“We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind—mass merchandising, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant translation of science and technology into popular imagery, the increasing blurring and intermingling of identities within the realm of consumer goods, the preempting of any free or original imaginative response to experience by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel. For the writer in particular it is less and less necessary for him to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer’s task is to invent the reality.”
― J.G. Ballard, Crash
“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”
― Kurt Vonnegut
Sometimes it seems that time is going by slowly, sometimes it seems like it is moving too fast. Oddly, often, the people around you seem to feel the same way. I’ve always wondered if this is really true – maybe times speeds up and slows down, that it isn’t always just in your head.
“The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.”
― Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
The yellow streak in the time exposure above is the streetcar going by. Invisible.
“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Are there ghosts around us… ghosts that are simply moving too fast for us to see? There are definitely live people moving too fast for anyone to see. Maybe a blur. All you feel is a buzz of wasted excitement and maybe a bit of a hot breeze.
And they are gone.
The sculpture in the photograph above is a Henry Moore bronze – Three-Piece No. 3: Vertebrae (Working Model). It is a prequel for Moore’s larger Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae, also known as the Dallas Piece, which sits in a forlorn spot in front of I. M. Pei’s Dallas City Hall.
I’ve always loved that sculpture and have visited it for decades. One especially cool time was when Rachel Harrison added a temporary pink arrow in a sculpture known as Moore to the Point as part of the Nasher Xchange project.
“It’s up to the artist to use language that can be understood, not hide it in some private code. Most of these jokers don’t even want to use language you and I know or can learn . . . they would rather sneer at us and be smug, because we ‘fail’ to see what they are driving at. If indeed they are driving at anything–obscurity is usually the refuge of incompetence.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
“To ride a bicycle is in itself some protection against superstitious fears, since the bicycle is the product of pure reason applied to motion. Geometry at the service of man! Give me two spheres and a straight line and I will show you how far I can take them. Voltaire himself might have invented the bicycle, since it contributes so much to man’s welfare and nothing at all to his bane. Beneficial to the health, it emits no harmful fumes and permits only the most decorous speeds. How can a bicycle ever be an implement of harm?”
― Angela Carter