wonder working

That nothing is entirely original has been a subject of interest for years. All ideas, all artwork, all the best of everything that we call “original” is yet derived from things that have preceded it. Every maker of things himself has a history, influences and experiences that set context, and which are partly directive toward what he does that is “new.” The materials he uses were already in existence before he picks them up. In an absolute sense, artists are really only creative re-arrangers. One teacher I had once said that the word “original” has its root in the word and the concept out of origin. Therefore, for something to be “original” it needs to come out of precursors; it is derived from something that went before. Postmodern theory has taken this face on: admitting and highlighting imitation to the point of parody: making “art” that is simply a tongue-in-cheek hogepodge/borrowing in an outright effort to mock that anything could be original, that there even could ever be such a real thing as “art.” In the purest sense, its true: nothing stands alone therefore as truly original, except the very first cause. This is liberating actually. I am a good re-arranger. I am not able to make things out of nothing. There is only One I know who does that.

A short while ago we were in a big Chinese city on Easter Sunday. That day not being any special Holiday there, we were a little out of our element, and missed what we would have been doing at home to welcome the day of original first things, of creative emergence out of death. So my husband and I got up early and walked around taking pictures of the blooming trees. We found others responding the same way. People celebrate when they know they are looking at something wonderful and new, even when it is something they’ve seen the year before. We have so many of these lovely shots, recording the display of color and emergence and beauty. The pixels only remind me of the live moment. This is not pastiche: a patched together borrowing of other things (well, the blooms are not, the building behind it, that’s another story). These lovely blooms are not parody, or the man and his friend in the wheel chair would not be finding delight on the sidewalk. This is simplicity and loveliness and it just sits there waiting to see if anyone notices.

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