contemplating a personal story of a man close to me I bumped into that movie: “Into the wild” – loyal portrayal of a real drama of Christopher McCandless – a top student from a privileged background, who – bitterly disappointed by vanity and hypocrisy of his parents, by mindless brutality and shallowness of his society drops out of the picture trying to reclaim shattered identity and personal integrity. He does it through an impossibly romantic, extreme means of going into the wild of Alaska, living only from the land-resources and in a total isolation. Being only 24 and after two years of his adventure Chris dies out of starvation in his adopted ‘home’ – a wreck of a green bus. That bus in itself becomes a destination for dozens of McCandless’s followers, his uncompromising choices in life are being interpreted in equally extreme fashion – from glorifying the ‘hero’, who had to paid the highest price for an attempt of a noble self-discovery, to scolding the ‘spoiled, egocentric’ kid.

One of the most poignant discoveries this run-away’s parents had made was, that he didn’t want to be found. One can save someone who is temporarily lost, or help the one, who plays hide-and seek game out of lack of confidence or confusion or pain, but not the one, who makes a conscious decision of ‘disappearing’ from your life. Thinking about that I started to approach this question if I, indeed, want to be ‘found’ in this very wilderness of the Internet reality. Energy and dynamics of the Web-World acts as ever-expanding multiverse – once you lose the track of its actual demands and nature – you share fate of a micro-organism completely lost somewhere in a vast vacuum of a Tropical Forest. And it doesn’t matter, if your performance here is of a poor or great quality; or of any importance to humanity in general… who really bothers after all…

Here are the online services, where you can find me, except of this site (obviously) – join and use the fun of Facebook (my name: Katarzyna Skonieczna), where you can quickly connect with those you know, check the latest ‘what’s up’ with them, compete in various (deliciously childish) games and share your thoughts the moment you think them… Twitter (my name: skonieczna) is another, very immediate and natural way of sharing your online experience, you simply answering the one and only question: “what are you doing?’ – what are you doing right now – share the article, you’ve just read; picture you’ve discovered, new web-site, follow people, who make it all more fascinating and inspiring… There is where you can, if you want to – find me – the moment I will dare to disappear – you will be one of the first to know…

P.S.

Enjoy thoughtful song from ‘Into the wild’ above. Eddie Vedder signs ‘Society’. More about the philosophy behind this movie, which, I believe is worthy to explore – in my next posts

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Integrity and disintegration… (Whilt 18)

From time to time, and recently quite often, I catch myself as being innocently and profoundly ignorant as to the meaning of some concepts, ideas, words, phrases… It’s got something to do with the English as an adopted language; even if it’s used completely naturally and fluently – there is always that surreal quality of putting on a mask, a costume, going on stage each time I have to or choose to communicate in not-my-mother-tongue… What’s interesting, that after years of being cut of the sophisticated, literary and everyday usage of Polish I’ve lost that absolute ‘feeling’, that innate sense of my first language… So, I’m somewhere between; and even craving – I’m not able to create a decent fiction or poems in either of codes of expression… not yet, not without a considerable struggle, at least…

So, I’ve come across that concept of the artistic integrity – first I had to check in five different dictionaries (of three languages) extended definitions of the notion; each one had a slightly varying shade of meaning attached; so I felt like juggling between them composing the balanced outlook…

Then – the tougher bit came when I asked myself – But what exactly does it mean – to be an artist of integrity? Does it mean the same as being the man of integrity, or – can the professional integrity coexist with the personal disintegration and vice-versa? Is integrity ‘merely’ a virtue you possess or not like courage or modesty, or rather a fundamental component of any individual, without which a serious trouble creeps into your life?… And  how this noble talk relates to the contemporary postmodern ethics (or rather non-ethics) of making/dealing with art? Who has, who can afford now to keep his/hers artistic integrity over time, when sometimes one call from a hated curator or a critic you disregard may be a life changing event? And so on, and so on…

Quite recently I’ve unwillingly provoked one of my tutors (calling my new paintings ‘a mess’) to form and challenge me with ‘the tough question’: If you won’t have an integrity with your work – who else will? To have an integrity with one’s work – that means to be unified in terms of the intent, concepts and the general message; or does it? If I call my own work ‘a mess’ – publicly and honestly – isn’t that enough to prove my solidarity with it? My demanding, yet compassionate unity with a piece of art which happens to be as confused as its author? Does it always have to sound ‘assertive’ and ‘confident’; ‘positive’ and ‘grand’ – like in salesmen’ slimy talk where even obvious downsides are clothed in sweetish-easy ‘solutions’…

And why is ‘integrity’ such a sought feature in an artist after all? I bet it suits perfectly some particular ‘breeds’ of professions – lawyers, doctors, teachers, intellectuals – sure… I know men who are a book-like example of the whole phenomenon – they’re noble and loyal, creative and open-minded; yet there is something vital missing in them – a spark of imagination empowering to jump in the dark, to take bold risks and challenge barriers or even rules, if necessary; they’re the guardians of the gates – and no artist should aim at that domain (not only, not merely, not predominantly).

An artist is a man of integrity chiefly via the creative act – by doing what he was born for – in the best, most dedicated way he/she knows and can apply; what comes to the world from that act is another matter – yet so-called integrity has nothing, or little to do with that.

If my work’s integrity comes from its conscious and chosen disintegration and subversion who can prove it wrong, and on which grounds?

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I dare so I am… (Whilt 17)

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. -Johann von Goethe

Courage is a strange thing – like fire: too little and you don’t exist; too much and… you can cease to exist as well… it’s self-perpetuated under the one condition – it’s got the fuel to nurture it. Basically, it purifies you as well as it may be a consuming force, if you won’t master it…

Neglected, it dies; one gentle stroke of attention – it glows again. It knows or respects no rules made for the ‘health and safety’ sake; it demands maturity and keen intelligence in handling it.

I was about to do an important step today and I stepped back, perhaps still feeling burns on my fingers from the last time, when I tried to touch and command the fire… In the same moment, when I chose so-called ‘common sense’ and self-importance over the boldness of challenging the situation, I knew I was wrong…

Painting and the creative act in general takes a lot of courage (and this is the most corny thing I’ve written in weeks); actually – it’s not meant to be for faint-hearted… One false step, one step too far, one step back (because you lack the boldness) and you lost the most important, and sometimes you are the last person to recognize it…

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it… To dare means to be, to create …

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Switching the world off… (Whilt 16)

Yep, it happens all the time. Don’t you believe me? How long can this article of mine hold your full attention? I mean the ‘full monty’ really; or – maybe, by any chance you’ve already started to ‘scan’ this very work of mine produced with an effort with the light speed (as most of us do with the most of web-stuff), thinking about a dozen of other sites you have to visit to ‘update’?

No, don’t mean to be grumpy, just enjoying my ‘come back’ after I’ ve switched my activity here off, with no reason other than my conscious choice to focus on the most important things in my ‘real’ life…

That makes us all feel a bit less significant, doesn’t it? Today – we sense the attention of … well – dozens?, hundreds? Maybe just a handful of you – my ‘caught fish’, so diversified and puzzling? Well, we make it so life-like; don’t we – we try, at least –  to turn clicking and editing, pasting and commenting into an intense, stimulating, interactive experience… Only ‘but’ is that one can switch the whole thing off in no time at all… No consequences, no buzzing phones or ‘meaningful’ looks, nothing… A bit scary and… refreshingly down to Earth; especially when one considers his art and artistic ‘biography’ existing sometimes only or predominantly online…

Nothing except the abstract sense of ‘belonging’ to a particular web-host, particular micro-virtual-culture and a web of contacts and revisited places shapes my identity here. At the same time, what I’ve gained through my blogging over the last year and a half wouldn’t possibly find any equivalent in the ‘real’. Hundreds of times I’ve considered my time here lost, but ‘lost’ in an invaluable way… Paradoxes – all the web-experience is based and shaped by those. The great and so accurate metaphor of our lives now – overloaded, too fast, to shallow, to easy to ‘switch off’ with little or no consequences at all…

Coming back then… Coming back by going away, and going away by slowly starting the same adventure again and anew at the same time…


Few words on communication and loneliness…(Whilt 15)

Don’t know why, yet I don’t feel like writing. Don’t feel like using words at all… Words are unnecessary stains on silence…That’s S. Beckett’s…

Out of sentiment probably, I’ve watched once again ‘Lost in Translation” by S. Coppola. An intelligent effort portraying deep loneliness among crowds and despite ‘having a relationship’. All because the most important gets ‘lost in translation’ – lost because of words which are not to be spoken out loud; lost because of time, space, fate. Found only in order to be ‘failed’ at the start… And all those witty understatements, subtle clues and games… Intense emotional bound ‘doomed’ to be lost in all that unexplainably, undeservedly cruel ‘logic’ of life… This movie makes me think more about my work in terms of the difficult art of using ‘low-key’ yet eloquently ‘charged’ messages…

And I’ve seen an interview with Noam Chomsky, the great old man, one of the greatest intellectuals alive  – he sounded so humbly ordinary that it touched the uncanny quality. He talked with tender care and respect as if the words, the language were special beings that he gave life to and took all the responsibility for it…Communication – it takes profound intelligence, good will and struck of luck to happen, to exist on its own and to develop inwardly loosing all the casual simplifications and gaining the meant depth… Do we think enough about the way we communicate (if at all)? The quality, quantity, sense, purpose?…

And the last random thought – fancy words used by some of the more initiated members of the Art World, critics and thinkers-on- art – they’ve been annoying me for years – now I’m becoming a sort of a collector of those – I actually keep a rapidly growing list of expressions, which affect me in a strange way – they just strike a certain string, resonating with elegance, creativity and literary potential. Here are some of them:

nascent (adj.) –‘being born’, just coming to an existence, yet – with a potential

redundant (adj.) – superfluous, unnecessary

portent (n.) – omen, auspice, prediction; with weight/future significance

subversion (n.) – undermining the power of authority, sabotage

resolution (n.) – determination, perseverance, dedication, bravery, purposefulness

intricate (adj.) – complex, baroque, confusing

It’s interesting how one expression can be enriched and illuminated by few others which are meant merely to ‘define’ it. It’s great to sense that interweaving of meanings and an economy of some of the words as they seem to contain the entire concepts in them… Fascinating… I feel a bit more like writing just now…

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“For the world has changed…” (Whilt 14),

Well, it’s been rather an emotional day… wasn’t it?

You don’t have to be a supporter of the 44th President of the US to feel the profoundness of the moment. Personally, I can hardly remember from an experience this very intense joy of witnessing the ‘history in making’; my generation came to ‘power’ of its awareness after the first man has landed on the Moon, after the Cold War has finished and after the Communist monster  has been crushed. Now, something close to magic is going on in the air, some sort of an awaken passion and an inspiration instead of the sleepy  indifference and ‘everything goes’ philosophies; I met students of law, art, philosophy and I spoke to middle-aged taxi-drivers; their eyes sparkled when Barrack Obama’s name was mentioned.

Basically, he is an artist – the new man in charge – the pure-blooded, first-rank artist, whose art is that of a born and charismatic leader – he uses words, his entire persona the way Turner was using watercolours painting his stormy seascapes or Leonardo his oils rendering all those sublime figures hovering somewhere between human and angelic states…He crafts simple messages-concepts into some compelling, wings-giving visions, which both – transcend their time and space,  yet – draw their power from a deep respect and a concern for the ‘real’ and the ‘present’.

He is also a very classical type – I would say the Old Master, being only at the dawn of his challenging way. Just look at the Inauguration Ceremony – musicians and poets delivering the messages of beauty and integrity (all great leaders had used art to ennoble their position and visions), priests preaching (as – traditionally – the spiritual power meets and supports the political might)… And him – surrounded by all those brilliant outfits, velvet curtains and ancient symbols (Lincoln’s Bible and inspiration) – displaying impeccable manners and the air of authority, which only his inborn and greatly cultivated aristocracy of the spirit could have made to look so natural…

Everything about him is so stylish that he is already a myth – just see his icon-portrait done for the campaign’s sake. This Warhol-esque piece of the contemporary design (difficult to say ‘art’) is already a ‘pop-celebrity’ on its own – I guess Baudrillard has his sweet satisfaction in the other life seeing his magic of ‘simulacra’ realised. I’ve seen recently an exhibition -like event with this poster on the view – the modern Mona Lisa with the crowds swelling around it in order to get closer and have a shot taken… Crazy ? – rather not…

For the world has changed and we must change with it (Inauguration Speech) – change, hope, responsibility, virtue, freedom, courage, curiosity, honesty – time to assess the past rigidly and leave it, time for a change – because the world is not the same any more. Let’s treasure these moments, no matter what will come sooner or later. They’re quite rare and they may define years and epochs to come… Also, for an art-world, also for you as an artist if you’ll choose to. We live in the great times, despite all the appearances – let’s teach ourselves to inspire others, to re-inspire ourselves…


Land that plane on Hudson…(Whilt 13)

Peter Bruegel, Landschaft mit dem Sturz des Ikarus, c. 1560, oil on canvas

(The work of art depicted in this image and the reproduction thereof are in the public domain worldwide. The reproduction is part of a collection of reproductions compiled by The Yorck Project.)

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I hope it will leak to the everyday language as a form of a proverb/saying, just the way : “Cross your Rubicon” is…

“Land that plane on Hudson…” – would mean – do attempt nearly impossible, and not merely ‘attempt’, but do this in the best possible way; and do this now, each minute counts …

As many of you, I’ve been following the crush landing on Hudson river (from 15th Jan. 2009) with the growing amazement. What emerged as a perfect ‘news’ story of a drama, heroism and ‘happy ending’ (bet – the movie-makers already have the scripts of a blockbuster ready in their heads) continues to stupefy and will keep, I guess, in years to come. In our neurotically disintegrated reality of conflicting meanings and shaky values – a man in charge does just the right thing in just the right way – something that keeps us open-mouthed would be called merely ‘a routine fulfillment of duty’ a hundred years ago.

And I cannot help marveling at the sheer beauty of that landing (now available online from all major broadcasters) – the art of flying, the art in itself embodied – just the only way it was meant to be in technical terms, but it comes very close to the sublime quality,  considering all the circumstances (just imagine – that so simply- looking, smooth, controlled, successful dive is still regarded as nearly impossible to achieve by experts)…

Looking at that comparatively small, white ‘bird’ falling off the sky so beautifully and dramatically, with the world ‘watching’ around helplessly – I thought about the Icarus’s poignant story – a boy, who wanted to be closer to the sun, and fell of the sky in the waters – no one has ever paid any attention (as Breugel’s great vision form above captures it; just try to find Icarus…), just as it remains mostly unshaken by one or another dreamer being crushed to death (social, cultural, personal, economical, actual defeat) due his/her daring pursue to get closer to the sun…

Yet, it’s all worth to try – and to try in the best possible way, there is – as Capt. Sullensberger’s example shows…

And this is what I have learned today (Whilt)…

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