post-holiday post

I remember, i have a blog!

I’m back from a couple of weeks leave, which were spent, delightfully, doing almost nothing. I had originally planned to be in Italy but we decided it would take much less energy to travel down the road to daylesford for a long weekend, which was interrupted only slightly by the smell of smoke from a bushfire on the horizon, and spend the rest of the time at home – watching The Wire obsessively on dvd, resurrecting a sunburnt garden, and making occasional forays to art galleries and the movies.

The Wire is superb – it’s not on tv in australia yet, which is hard to believe. I really wish Underbelly [which i hate] would disappear and this would be put on instead… though it has been noted that i’m swearing much more since watching it [those who know me beyond this blog may find it hard to believe that’s possible].

I went to the Bill Viola video installation, Ocean without a Shore, at the NGV on Sunday.

It’s just been purchased as part of the permanent collection, and it’s just wonderful. I’ve seen a few of his installations, and this one feels like it’s the perfect choice for melbourne. The crude description is that it’s videos of people walking through a wall of water, from clouded obscurity into vivid reality… the real description is that it’s about humanity, mortality, beauty, fragility… I know people will christianise it, and say it’s a great depiction of baptism or resurrection, but it’s also fundamentally human at its very core, and to christianise it runs the risk of diminishing the common humanity that is expressed. Sometimes we forget that christianity doesn’t hold the copyright on every experience of transcendence.

This a youtube video of Bill Viola talking about the installation.

On the movie front, ‘I’ve loved you so long’ was the pick – achingly beautiful.

It seems we’re in the middle of Lent, which has pretty much passed me by completely. The fires here, which were an urgent threat in many communities for nearly 4 weeks have overshadowed anything else, and really will for a long time. It’s impossible to comprehend what it would be like to live with that threat for so long – to be in the ‘now and not yet’ peculiar to this kind of devastation – people living in the aftermath of that first frightful weekend of the fires, trying to come to terms with the loss of people they love, with the loss of possessions, and with the loss of everything familiar both physical and spiritual – and yet having to be aware that there are fires still burning that could change direction at any moment and wreak their devastation again.

Talking about deliberately entering a wilderness, or thinking that any wilderness we could conjure up for lent might actually bear some resemblance to reality, seems somewhat crass this year. The concepts of loneliness, fear, desolation, resilience and mortality have all been ratcheted up a notch, taken to a place that faith is yet to reach.

6 Comments

  1. hey we’ve started watching the wire and i’m loving it! love the theme tune too.

  2. LauraHD

    It’s not effing possible to blinkin swear more than you or I currently do! ;-p Sadly we’ve already finished season 5 of The Wire – so am having to relive it vicariously through the likes of you… Good news – it’s going to be shown on BBC2 over here so will spread it’s goodness even further.

  3. one episode left of season 4… we’re rationing them now, because it’s going to be over all too quickly. though i do think that we could watch it all over again and see all new things… at least i hope so…

  4. Craig

    hey, I wasnt christianising viola. he sees all that in it. he’s a lapsed episcopalian and sees all kinds of religious imagery in things…

    (all said in good humour….!)

  5. must go read what you wrote! i don’t think i meant it as harshly as it sounded there… i just don’t want us to feel like walking through a threshold is ‘our’ thing… will stop talking right now because i’m only making it worse…

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