Sunday, April 28, 2013

Yarn-Bombing and Me French-Kissing an Arab

This afternoon I went along with my family to a place that I'd heard much about: Beulahland. I'd received a number of invitations to the farm house-turned-work of art in the past, but for one reason or another had never actually gone. Today though, two friends of mine were there for the New York "Arts In Bloom" arts trail event––and we also had to pick one of my sisters up. So after a few wrong turns in the wilderness of Upstate New York and stopping to ask a lumberjack for directions, we arrived at Beulahland.

I was impressed.

I was expecting it to be a property with a bunch of art work, but in reality, it would be more accurate to say the property was the artwork:

Of course, there was plenty of art not nailed to the floor too. Like my friend Eric's pottery––which I had the added bonus of seeing him throw on a wheel made entirely of scrap parts:

A lot of the art did seem to be on the edge of the absurd. Like this "yarn bombed" tree (I didn't know what yarn bombing was until just now––it's apparently covering some public object in yarn as a form of art––or vandalism) in the front yard:

Or this Adirondack style chair that looked like something from The Chronicles of Narnia––and felt like something worse:

I'm no art critic, and I won't pretend to know anything about it, but a lot of art seems pretty absurd to me. 

But then life itself can be pretty absurd sometimes. So perhaps absurdity in art is just a way of expressing truth? I don't know. 

On the subjects of life and absurdity, on the way home today I got a message from an old comrade in North Ireland about something I wasn't expecting. 

The story starts couple years ago, when I was interning in the Middle East. It was only my second or third day off the plane, and I was still jet-lagged––not to mention sick––but the company I was working for had a crew working on a promotional video, and since that was along the lines of what I do, I got drafted to help in any way I could. As I said, I was pretty out-of-it, and I think my only contribution was probably agreeing to pose as a westerner interacting with an Arab. 

Most of this interaction just involved walking around on crowded streets and shaking hands and such, but when we got to the departure scene, they insisted on using the authentic gesture––which in that part of the world is kissing goodbye in the French manner––not French as in with tongue, mind you, just the little exchange of pecks on both cheeks. 

That was only the first week I was there, and seeing as I hadn't heard anything about it in the almost two years since then, I assumed it'd been buried on a scratch disk in some studio closet and forgotten. 

Apparently, that is not what happened. 

My Friend today said he was just watching this new promotional video with a group of people, and suddenly saw me walk onto the screen. It was only a short clip he said, but guess which one it was? That's right. 

So now individuals and groups all over the world who share in interest in the Middle East are watching a video of me kissing an Arab––which I actually think is pretty awesome. 

But it's still absurd, across many levels. 

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