Writ of Execution – a 100 word story
I sit in darkness. I keep the refrigerator door open, try to cool the room a little, but to no avail. The ice melted long ago and no cool air is sipping out. There haven’t been food in the fridge for a long time. They’ve turned off the gas, then they switched off the electricity. Couldn’t afford the food anyway, or pay for electricity, gas and water. I hear them coming up the stairs, the guys from the execution office. They are here for the furniture. I light up a match, watch the fire dance, then let it consume me.
Hi there and thanks for stopping by. I’m Guy, and you’re listening to my surreal sketchbook of reality.
Episode 4, The Ice Melted
Fiction. Reality. Where do you draw the line? This episode Is a semi-philosophical look at the relationship between art and the real world. I’m not a professional philosopher by any means and my approach can be quite absurd, illogical and not at all that serious, so – you’ve been warned. Do not take this podcast too seriously. If you tend to take things too seriously, this might not be the podcast for you. Seriously. I mean it. Find another podcast to listen to.
You’re still here? Good. Let’s talk about art and fiction in relation to reality. In 1929, the master surrealist artist René Magritte created an artwork called “The Treachery of Images.” It is a life like depiction of a pipe with the words “this is not a pipe” written in stylised French below it. Those are, of course, true words, for the painting of a pipe is not really a pipe. You can’t light the pipe in the painting and smoke it. It just wouldn’t work. So, if the pipe is not real, what is its purpose? Why does it exist? Why does art exist?
Art moves us, stirs our emotions and stimulates our thoughts. For example, I could say the pipe in the painting is a most beautifully depicted pipe. The interplay of light reflections on it is superb and really makes it seem to stand out as if coming out of the canvas, thus making it seem almost real, creating an interesting contrast with the words written below it. I could say that something about this pipe evokes in me the image of a dark cabin somewhere, made of wood, and an old man sitting there, smoking a pipe. All of this is not really in the painting, but is in the relationship I have with the painting. Someone else would probably feel something else and have different imagery, emotions and thoughts evoked by the painting. In that way, art bleeds into reality, but in a different way for each and every one experiencing the art, creating multiple and personal realities. Let me wipe off the blood that seems to be bleeding out of some of the paintings hanging around my apartment. I’ll be right back.
Hair Would Do It – a 100 word story
It was February when all the barbers disappeared. The shops to the right and to the left of any barber shop were now next to each other, as if the barber shop was never there. No one could remember what a barber even looked like, or what he did. When people’s hair started growing long, everyone wondered about it, not remembering how to get it to be short again, but they learned to live with it. Hairbrush sales went up. Some people say that hairbrush manufacturers put reality altering chips inside their products, but those are generally viewed as lunatics.
Welcome back. Art can have a profound impact on reality, even if it has very little to do with reality in the first place. Fantasy books for example have very little to do with reality. Still, people are moved by the adventures of Bilbo Baggins as though he was a real person. People would do in depth analysis of the personality of Harry Potter and the motivations of Random from Roger Zelazny’s Amber series as if those where real persons. The fact is that the line drawn between reality and art is beginning to fade out.
Some would argue if video games are artworks or not. Let’s define art as a creative endeavor, generating a depiction of reality that is seperate from reality while commenting on it. There are other ways of defining art, but we’ll go with this one simply because it includes video games within it and it would best serve the purpose of this particular talk. So, back to video games, while art was inherently something which we experienced outside of ourselves, video games are changing that by being made up worlds we actively interact with. With virtual reality just around the corner, we are entering an era when reality and art could become indistinguishable. We might just find ourselves stuck in an artwork, not knowing we are stuck in a mare simulation. This is where we dissolve the line between reality and fiction completely and dive into the simulation hypothesis I talk about in episode 2 of this podcast, but this is episode 4, not episode 2 so… This concludes episode 4 of this podcast. Close the door on your way out and don’t forget – I’m just a figment of your imagination.