Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Gates

Friday night some of us watched the DVD of this enormous installation of saffron flags that wound through Central Park one February a couple of years ago. The film is a half-hour meditation, very beautiful in its fluidity.

America was also watching the slow progress of Hurricane Ike that night. More of the awful karma of our global recklessness in pursuit of our convenience.

The shots of The Gates from above, like this one, reminded me of the shots of hurricanes from space. I recalled Norman Fischer's article on the impetus for art, titled, "Do You Want to Make Something Out of It?" One reason we create art, he says, is to apply a sense of order to the chaos of life. Sometimes, when my life is just too messy to be workable, I feel saved by art, creating it, experiencing it.

There was a monumental affirmation in this installation of miles of huge gates, the orange flags blowing over the people who walked slowly along just experiencing. I was reminded of the film The Pianist, in which a man who has been hunted with flamethrowers and starved almost to death in the holocaust is saved and, as if miraculously, civilization returns. In white tie and tails, he plays a concerto with full symphony. This, I thought, this is also something humans can do.

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