Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mad Poppets, mashed digits, Willows...and Yaks

What was today like?
Dunno yet---it's still going.
So far, there's been an awful lot of yak shaving. It happens that way sometimes. It means that things are getting done, but not exactly the things that were on the list.
We got loads of photos of "Spencer's Brain" which showed itself at VCon.
There's so much going on in this one. It became one of those collaborations where the work happens in shifts and where the artists must be flexible and open minded and where the finished work is different and more than either imagined.
The piece is a bit over 15" tall, has lots of lighting and( of course) mad Poppets in weird glasses.
This morning I dropped a very heavy blender jar. I was sure it would shatter when it hit the tile counter, but fortunately, I broke its fall with my right index fingertip. Yes---my 'main' finger is out of commission, with a nail somewhere between black and purple.
Ben brought me a copy of Wind in the Willows before he even knew I would incorporate it into the Neil Rat piece. Now I'm reading bits of it to Orion every night at bedtime, attempting to end with a cliff hanger and resisting the temptation to read on long after he's sleeping.
It's always good, I believe, to read favorite books at different times in one's life. It can create a rich mosaic of memories and layers and understanding. It certainly has for me.
It's nearly eleven and the house is quiet. I'm heading back to the studio.


Benton Warren said...

Watch that main finger Hon, that's the one you need to use to put the ice in the glass!

lisa said...

Red wine needs no ice---lucky for me.

Thanks!! See you tomorrow at Strange Too

Anonymous said...

My eyes perked up when I read what you wrote about re-reading well-loved books at intervals throughout life. I've had so many people ask me how I can stand to re-read books, since I already know "what happens", but there are some books that seem to yield more each time you revisit them. ("Alice in Wonderland" is my "Wind in the Willows".) I hope that Orion enjoys it!

I also hope that your finger is on the mend.

mordicai said...

Alas! Woe! Poor Kandor!

ravyn said...




that is amaaaaaazing.

Benton Warren said...

LOL Mordicai! You know what I never understood. If Kandor was a whole city of Superpeople, with super brains and powers just like Superman (Of the 70's no less! When he could move the moon or count every molicule of air in the atmosphere etc...) then why did they have to stay in a bottle? And a bottle with a Kryptonite base no less! Just a thin sheet of lead between them and death or Supercancer! LOL :P

Rubius said...

I LOVE this piece. It was so amazing in person but these pictures do it a wonderful justice too. It made me sad that you could barely tell that it had lights and nifty-in-the-dark bits that were not quite visible in the art show lighting. I kept wanting to sneak in there at night when the lights were out and see how it would glow!!!

Next time it goes to a show it would be great if there were a way to show it and Blast Radius to their full potential. They should have curtained boxes or something so you can peak inside and see their true glory and then open the curtains to view it in the light. The glowing bits always elicited a lot of cool comments as soon as people saw that they glowed.

Rubius said...

(so sorry to hear of the digit mashing... only potatoes and yams should be mashed, not digits)

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous work - I saw some of the work-in-progress pics of this earlier, but it turned out even better than I thought it might. I'm sure it stunned them at VCon.

Sorry to hear about the finger. I did something quite similar two weeks ago, when I accidentally hammered the nail of my left middle finger while I was dismantling a shelf in the basement. The blackened area under the nail is still working it's way to the front. If someone had been filming me then, the dance-of-pain would have been a YouTube hit...


Drinne said...

This is 17 kinds of wonderful. May I ask if the Plath reference is intentional?

Also in the picture where it's lit up I must also admit that the Mad Poppet Descending made me start intoning theme music from Phantom of the Opera. (a musical I unfortunately don't like but, substitute Poppet for Phantom and it's much better for me. No hate to those that love however.)

Hope your finger heals quickly

lisa said...

ulffriend--Alice in Wonderland is another good one. The book I've read most often over the years is
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
The next is Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison.
There are more.

lisa said...

ravyn: thank you. I think we need a mad Foppet assistant, eh?

lisa said...

rubius---thank you. excellent idea. Your Poppet creation is taking up a position on the bench beside the front door. Photos soon.

lisa said...

drinne: of course you can ask and it's completely unintentional.
Please point it out. I want to know. I love when people find things and make associations I didn't consciously make myself.
It's why I love collaborating so much.

DavidK: I'm so sorry to have missed your dance! Sheesh! gotta keep those cameras more handy. working on something for you and looking forward to our next video project.

ravyn said...

lisa, i loooove the idea of a mad foppet assistant! i'll let that idea roll around on the back burner.

BTW, painting has commenced on two new foppets (oh, charger makes three). It feels good to paint :-)

Currently i am reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, a book my dad gave me when i was 10 but i never read completely.

Drinne said...

Hi Lisa,

I did mean Sylvia Plath, the one full novel she wrote was "The Bell Jar" which dealt with depression and electroshock therapy in the story both positively and negatively. If i remember correctly she describes depression like "living inside a bell jar" and all of the things happening inside unable to interact with the outside.

I had a friend when I was a teenager who was a brilliant writer. I was in total awe of her, and honestly I still scan shelves for her name because it's a crime if she's not writing. She used to ask me to come over to her house after school and read Plath aloud for her because she told me when I read everything was more real for her. It was also a huge complement, her younger brother was a professional actor, so she had points of comparison. We were in our own Bell Jar really back then, experimenting with words and performance and Plato and art. She introduced me to Plath without having to be all hero worshiping and gothic about it.

Later in our lives and friendship, when life had turned me more than slightly caustic she's the one who called me out on my pride as a knowing cynic. "Cynics are just disillusioned optimists, who still care." There was no real response to that - she knew better than anyone that at heart it was true. At the time I was angry that she was right, now I embrace it as a way to be in life. I'm not cynical, I'm an angry optimist.

Still true - the end of the Bell Jar is "She walked through the door"

That's what we do - walk through the door - you can't not. We knew that was courage sometimes, just moving forward.

Most people think of Plath as depressing or "emo" but Elisabeth and I always felt that she was more the opposite, regulating emotion that could get dangerous, manufacturing strength when strength had no raw materials to work with. We were sorry that she personally lost the fight, but we didn't glorify her because of it. I don't know that I ever would have picked up on it if I hadn't been asked to read her aloud.

So yeah - all that - with mad science and poppets and brains growing weird with your friends and art and literature and some day if we all get out of the jar we'll make the world different.

I wonder why your art keeps taking me back to all these older places in my life : ) It also reminds me of plays and time machines with other friends from the same period. Thank you.

lisa said...

drinne: In that case, it was accidentally on point. This piece is actually the companion for "Blast Radius." Both "Spencer's Brain" and "Blast" share similar themes. Both deal with issues of deep depression, mind-changing events and picking up after. I'm with you on Plath---it's one thing to wallow in unhappiness, but quite another to glean beauty and strength from dark places. I try mostly to do the latter. Thank you. Really, really.

lisa said...

Ravyn: you make Foppet---I'll make some killer Foppet goggles.

ravyn said...

Lisa: DEAL!

Mad Foppet Assistant is not quite in the works yet but i'm getting there :-)

Benton Warren said...

Yo Drinne,
Great post!
We do indeed all occasionally retreat into our little bell jars.
But as Lisa, and life, have taught me over the years. Even from inside the bell jar, it is still possible to communicate your thoughts and ideas. And indeed to affect and change people and by extension the world! Telecommunication its called. Communicating ideas across a distance.Even across time itself. Even across the utter gulf of depression. And the self absorbtion and regection of contact that make up the walls of the Bell Jar.
We can, through the language of Art and Poppets in our case, still tell a story. Still reach out and touch someone in a deep and meaningfull place. Still provide that little shock to the system and the brain. Our own little bit of Tele-electroshock treatment if you will. Delivered in Iconic form. From deep inside the Bell Jar.
And often enough. Just telling the story, expressing the idea itself, is enough to break the Bell Jar wide open. A self administered Ideashock therapy!
Open your soul,
Say something true,
Be set free.