Monday, June 26, 2017

Into the void

When the New Zealand Herald's Dionne Christian visited Visesio Siasau's new paintings at Orex Gallery they reminded her of black mirrors. She looked carefully into one of the mirrors, and saw something twitch behind its glass.

In my review of the exhibition for EyeContact, I've argued that Sio's paintings are portals to the ancient void Tongans sometimes call 'uli 'uli va. Despite or because of their supernatural connotations, the paintings seem a response to the politics of contemporary Pacific culture, and to the treatment Sio has received from conservative Tongans since winning the Wallace Award in 2015.


Blogger Richard said...

Great art. My own Infinite Project through EYELIGHT has what I call "black spaces" throughout it. These are "references" to a priomordial origin or void as well as many other things. Like Wendt's larva they are both "darkness" and they also a something mysterious and beautiful. They are also that deep silence (not the silence Steiner complains of in say 'Language and Silence' but in fact while it is something that I find even comforting (and is the fecundity of the potential of all things in one sense) it could be seen as Steiner sees things: but my take is both the "silence" Cage and the potential that evades say those who say that they have solved origin (of the big bang) by saying it is caused by "cosmic ripples" or even anyone who says the KNOW (as they show they are thinking really NOT of an absolute nothingnessm, which the cosmologist Deutsch agreed with,saying that knowing such things was inherently impossible [in a book by Jim Holt]) Black Spaces also symbolize the impossibility of certain knowledge which impossibility intersecting with possiblity creates the universe. In this is the problem also of free will. The Catholic Church for example, after long debates, went for free will as that meant that a creator was required. I cant answer these primal questions but they are part of my project. I also feel that the formal dicta etc of the Christian church etc block the way to these things.

This exhibition interests me as I talk about Maori creation myths in at least one of my posts and in a deep sense they intersect.

And I am now organising possible posts etc to use. Heiddeger is indeed important. His attempt, perhaps he failed as probably did Sartre and Camus. Also he was inspired by his teacher Husserl.

But I am interested also in such philosophers as Hume, Hobbes, and others (Wittgenstein) as well as some of the postmodernists such as say Barthes and Derrida. But also a mathematician called Cantor who proved the existence of infinitely countable sets and uncountable sets. However Hume cuts across it all as there is no way of knowing, say, that the universe (the laws of) cannot fail at anytime. This is all in basic epistemology I studied at university.

But more "in the world" there remains the right of people to believe what they want without being ostracized as it seems to some extent Sio is or has been. And we look to the indigenous cultures for fascinating ways of looking at the world in a time of terrible technologies and enormous greeds and the continuation of Imperialism and Fascism by the United States, Australia, New Zealand (the atrocities of the SAS in Afghanistan as described by Hagar in his latest book) and other nations. An in Tonga the almost obscene power to restrict the minds of people through the Church which has become a negative force in Tongan and other cultures. If the indigenous people were not exterminated they were brain washed or as Lindqvist says of the Australian aboriginals not only their own non-Christian beliefs but there very beings were subjected to either extermination or the attempt to "fuck the blackness out of them". And now the Australian Governments have set up concentration camps for people fleeing war zones.

I am not opposed to religion but the Church in Tonga and elsewhere have done little to stop the slow destruction of the culture and civilizations of the pre-Christian societies. The worst of them are dangerously arrogant.

If the mother loved her son she would that son to his own beliefs and his art.

1:26 am  
Blogger Richard said...

I should add that this -- the last sentence above -- doesn't mean the mother doesn't love the son. That is a mistake in my wording. What it shows are the conflicts that can and do arise of belief systems against the desire of an artist to work as freely as is possible.

I think this is also partly Sio's theme, or one of his themes.

6:58 pm  
Anonymous Scott Hamilton said...

Hi Richard, Sio told me the other night he looks at this blog just to see your comments: I'm sure he's reading this one with interest! Ted's been in touch about his new book, which is being brought out by Cold Hub Press. How is the Eyelight mss coming along?

4:04 pm  
Anonymous Scott Hamilton said...

PS You should some of the mss through electronically, so I can share it with Sio...

4:04 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Hi Scott and Sio also! Re my manuscript. It is really a hard one. I have been through all my posts and have selected a number and divided it up so far into 4 sections. There are a couple of tech problems. One is that my large font version on EYELIGHT of The Red was really incredible (actually it was by luck as I had no idea it would happen in the way it did) as the fonts kind of overlap and so on. This I cant get on Open Office yet. Here is not only a "technical problem" but a question of how to present what i have as I envisage a mix of media at least in theory.

Also just for now I am not sure how to indicate or demonstrate as such my "Internet Poem".

Also there is a huge amount of stuff. I have got ready more than I can ever put into a book. It is really also an art project although I would like really to sub title it The Infinite Project. Of course it could never look anything like they way it does on the Blog but that has good aspects.

I could send you these Blog posts. These I am still collating. I intended then to select from them. But it is not like compiling a poetry book or something...I feel as if I should be "publishing" it continuously.

That said I have to be realistic. But once I have all of it in the first draft so to speak. I can send to you for some comments or ideas.

Ted told me before he had got a book together through the Cold Hub. That's good. I must look Ted up, we occasionally go out for a meal etc and a korero or is it talanoa?

I also have a few other lit. things on the boil. I am reviewing two books. I have finished basically one of them (a group of 4 poets including Jen Crawford, Owen Bullock, Shane Strange, and Monica Caroll. I know you know Jen as I do. The poems are all good and are themed by numbers. There are some quibbles but it is interesting, in fact a lot is very good. And another Australian poet who has put out a lot of books. I just started to look at his book. These reviews are for the PNZ Review.

A few other projects and ideas.

I hope all is well your end Scott, and Sio!

4:37 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

By Internet Poem I meant my "YouTube Poem". But of course I can just indicate the idea as my project is potential in any case. That is, at the moment my ideas are on it and thus I avoid certain things and of course it has my "stamp" but I decided long ago that, in theory at least (anything can be done theoretically!) the author dies...I like Roland Barthes and read a number of his books and the essay book 'Writing Degree Zero' was important.

I just saw via Olwyn that David Lyndon Brown's book is to be launched soon. I would like to attend that.

4:42 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

I want to add that it is not just an art project or a poem it is multiplex as the Infinite Poem was / is ( as you know of course ) and I cant really say what it is. It is even difficult to say why or and to understand myself the what-whyness of what I am doing! I sometimes wonder if I am just insane and it is all a load of cobblers...

4:45 pm  
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7:06 pm  
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2:30 pm  

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