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Street Conversations: Lines





Lines.


Creation is an act of God.

I’m going to groan now.


I thought you were paying attention?

Not when you talk like that.


It’s how I see it.

I don’t disbelieve you.


You’re mocking me.

Yes.


I’ll stop.

You want me to stop?

Let’s hear it.


Try and keep your groans to a minimum, will you?

No promises.


I hate you so much sometimes.

Thank you.


Okay, so it goes: when God created us, he made us in his image—

If you believe in that.


Believing doesn’t matter. It’s the myth. The idea. Truth is pointless. In Western society, we’re taught that that’s how God made us.

He looked inside himself and said, “There needs to be more of me.”

I really hope he did say that.


Me too.

At any rate, that’s—mythologically speaking—that is the first time we hear about creation. That’s the first moment. It takes place before our parents explain our creation. It’s the big moment.

The result of this is that when we—as a species, whatever—go to create, we look within ourselves.

You’re so serious sounding with this.


You wanted to hear it, didn’t you? It’s my theory. You asked.

I thought you would shrug it off.


I’ve been giving it thought since you asked.

The other night, when I sat down to write, I examined everything in front of me. Where it came from, why I was attracted to it, everything. It has always been this subconscious thing, but when I started to notice, that’s when I realised that what I do is take what is inside me and place it down. I sit it on the page and I tend it. I nurture it. I grow it.

I’m God making the World.

It’s what any artist—musician, writer, painter, skittles designer, whatever—it’s what they do until the work is its own thing.

But still part of them?


Well, of course. For all its independence, it’s still a representation of the artist.

That—that is the biggest load of shit I’ve heard you ever say.


You could have just disagreed.

I do. I do. It’s just—

I’m just so tired of listening to art explained as a life expression. You can only make worthwhile art if you live it first, they say. It’s ridiculous.


What about Charles Bukowski?

Bukowski is your example of a ‘God’ making the World?


I didn’t say that!

The implication was there.


You can’t dismiss the idea just because of that. God is the most expressed concept in Western society.

It’s influential.

I get it, y’know? I do.

Bukowski is even a good example of what you’re saying. In life he gambled, drank, and treated women like stray dogs, and that’s how he portrayed them in his fiction and poetry.

I get it.

But Bukowski was just a type of artist, and that artist and that idea of living it to create it is—is a disease on artists minds!


So you feel strongly about this, yeah?

Are you mocking me because I mocked you?


Could be.

You’ve got to agree, though, that not all art is influenced by the life led? I mean, if you think that, you’re missing a lot of what art is about it.


You’re insane. You think the concept of an artist is completely useless when concerned with the appreciation of art.

It is.


Do I need to reference Bukowski again?

You just don’t understand me.


Sure I do. You’re just wrong.

Imagine we’re characters.


What?

Imagine we’re made up.


We don’t exist outside this moment.

All we are and all we ever will be is a pair of characters talking.


Are we some place nice?

Just imagine lines of dialogue.


That’s all?

Lines of dialogue, back and forth. No scene setting, no descriptions, nothing.


There ought to be some sort of scene description.

Just—can you just imagine this?


Sure.

What colour are you?


Well, I’m—

Don’t say!

Imagine you’re reading this.

Imagine you’re just looking at our lines.


How am I supposed to know then?

That’s my point. How do you picture two voices if the artist hasn’t provided you with anything? We could be Chinese, Australian, Russian, Iraqi, whatever.


What’s the point?

What?


Sure, we could be anything, but what’s the point?

My point is that the audience has to flesh it out.


Creation is left to them?

Exactly.


How do they decide?

By examining themselves.


Art is not created in a vacuum. It needs an audience to exist, to flesh it out, to give life to it. In the context of our lines, it means that if a Japanese person is reading this, then we are Japanese.


That’s just the same as what I was saying earlier.

It’s not.


It is!

There is no God in this creation.

There’s only the reader, the viewer, the whatever the audience is. Only they do the creation. To go back to your example, that means that it is not God who created us, but rather that it is us, the audience, who created him.


You’re such an atheist.

Why can’t you take this seriously?


‘Cause you’re an idiot. If I could leave, I would.

Look, you’ve got your theory, and I’ve got mine. Why can’t you just allow that I have a point?


It’s ridiculous.

The audience is what gives a work life.

In any single audience member, there are any numbers of sockets that can be tapped into by an artist. Pick your art, I don’t care, the principle applies to all. The artist arrives with their creation, but it’s stillborn until it comes into contact with the audience, until it finds the right socket, connects, and has life breathed into it.


But the artist has to create first.

The artist is part of the audience.

At the best, all you can say is that they are a parasite, using the lives of millions to create.


So to you, there’s no single creation point?

Exactly.




You see my point?


No.

Well, I’m not buying into your God creation theory either.


You’re so insufferable at times.

Thank you.










Hey.

Yeah?


Our Chinese is ready.


(There. The last Street Conversation. I'll be posting a second entry in a moment to be used as a memory/link page where I'll fill in the usual details and thank the people who must be thanked. Thanks for reading. Hopefully I'll do more.)

Comments

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deborahb
Apr. 6th, 2005 04:41 am (UTC)
It's a good thing you stopped with this one. These people were almost ready to climb out of the page, I think.
benpeek
Apr. 6th, 2005 04:59 am (UTC)
heh. that makes me think of when people say to you, 'you're clothes are so dirty and smelly they're about ready to climb off you.' i'm just going to assume they don't mean the same thing :)
deborahb
Apr. 6th, 2005 06:50 am (UTC)
;) Er, no, different meanings, I'm pretty sure.
deborahb
Apr. 6th, 2005 06:51 am (UTC)
And, um, do you hear that phrase a lot ... ?
benpeek
Apr. 6th, 2005 10:50 am (UTC)
heh. no. it was just something mum would say when we were kids.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 6th, 2005 07:12 am (UTC)
ben where was the location for that pic? curious because it reminds me of my old high school in lewisham...

john
benpeek
Apr. 6th, 2005 10:52 am (UTC)
it's of the church in the middle of parra mall, up from church street, near the train station. it's of a section of the roof. i took it ages ago, and it became the final image.
shadowsandice
Apr. 6th, 2005 10:04 am (UTC)
Verra cool note to end on.

Er...encore?
benpeek
Apr. 6th, 2005 10:54 am (UTC)
thank you.

i'm going to see what i can do with this, first. i probably will do more, cause i dug it, but it won't be for a while. my brain is a week away from being fried. afterwards, there's thesis academic work... a while. a while.
chrisbarnes
Apr. 6th, 2005 10:44 am (UTC)
Good finish to the series, Ben.

I did find it a little disconcerting, though, when I started hearing your voice as Black and Deb's as Red. And vice versa as well. :-)
benpeek
Apr. 6th, 2005 10:57 am (UTC)
i'm sure deb is going to be horrified. i'm sure she's also going to laugh at the idea that i'd be the god referencing one :)

my initial plan with this was to make it read like it was a conversation between one person. battle of the minds. but it didn't really work the way i had it, and to keep it readable, i had to drop that part. i reckon i can use it in some other fashion though.

anyhow, glad you liked it.
deborahb
Apr. 6th, 2005 12:23 pm (UTC)
That's weird. I find that disconcerting, too. Are we your 2 favourite people in the world, Chris? ;)
chrisbarnes
Apr. 6th, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC)
>Are we your 2 favourite people in the world, Chris?

Er... why yes. Yes you are. *backs away slowly*

(I don't really know why I imagined the dialogue in your voices. I guess those lines just seem like things that you two might say. There's any number of other people who might say them too. But right then, my mind cast you two as Black and Red. So maybe in fact, yes, at that one moment, you WERE my 2 favourite people in the world.)
deborahb
Apr. 6th, 2005 01:57 pm (UTC)
No need to back away!

I've already done that.

Don't be alarmed, Chris ... don't ... be .... alarmed ...

(*runs*)
benpeek
Apr. 6th, 2005 11:12 pm (UTC)
*left building ages ago.*
future_conduit
Apr. 7th, 2005 12:22 pm (UTC)
if people were created in GOD's image, then why don't you ever hear about GOD's wife/gilfriend?
nice one Ben! enjoyed the series thoroughly.

you seem to be utterly intruiged with the whole concept of religion. i'm glad that there are other people out there who question the relevance of it all.

also, i've been thinking about your idea of sketches/images from an artist. i fancy myself to be quite handy with a pencil/ quill and ink pot (tho, not doing anywhere near as much painting/drawing as i once did). i know u haven't seen any of my work, but if it's at all humanly possible i'll post some stuff on my LJ some time soon. see what u think.


benpeek
Apr. 7th, 2005 12:53 pm (UTC)
Re: if people were created in GOD's image, then why don't you ever hear about GOD's wife/gilfriend?
i'm not fully intrigued by religion, got to say. i'm just interested int he ways it sort of gets tied into our psyche, and not the books and who was right and who was wrong and all of that. organised religion bores me, but religion as an idea in our life... that interests me.

as for the drawing, i got to be honest upfront and say i've got someone who is doing a few samples for me, and we're going to see if it'll workout. nothing written in stone, still seeing where it lays and all that... but unless his ideas and mine are complete opposite ends, it looks good. if it doesn't work out, i'll be more than happy to have a look, though.
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