human minds were not
meant to divide attention
ten different ways
An early morning in May, I went for a routine walk to enjoy the sunrise and make some photographs in a nearby forest preserve area. On the same route I had gone out on, I returned and found an object in the road. I didn’t know what it was at first. In disbelief, I made a photo on my iPhone, to send to my Dad who confirmed it was indeed a loaded handgun in a holster. He called in a report to the county police, who drove to the site within a 15 minutes. Upon the officer’s arrival, my dad met him there, and the owner of the gun had returned after noticing it was gone when he arrived to work. The owner explained the handgun must have been on the top of his truck, as he backed out of his driveway that morning to take his daughter to school and go off to work. The handgun must have slid off and fallen in the road, where I found it. This man happens to teacher of the concealed carry course in the area. No citations were made. No human is perfect, and this experience perfectly highlights the shocking changes in the quiet, small-town neighbourhood I grew up in.
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Words are supposedly made up, but does that mean they lose their meaning? The words still mean what they mean. So is not the words that is the problem but the ideas about the words that seem to be in flux- when does an idea ever justify violence? Vision of complete peace and harmony would say never. So then, how could a motive to peace and harmony inflict a kind of suffering that is also a form of violence?
Words are used to communication, to convey information, and hopefully come to a kind of agreement. When there is not agreement, there is conflict. Conflict of values, conflict of interest, clashing vision, different desired outcomes? Not always. A shared outcome could still result in seeing different pathways toward an outcome. What is the point of discussing the terminology in abstract form? To gain some kind of space-to make make a calm approach towards a volatile subject. The the with volatile subjects is humans are animals and still maintain some kind of instinct to pounce, deal with the thing now. That does not always result in the most generative outcome.
Words can be used as guises for something else. And in an effort to maintain what is what, and the meaning of words used as ideals for cultural values – freedom comes up all the time. The ideal of freedom is supposedly grasp as right for some and not right for others. That there would be a correct understanding of freedom is something worthwhile to sit up straight for. To pay some attention to what is this idea, what is about ideas that posses and drives people, and which of those ideas create the outcomes desired.
being without is not freedom
freedom requires effort
easier as it may seem to do without than to work for what you want
there is a delicate balance between striving and allowing
providing and contentment
at any time one has given grief, uttered contempt, or proclaim a higher order to be knowing -then the Etymology dictionary services as tool to find out what’s really going on at the heart of the matter. It’s not really free to use, though we imagine that-since it’s online. But for anyone who has the privilege to use the resource of the internet- here we are:
Old English freodom “power of self-determination, state of free will; emancipation from slavery, deliverance;” see free (adj.) + -dom. Meaning “exemption from arbitrary or despotic control, civil liberty” is from late 14c. Meaning “possession of particular privileges” is from 1570s. Similar formation in Old Frisian fridom, Dutch vrijdom, Middle Low German vridom. Freedom-rider recorded 1961 in reference to civil rights activists in U.S. trying to integrate bus lines.
It has been said by some physicians, that life is a forced state. The same may be said of freedom. It requires efforts, it presupposes mental and moral qualities of a high order to be generally diffused in the society where it exists. [John C. Calhoun, speech, U.S. House of Representatives, Jan. 31, 1816]
Freedom fighter attested by 1903 (originally with reference to Cuba). Freedom-loving (adj.) is from 1841.
For a year, I wrote by hand on paper, a haiku-a-day. Then I translated the haikus to Norwegian, using Google Translate. Of course, these translations are not accurate and likely make little sense. This act is a modern enactment of the term: transliterations. Sometimes bad translation can be funny and sometimes they can be rude, or in extreme cases fatal.
As a personal endeavour, as in much of my work, I look for ways to transform frustration into joy, alter forms of ridicule to reveal the ridiculous. In this project, I ask can laughter be in service to mending divided relations? or are such aspirations purely naive in the times we live today. Can understanding the words we use everyday are so easily misunderstood-that people can fall in love with misunderstanding and this delight in misunderstanding creates the basis of hate and conflict? Can looking at the misunderstanding as a situation of error, reveal our humility and regrow understanding of and for each other?
The project services a study in structure and rules, such that an English poem following the rules of Haiku, are then broken when translated. In this case project, the words were translated to Norwegian. In an exhibition, the poems could be translated to another language. The original language could be different and then translated into English. The transliteration can go all ways.
The idea to do this haiku project started with a desire to learn Norwegian because I was about to move there and experiencing a great deal of existential fear in relocating from the safe knowing of my home country. I had no reason really to leave, but only the invitation to join my beloved across the ocean.
The language courses were difficult; so I distracted myself from the pain of misunderstanding the grammar and became enamoured with studying the etymology of words- the pace of learning Norwegian was slowed. And in many ways, though deeply frustrating at times still-I learned a great deal about the English language and how I have used words I thought I new their meaning and really, in fact, did not. And if in today’s culture speaking words with different meanings is permitted-then how do we uphold the structures which we rely upon?
Enter the value in latency of learning: The ripples, halos, after effects of learning and having the learning come around later.
Exhibition Note: The project is protected by international, intellectual copyright laws. An interactive exhibition invites visitors to write-in their haikus to be translated as part of playing with words and learning different cultures. I would like to see a world amongst our technological connectivity, where difference is appreciated.