The Middle Passage

Today I pay tribute to all the great man and woman who created stories, poems, paintings and music. It feels like I stand at the summit, to celebrate this wealth just before the door falls into the lock. The growing influence of human-machine teaming is now widely acknowledged as the one and single route for humanity. The overall push to accept the messenger RNA injections gets not just overwhelming but almost unavoidable. Injected people need regular updates to cope with ever more viral threads and computer sequenced cellular instructions will regulate their biological processes. Soon we may define ourselves as a bio-unit, waiting for the right software to operate, nudged, persuaded and controled. It's clear that access to this tightly connected new world is bound by parameters, conditions, rules & regulations.

That's why I wanted to do some un-smart old fashioned woodworking, while I still can. I modified a cheap IKEA picture frame to store yet another of my boxed scenes. This time I made a boxed ode dedicated to one of my beloved artists.

We as society landed in what is known as the Middle Passage, a time of in-betweenness. History teaches us how millions of West Africans were forcibly shipped to the New World as part of the horrible yet extremely profitable Atlantic slave trade. It seems to me that history runs in circles. With the pandemic as our departure haven we are now at sea for a while. The passage towards a new world, determined by social conditioning and technological enslavement. How long does our voyage take? Maybe the ship sails into a storm or maybe we get stuck on a reef in the tropics? Who knows what the future will bring?

Maybe a more manageable question, why should I bother with the future anyway? For now we are still floating in between two worlds. Long ago I saw a pencil drawing by the Belgian artist Thierry de Cordier titled: Autoportrait tenant mon discours au monde. It was one of these emblematic works that sort of etched itself into my mind.

One could argue that the whole of Cordiers fascinating oeuvre is a statement about retracting oneself from society reconnecting with mother earth, but this drawing in particular has a wonderful subscript that resonates deeply to me. After mentioning name, date, location and his occupation (autodidactical philosopher), he states the following: "Moi (...)décidé de changer le monde (sans rien dire)"... I decided to change the world (without saying anything). The question arises, if this is indeed a self portrait, how come the figure in the drawing seems to be shouting through a megaphone?

Nevertheless I take this motto serious, however problematic it is an ideal or rather a lesson. Therefore I dubbed my boxed scene "Ode to Thierry de C.". I used Clay, spray paint, wood, carton board, a piece of driftwood, various pigments, a plastic toy, tape and some dried pieces of plant material that I found in the garden, all mixed and pasted together. Unlike Thierry's silence, I decided to get a little vocal by symbolically pasting the number ICU hospital patients registred over the years in the Netherlands on the backside of the vitrine... That's me, and I do as I see fit. I like the golden glow, the elevated figure with the hand on his heart, the empty landscape and the tombstone like verso. When all is set and done I'm very happy with this new "old looking thing".

Theatrical assemblage in vitrine: Ode to Thierry de C. July 2021, 30 X 21 X 10.5 cm