Saturday, May 02, 2009


have i mentioned how much i love andy warhol? no, not lately? it's on my mind today for some reason...on days when i feel particularly disconnected and the whole world slides by me like pictures on a screen, my uninvolved and wondering mind wanders to him.

when i dragged a reluctant bob to the warhol museum last year (at the time, bob had no appreciation for pop art) he made a singular observation after several hours - "warhol is not an artist, he's a philosopher." exactly. not to say that warhol had no artistic talent, of course he did, but his gift lay more in directing us towards a point of view, making us reconsider basic definitions of what "art" is and who we are by the definitions we choose to accept. pointing out the parody of itself that life in america in particular has slid into in the past hundred years. bob and i have regular conversations about simulacra, which defined most simply, means a simulation or a copy of something. putting a group of brillo pad boxes on display and declaring it to be art, the art of advertising and everyday life and consumerism, was just one of warhol's tricks to make us think about who we really are, what we value, and why.

one of the most shattering things ever said to me was something to the effect of "you do realize we made this all up, don't you?" and i immediately swallowed this statement like a pill, felt it disseminating throughout my whole body, seeping into my cells like a drug, changing me from the inside out. it was the simplest most obvious truth i had ever heard, and i still wonder that people don't see it. we invented everything, words have no real meaning in themselves, they are just sounds we all decided upon to represent objects. the rules of society have no intrinsic meaning or foundation, they were simply decided upon by people who assumed they were all meaning the same things when they defined them. if i can't see inside your head, how do i know what "red" looks like to you? we both point to something and say it's "red", but how do i know you see the shade i see? when you say you "love" me , how do i know what that means to you? agreed upon definitions are worthless if we cannot even know that our most basic concepts are similar. it is all a wild guess and compare game, from birth to death.

following this thought path to its end is dangerous to some, liberating to others. just because nothing has meaning doesn't mean there is no joy or hope or beauty to be experienced. on the contrary, emancipating your mind from the constraints of accepted definitions opens you up to appreciate things as they really are - to you and to no one else. love someone or something simply because you do, not because they are or it is acceptably "lovely" or "special"... isn't it enough that you think so? should you ever ever be self-conscious or apologetic for what you like, who you love, what fabric you cover your skin with, how many times you say the word "fuck"? these words and rules were made up long before you arrived here, did you sign a contract at conception that you would accept and abide by them?

warhol loved photo booths...the ultimate simalcrum of ourselves. "look, it's me." but it is not me, it is a representation of me. and furthermore, it is me pretending to be me - "this is me, posing as the me i believe myself to be. look at me."

look at us -now look at you. are you the same person you were before you read this? does it matter?

yes, it does matter. just not in the way you think it does.