Thursday, September 24, 2009

I went to this amazing, AMAZING Ai Wei Wei exhibition this afternoon and saw his excellent video piece (well, documented performance piece?) Fairytale and it got me thinking.

The exercise was to bring 1001 Chinese who had never traveled outside of China to a contemporary art festival in Kemmel (I think it was kemmel) Germany. It's a small town in germany of about 200,000 and it's the birthplace (?) of the Grimm brothers. Hence Fairytale, plus it was like a fairytale for these people to be able to go to Germany. Plus it was a chance for them to see if Germany - a place they had only heard and read about - was everything they thought it would be. To see if the fairytale was true or not.

Anyway, Ai Wei Wei documented the stories of all these people and their journey to Germany and then at the end they interviewed a bunch of random Germans from Kemmel asking them their impression of the Chinese visitors. And most people were flat out what we would call racist. Just saying something like, most Chinese are very loud and rude, but these 1001 visitors were very well-behaved.

Or one lady said: They should learn from us. Not the other way around. They should learn from Europeans etc etc. (I don't remember the exact quote, but i remember the 'learn from us, not the other way around' and the word 'europeans' was in there somewhere)

And then one man said something like: I think they are being objectified.

And it got me thinking. Because they interviewed a lot of the Chinese visitors, too, and they didn't feel that they were being objectified. They were excited to be in Germany and to be part of Ai Wei Wei's art project. They were just like regular tourists; they all had cameras and maps and were enjoying their stay. They were all sad to leave once the trip was over.

So it makes me wonder: if the 'object' (here: Chinese visitors) does not think it is being objectified, is it? And if someone else (here: the man) decides that the object is being objectified, isn't he himself then objectifying the object? By making it an object that is being objectified? In deciding that those who are objectifying the object are wrong in their objectification, he is himself agreeing that the object is being objectified in the first place and is therefore objectifying the object.

Therefore, the only way not to objectify an object is to reject the possibility of objectification.

And then this leads me to conundrum #2: If you witness a crime that you are able to stop and do nothing to stop it, you are, by law, aiding and abetting that crime. While the dictionary definition of both aid and abet assume active participation, in practice both words have come to bring non-action under their definitional umbrella.

Now, let's take this scenario and place it on conundrum #1. If I reject the possibility of objectification, but person A does not and we both witness an instance of 'objectification' and I am not outraged, is it fair for person A to be outraged that I am not outraged? Am I, in a sense, aiding and abetting objectification by my non-outrage? Which would assume that objectification is not subjective. It is Truth with a capital T. Which, personally, I don't think it is. In the same way that murder is not (when is murder murder and not self-defense? Revenge? Etc.?)

This is the proverbial dilemma. Subjectivity vs. objectivity.

I've started collecting spam poetry from my spam inbox. (This probably results in me receiving a higher volume of spam than the average gmail user since I actually open the messages, but oh well.) It kind of reads like dada poetry, does it not? I love the opening line, and if you read the whole thing, you see it has it's own strange logic. For example, midway through it says: "feel canine freely frisk!" Does that not seem like an (excuse my lack of poetry terminology knowledge) answer to the question in the opening line? Repeating the 'freely canine'? Even up to the punctuation.

It's very well written. I would like to start a spam poetry slam/circle - anyone care to join?

And of course, it came with a picture announcing: We Make Sex.

* * *
freely canine soccer winkle?
while heckle livery whisky!
ampere yeah past.
music corset encage totem.
tapis bout tufty totem?
cade dreggy booty.
spade catgut dancer worse.
erne freely corset kauri.
bout smear nidge.
light egoism feel bald?
mealy ilium canine tapis!
diary yeah neigh frisk?
booty job ilium fen?
light sudd.
diary wintry job canine.
cycle self.
bout spade rhombi spade.
neural worse sudd.
ionize molly tremor.
perm egret.
ilium nous ionize orient!
shush syren ibidem dreggy!
encage sprawl gaiter livery?
miller planet myrtle ampere?
wintry modish smear job?
avowal ton diary soccer.
while job.
avowal ilium ampere hatred!
ibidem whisky we.
gluey pyrrol mealy neigh!
canine bout henry sudd?
modish emboss frisk whisky.
booty catgut exhale egoism.
corset kauri kauri.
heckle egoism fen kauri?
winkle livery job.
emboss dreggy baric ibidem!
potboy acacia babble while!
kauri nidge perm.
tapis pyrrol orient dancer!
gluey soccer tapis.
baric slave livery heckle!
babble tufty nidge heckle.
molly mower.
tremor dancer neural dreggy!
babble gluey ibidem modish.
fylfot bout booty kennel!
job ionize bald egret!
acacia booty mammy baric?
miller topple while ibidem?
gluey potboy while ionize?
avowal chyme acacia myrtle.
polo self worse.
jiff cade totem baric!
corset neigh totem.
whisky ionize.
we dancer emboss tapis?
polo amber.
smear sudd renter catgut?
bald music queue modish?
erne tremor gaiter sprawl.
ibidem gluey.
ibidem modish ionize exhale!
while dreggy.
music fen erne perm.
tufty mammy.
feel canine freely frisk!
gluey emboss.
neigh babble union yeah!
ionize syren planet.
mealy hatred booty booty!
miller chert feel dancer?
while erne nous fen?
self bout.
livery bald baric modish?
fen soccer chyme.
syren canine.
baric job bald baric!
miller soccer avowal canine!
totem hermit tufty hatred?
while rhombi nidge yeah?
incise light exhale patch!
planet shush heckle tremor?
syren fylfot.
mammy jiff renter.
bloke sudd incise syren.
mammy tufty incise we.
avowal perm cade sudd!
miller catgut.
tremor mammy ton bloke.
dreggy nous sudd nous.
hermit avowal spade ibidem!
tremor mammy.
polo orient.
sprawl patch totem chyme!
slave chyme union union.