The World as a Stage

I'm a genius.

You know this to be true simply because I say it is so.

If you need any proof of my genius, simply ask me, "Ciaran, are you a genius?".

I'll tell you that I am.

Q.E.D.

Tonight, I had occasion to go to The World as a Stage. I went with Rebecca and Rosie, who took part in a piece of art by Roman Ondák. She joined hundreds of others in drawing a picture of the "artist" based solely on a description of him. Not everyone got their work hung in the exhibition: only about 30 were chosen. Rebecca's was one of them. It's obviously a very cool thing to say that you had work on show in the Tate.

Rebecca on show at the Tate

What amused me was the writeup for Roman Ondák in the programme. The art by other people was not the only thing in the room. There was also a little video of peoples' feet as they wandered around a gallery with their shoelaces untied. Quoting the programme:

"This quiet act of non-conformity remains ambiguous, suggesting a protest against (or for?) something we can only imagine."

A suggested "protest against (or for?) something we can only imagine"??

Oh please!

What a ridiculous piece of non-commital prose! Why bother? Why not just have an empty room in which to sit and read a good book? Why pulp trees to print flyers with that nonsense? Why not just forget the whole stupid charade in the first place?

The rest of the exhibition went downhill from there, until I came across an interesting timeline/ mural about the Miners' Strike. For such a major incident in my early lifetime, I didn't know much about it, so I read the wall eagerly. At this point, the exhibition was more like a museum piece, so I didn't really see the art in it, but I was lost in there for a good 20 minutes.

Walking between exhibits, we joked that the floor-level lighting in one of the corridors was probably a weird bit of conceptual art. Actually, it was. The Telegraph singled it out as the most compelling piece in the show, no less!

And would you believe it? On going into the exhibition, the attendant who handed out the programmes said to us, "The News at Ten is back!".

I just shrugged, gurgled and moved on.

Rosie didn't, "Sorry? What? What are you talking about?".

"Dunno. They just told me to say it", came the reply.

Apparently, the Telegraph had the answer to this madness:

"What looks at first like a bit of nonsense actually has a purpose – to make you aware that you are leaving one world and entering another, passing from real life into the irrational realms of art.

When I stood at the entrance to the show the attendant said, "Children die in half-term horror", implanting the idea that, by comparison with what happens in real life, the art I was about to see is frivolous and self-indulgent."

"Credo quia absurdum" – "I believe because it is absurd". That seems to be the watchword here, and why I think I'll always have trouble with this bizarre sort of abstract art, or other things that require me to suspend my reason.

Maybe I'm just a grouch…

Still, in that spirit of the absurd: I'm a genius. Credo quia absurdum.

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