19 January 2016

Technology and Art as Inspiration

Sasha Sykes
Caliology II
Bird’s Nest in Resin
18cm H x 24.5cm L x 24.5cm D, 2015

Tomorrow I drive to Dublin to help a dear friend who broke her leg and must attend a meeting but cannot drive or handle the stress of public transport. So as part of the deal, I am planning a day of inspiration.  As I have just finished my first novel, I am already planning my great American novel. What will be my subject?  It will be about the sea.  It will be about the human condition.

But I need more. A sense of story.  A sense of failure and redemption. Or a sense of hope transformed into regret. A sense of fear turned into hope. Desire turned into repulsion. Or vice versa.

To find the answer, I need inspiration. So I have planned a day of exposure to the arts and technology.

First, I will visit the great library at Trinity to gaze at the Book of Kells once again. The richly illuminated manuscript holds many secrets that make it desirable today more than a thousand years after its creation. If I could uncover just one secret, it may spark the right framework for my story.

Then I plan to visit the writer's museum, perhaps the Guinness Storehouse, the oldest pub, some galleries, bookstores, the works. A poetry lecture in the evening. Whatever else I encounter in between.

On Thursday morning, I will be meeting up with my dear friend Ally Bunbury to view an exhibition by Sasha Sykes, Turtle Bunbury's sister. I haven't met her but I have admired her work since before I knew Turtle. Curiously, her art form -- nests preserved in resin -- were created in response to what Sasha terms as 'disgust at the worship of technology'.

“The Caliology series initially sprang from a private disgust at the oppressive modern worship of technology, but in the making became something much more celebratory; the method and expression of a profound personal desire to reconnect with my rural surroundings.” 

Yet, she applies technology to preserve the natural discards of the wild world around her. Something doesn't quite fit in my mind here. I am really looking forward to exploring her works and perhaps finding inspiration in its subtlety. Or its juxtapositions.

Most amusing is that to find the Oliver Sears Gallery, I went online using my technological tools at hand, found the website, wrote down the address, then clicked on the Google map and sent a copy to my phone. Without it, I'd be hard pressed to locate the discreet gallery tomorrow. 

Perhaps that will be my inspiration. Is technology the culprit? Is technology my anti-hero. Then who is my heroine? What colours will she exude? Can I paint her vividly in the reader's mind?  Will she be pressed to reconnect with the natural surroundings, the only ones remaining intact being at sea? Will she be the salvation of the earth, of herself, or of no one at all?  This is what remains to be seen. 

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