Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Of Objects and Art Objects



I want to better the quality of my life. Let's start with the obvious, since this desire stemmed from me wanting to purchase an oven. Yes, an oven (There is a domestic goddess in me…somewhere). I want things----I want better things to surround me because I realized that I often restock on the same types of food: cream dori fillet, tilapia, bangus, pork, chicken, and other quick, preservative-leaden meals. The food served at home is more or less the same everytime, and this made me want to cook. If I do this, I can offer myself and my child healthier options and I can master what I know of cooking. Perhaps, if I get serious about it (if not have too much fun with it), I can learn so much more. If I learn more, I grow as a person.


Does it seem odd? This illustration merely shows that if one has access to "new" things or is exposed to them, there will be more opportunities too improve one's self and consequently, one's life. I am no longer satisfied with how I am living. It's not that I am ungrateful. Far from it. I want to express my gratitude my maximizing what I have.


A few years back, my needs were quite spartan; all I cared about was survival. Having to keep a job to support myself while I was in school, I subsisted on instant noodles, 7/11 hotdog sandwiches, and sky flakes. Those days, I didn't have half the mind to complain. This period of my life was also traumatic. For some unfortunate reason, my family had lost almost everything, and even basic furniture wasn't spared. There was even a time when I wept because I had no chair to sit on, no table to put my plate on. I ate my meals as I sat crossed-legged on the floor.


The aftermath of this event lasts until now. Sure, I now have furniture in my parents' home: monoblock chairs, office chairs, office cabinets, a few more borrowed things. We use plastic plates and eatery-style glasses. Call me finicky, but I definitely want to replace these things in order to make my home feel like home. I've started with little things such as placemats, potholders, and fruit baskets. However, they're not enough. An upgrade is needed. This is where the oven comes in. Throw in an electric fan, wooden chairs, nice glasses, ceramic plates, better tables, presentable rugs, and pretty houseplants (And I also want my home to smell nice!).


While the process of acquiring these things will take a while given my financial state, it's good to know that they're within reach. I never imagined that I'd care a lot about what's in the scope of the domestic and this shift is caused by being aware that I'm no longer on own. I can't live off instant noodles or 7/11 sandwiches. I am now responsible for building a comfortable environment for my child. "Comfortable" isn't the end of it. My standards must also be high, so she'll aspire to live tastefully.


Let me digress before ending entry I. of October 1st. Two or three years ago, I had this conversation with my father:


F: Soon you'll be responsible for more things, and your responsibilities will become more and more difficult as you grow older. You will be responsible for a car soon.


MA: I want to live my life without owning anything. I just want to be happy. (I was thinking about some Greek philosopher. He lived in a barrel (a barrel!!!) by the river and was happy.)


F: (Pauses for what seemed like an eternity) What did I send you to school for?


MA: (In my head) "You didn't get me, did you? To put things simply, I just don't want to be defined by the stuff I own. There's a thin line between being you and using what you have. You gravitate to the objects you want and need. They end up reflecting you. However, some people tend to forget that and end up building their identities through ownership and acquisition...This is beginning to get a bit 'Fight Club…' I don't want to be that kind of person."


And since I was tired or too lazy to explain, this is all that escaped my lips:


I just want to lie on the grass, look at the clouds, enjoy the sunset.


F: Hmm…






A photographer and a writer walk into an art gallery. The paintings offer a visceral assault, thanks to their style, subject, and/or color. The fact that the gallery is simple and white makes everything pop. Before conception, each artwork started from a blank canvas. Now, the gallery assumes the role of blank canvas. Intentional, yes.


The photographer and the writer look around. The writer gravitates to the bright-colored works or those that are cartoonish. The photographer sets up her tripod and begins taking pictures. The writer takes this as her cue and begins to record her ideas by describing the paintings. By this time, the both of them notice a frame. It was shaped like an inverted L, the longer part thicker than the shorter one. It was on the lighter shade of brown. There was no picture in the frame; it was just a glossy white space, just like a whiteboard. It might as well be a whiteboard. Could have been a whiteboard.


Its blankness made the piece stick out like a sore thumb. Otherwise forgettable, the frame managed to get some attention simply because of contrast.


P: What can you say about that one? (points at the artwork)


W: Hmmm…


P: It's all concept.


W: Yes. But I'd like to see some effort.


P: Maybe all the effort's been exerted while thinking up the concept.


W. Possibly. But I still don't like it. Only a select few would get that piece. How can it be enjoyed?


P: Yeah. I am not fond of such works.


W: Me too.


P: The artist is a Harvard graduate. Cum laude.


W: Oh. Smart person. Ok… so?


P: She knows what she's doing. She'd better.


W: Of course she does. (Thinks of the artistic process.) But I still won't buy that.


The photographer and the writer then resume whatever it is they are doing.




The best and worst of me are highlighted whenever I come in contact with anything new, like, say, a milestone or task. It begins in analysis paralysis, picks up in tentative action, meanders in second guessing, digresses in panic, and finds completion in a slow process of calming down. And then the cycle is repeated until I am used to this new thing and I don't feel worried anymore.




You're too much fun; it's difficult to set you aside.


(October 1, 2010)


Anonymous said...

I must say, I like reading your posts, Maria Azuza. :)

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