Monday, March 3, 2008

Found Images

By some miracle of technology or lucky intervention, these images (and several others) that I created over a decade ago are still readable thanks to my now ancient Zip Drive. I’m wondering what to make of them.

I remember spending countless hours engrossed in the minutia of each picture, fussing over details most viewers would, in all likelihood, never notice. Was I ill or enraptured? The distinction between artistry and insanity is not always that clear to me.

Leonard Cohen says that it can sometimes take years of revision before he is ready to call a song or poem satisfactory. Perhaps my pictures are like that. Will they ever be finished? Do I even want them to be finished? How can a picture ever be finished, if the artist is always changing?

Today’s me is really an emergent form of the old me; not something radically new. That makes sense, doesn’t it? So each version of any one of these pictures reflects the emergent phenomenon* that goes by the same name on each renewed driver’s license.

Even though I be Born Again down by the riverside, I am still born anew as a version of the self that used to be. Yesterday I may have been just a green plant, but today I emerge as a flower nestled in green leaves. Wow!

When the flower fades and the green leaves wither, will I still be me? Will you recognize me in the wrinkled aftermath of earlier glory or disaster?

*See Jim Sherblom's November sermon at the First Parish in Brookline, "You are an emergent phenomenon".

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