“Keep the best, forget the worst and add some more,” said Jon Elms, the lead singer of WHITECITYLIGHT, with a story to match his voice (both which I’ve hardly touched the surface of). I may have mentioned this before, or shown it by sharing their words, but let me say explicitly this time: I live with three incredibly inspiring people…
It was a response to discussions we were having with Jonny Gloss, the eyes and hands that designed, painted, sculpted and created this hidden-away converted-warehouse oasis. At this stage our chat-over-cider-then-tea was on the topic of inter-generational identification.
Have you ever noticed the way we define ourselves by our differences? You are brunette, I am blonde. You are smart, I am dumb. You are … I am …
Between generations this translates to adopting or rejecting our parent’s philosophies. Those with overly dictatorial parents become the most laisse fraire, to the extent that their children go abuse the freedom. Or they copy the dictatorial style. And vice versa. The balance, the in-between, is much harder to achieve.
Those with atheists for parents remain atheists or turn to religion. Those brought up in a religion stay in it or tend to completely reject it altogether. Children with dads who wear Billabong, cause the brand to go broke.
Jon’s solution, to “keep the best, forget the worst and add some more,” suits these situations where we choose what to take from our parents, what to forget, and how we might make it better. It also suits our definitions of our identity – taking from our own personality the best, working to rid ourselves of the worst, and continually exposing ourselves to new things and doing the same. Like Jonny’s motto from my last entry, a simple philosophy like this is useful in many situations.
If we constantly take the best from the past, or even taking the best from whatever is available to us in the present, and put the crap we don’t need in the trash, then add some more… who knows where we will end up.
Maybe this inspirational conversation had a direct relation to the exhibition we had just experienced: the phenomenal work of our third housemate Maddi Milasas. Maddi was exhibiting her group’s project that incorporates light, sound, space and technology to simulate an environment and play with the connections and disconnections of worlds and action.
Part of the Ghost[s] and the[ir] machines exhibition sharing interactive experiences of Cockatoo Island (in Sydney Harbour) with viewers (who are simultaneously participants and co-creators), Maddi and her team programed and built an simulated sound-scape that, well, like anything experiential, words can’t describe. With earphones on one got lost in a world apart, a world of one’s own.
The first time I felt lost in a bad way – as in “I don’t get it” and “I kinda feel like an idiot walking around this square not really know what I’m listening to” kind of way. Then after a chat about what I was hearing and doing, I understood: the sounds were constantly changing, like they do in every location, but they were still connected to the location where I was standing.
I put the earphones back on. This time I stood still for longer and moved around in way that registered the scene. I got lost in the sense of being absorbed into another world: my imagined version of a world that does exist in some form, on Cockatoo Island, but has been replicated through the interpretations including now my own. Through the sounds that I could hear as I walked around a square of 2 by 2 metres my mind constructed a world.
I now have a “memory” of this imagined world, as “seen” through sounds. Water rushing through a river. Birds chirping. Strong winds. Trees and scruffling. Were these the sounds I was meant to hear? No one knows, not even the creators.
There is no right or wrong. There was only my experience, and other’s experience, and all are slightly different – caused by the interaction of an “observer” who also had a few buttons to press and knobs to turn, which affected the “subjects” experience.
Oh I could philosophise this for hours! But I won’t. With Jon and Jonny I kind-of have already, and I’m sure I’ll continue to be inspired by the happenings of tonight. But I have an early start tomorrow: teaching Pilates to a couple of academics.
In closing I would like to say that I feel lucky to share a house with these creative spirits. And if you are anywhere near Sydney University in the next couple of weeks, check out Maddi’s exhibition inside of the Old Darlington School 20-24 June 2012 | 12pm-9pm.