Finding the Right Words

Kung Fu for blog

As an Englishman, I like to choose my words carefully. In other words, avoiding controversy at all costs. Recently, I have used, in this still nascent blog, 2 words which may have negative connotations or even wrongly used.

I used the word ‘languid’, partly because I like it (even though it connotes laziness), but also because it was meant to imply the movement of people who know their body can move in effective ways, maximising the conversion of energy, without the need for overtly physical effort. I am thinking here of the moment in Kung Fu films where the action is slowed down, to emphasise the grace of the martial artist or to maximise the impression of power. I have to say I was watching the movement of Warrior artists on the live feed. This imparts an ethereal light to the space, and to the movements of people a dreaminess which is cinematic, not just because I’m looking at it on a screen.

The second word was ‘Intervention’, etymologically ‘a coming between’. Often used to imply action where something has gone wrong, as in a military intervention, or, in psychology, a kind of therapy.

Interventions in art have a long history, Duchamp’s urinal is considered by some to have been an intervention, a protest against bourgeois ideas about art (incidentally one of the few photographs of which was in front of Marsden Hartley’s painting The Warriors). But it’s said in the 60s he made a limited edition to sell (one of which sold for nearly 2 million in the 1990s), thereby selling the soul of the origin of conceptual art.

But it’s not my intention here to judge, preferring to believe that art has an educative function and is in a way an intervention between the viewer and the world, the education element being that it teaches us to see differently, or see things not seen before. But also in being so becomes integrated in the world, an essential element without which we would fall apart.

So what, so what in the context of this space is an intervention?

Later, and earlier, and later and on and on we had and will have a conversation about ego, a Freudian concept, and as such as intervention can mean a mediation, collaboration, a political concept, the root of Sartre’s Nausea, destruction, change, addition, growth, accretion, that is in art the process, addition, development, reappraisal, resurrection, and the suffering of self in this Cathedral of Erotic Misery.

Here’s a quote from John Berger’s Ways of Seeing – only because I like it:

‘The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.’


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