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feigned innocence

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

I hesitated a bit when creating this comic yesterday and again now as I am about to post it.  I fluctuate between feeling a bit strange and even inappropriate for even thinking of it to feeling like it’s absolutely okay.  I’m leaning towards okay, so here goes. 

Yesterday, my mom discovered she has a tumor in her bladder.  She was able to see it on ‘tv’ at the doctors office and described it to me as this little coral reef looking thing.  Her sense of humor really came through as she broke the crappy news to me. We’ve been joking about it, imagining wee fish swimming around, kayaks, etc. We’ve debated on names but can’t figure out if it’s a girl or a boy. She made it sound so cute and made her bladder sound so damn visually intriguing that I wished I had taken some video to pop up on YouTube or something. 

When I finally sat down to work on the comic, I could think of nothing but the coral-like bugger.  As much as I told myself that it was not a subject to write a haiku comic about and that it was too personal, it just wouldn’t go away until I did.  I figured I could always opt to not post it and skip this week if need be. But, since my mom doesn’t mind (she laughed and called me nuts), I guess it’s okay to play with her tumor…just this once…so long as I wash my hands. 

Okay, now for something really exciting.  I’ve recently fallen madly in love with the kinetic art of Arthur Ganson!  His work is moving in a way that is hard to explain.  Mechanical parts like hand-made gears revolving and bits of metal clicking against one another might not sound particularly beautiful but in Ganson’s hands these cold pieces of metal seem to conspire, to feel and to have this organic life-creating purpose. Like I said, it’s hard to explain.

Watch the video of Machine and Artichoke Leaf No. 1 and when that little withered artichoke leaf appears on screen, see if you don’t feel something resonate deep within you.  See if you don’t find yourself projecting emotions on to the leaf as well.  Defeat?  Determination?  I think what makes art great is the power to invoke emotion.  To stir our insides up a bit by merely glancing at something…well, that’s pretty powerful stuff in my opinion.

A few other Arthur Ganson favorites of mine are –

Machine with Abandoned Doll – Arthur Ganson

Machine with 23 Scraps of Paper – Arthur Ganson

Machine with Eggshells – Arthur Ganson

Honestly, every one of his kinetic sculptures leaves me feeling rather enchanted. You can watch all the videos of his work on his dreamingmachines channel on YouTube.  If you are really lucky, perhaps you’ll catch Arthur Ganson’s work live at an upcoming exhibition

That’s all for now.  I really hope you check out those Ganson videos and enjoy them as much as I did. 

<3 calan

18 Responses to “feigned innocence”

  1. J Says:

    hey calan, i really hope your mom turns out allright. i cant really find any adequate words for such a situation, but i hope she’s allright.

    on the lighter note, if you are into kinetic you should check out Reuben Margolin and Theo Jansen.

  2. Gabe Says:

    a little polyp
    clings tightly to inner shores
    liberation looms

  3. Chance Abattoir Says:

    Sorry to hear about your mom. 🙁

    It’s great that she can have a sense of humor about it. I’d probably be the same way.

  4. Seraphine Says:

    first of all, hug to you and your mother.

    snorkel the bladder
    multi-colored coral bed
    azure blue water

  5. calan Says:

    thanks all. i’m sticking with the belief all will be fine once they chop the coral out. we were wondering if you can keep something like that. i mean, yes they have to biopsy a tumor, but don’t they just need a tiny piece for that? imagine a coral-like tumor necklace. bet that would fetch a pretty penny on ebay!

    j – ooh i LOVE Theo Jansen’s work. His isn’t only beautiful to watch but he has this whole approach to making his sculptures sustain themselves, sort of learn to survive. they seem alive like most kinetic art, but he really runs with that idea. it’s fascinating and a little nuts. yay!

    i didn’t know MAKE had a tv station on line. jim gets that magazine now and then. interesting stuff. Reuben Margolin’s kinetic sculptures are really cool. i hadn’t heard of him before, so thanks for the link!

  6. Chimera Dragonfang Says:

    Before I clicked the links I wondered if it was the same stuff I saw on some TV show years ago (that David Suzuki science one, maybe, I think). And it is. I remember seeing the walking wishbone back then. It’s kind of creepy in a very cool way.

    serious disease
    i should not laugh about it
    heh, coral tumour

    …So I can actually do this spur-of-the-moment haiku thing after all, crappy as it is.

  7. calan Says:

    Chimera – tis not crappy at all! thanks for the haiku 🙂 yes that wishbone one is great. there’s something about the artichoke leaf that really gets me, though.

    btw, i like your musical note and instrument snowflakes. that idea would work great for jewelry (pendant for example). not as obvious as wearing just a note or a guitar, but more unique and interesting way of wearing your passion for music, you know? would make a cool tattoo as well. 🙂

  8. Marmalot Says:

    Lonely coral reef
    Fed by cigarette toxins
    I will starve you

    Yup, that’s it…quit smoking and starve the sucker!
    500 chemicals in cigarette tobacco…who knew!
    Goodby my enemy, my friend….smoke no more, or trying
    really hard not to. Thank you for all the good wishes, gotta
    find the humor and laugh. GABE: “liberation looms”, love it!
    Hey…that’s my first attempt at a Haiku.

  9. Jim Morey Says:

    coral reefs are nice
    in the middle of the sea
    smiles and healing love

  10. Crinaya Says:

    Oh sweet irony
    Completely unexpected
    Yet somehow just right

    This week I also learned that I have a tumor. Mine’s in my head, and I haven’t seen pictures to draw sea life analogies yet, but this comic was the last thing I expected to see today… Yet I’m glad I did, it made me smile.

    Best of luck to your mother.

  11. calan Says:

    *hugs Marmalot* love! <3

    Crinaya - wow, i'm sure it was an unexpected subject and i'm glad to hear your reaction was a smile. i am sending healing thoughts your way and wish you the very best. my mom had an aneurysm explode in her head - kills most people instantly or at least leaves them with damage but she came out unscathed. another friend of mine had a brain tumor but after treatment also came out completely fine. even though it's a scary time, it sounds like you are staying positive. i honestly believe that is one of the best things you can do. *hugs*

    btw - my mom learned that the tumor type she has is referred to as 'flowery' . so not only is it pretty but it has a pretty name. strange for something that has a rather ugly nature. mom saw the comic last night and said it looks more like brain coral than elk horn which means my illustration is kinda way off. fortunately, i don't care about accuracy or realism. 😛

  12. Seraphine Says:

    start the new gold rush
    the ebay coral-shaped tumor
    spawns imitations

  13. Anne Van Atta Says:

    Hi Calan,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your mom, but you both are handling the diagnosis the right way, I think–with dark beautiful humor…. and Arthur Ganson is amazing; thanks for sharing all… and I hope it’s alright to curse on your blog, if I may (I apologise if not but anyway) … FUCK CANCER!!!!

    Love, Anne

    Into the dark blue
    life’s a mystery of love
    mom will be ok

    what more do we need?
    companions on the journey
    help us everyday

    healing thoughts abound
    It’s a flowery tumor so
    we’ll make a bouquet

    fuck cancer my dears
    we can choose to laugh or cry
    fighting all the way

  14. calan Says:

    thanks anne 🙂 love the haiku. ” it’s a flowery tumor so we’ll make a bouquet” – what an awesome line. you rock.

  15. Seraphine Says:

    i vote anne gets the haiku of the year award.

  16. Lynda Says:

    Calan, you and your mom rule for handling things the way you do, I wish her loads of luck and healing vibes. One of my uncles had a bladder tumor and he came through that time with all his awesomeness intact so I know in my heart your mom’ll be okay.

    Comics are great therapy. *hugs*

    Diggin’ the Arthur Ganson stuff!

  17. matthew Says:

    Wow, this is probably the latest i have ever posted. Sorry for that.

    Every time you give us a tiny insight to your mothers personality i like the woman more. She seems very cool and someone i would get along with just fine. I will keep her in my thoughts. The power of positive thinking.

    The comic is great. I love the wind swept hair. The diver is creepy…like some surgeon coming to disrupt the serene scene before us. Doctors creep me out a little.

    I absolutely love Arthur Ganson’s stuff. The artichoke leaf is so good. I love how it seems to move just like a human in deep thought out for a walk on a forever hill. Like that is how his mind looks when it goes away in thought. The 23 scraps of paper are so relaxing. Just imagining an ocean in the background and the cool breeze as they seem to float by in lazy flight. Just a great image. The baby is cool but it doesn’t do as much for me. One of my favorites not listed would be the Thinking Chair. I love the noise it makes and the way the whole machine looks when you get to see the thing in its entirety.

    I am gaining a whole collection of artists to keep track of thanks to you.

    I am so very tired right now so i cannot think of a haiku for this weeks entry. Sorry about that. I may add one later when it no longer matters 🙂

  18. calan Says:

    thanks lynda! yeah, i think a bladder tumor is a sort of fortunate type to get. now i’m imagining lucky tumor key chains like those creepy ‘lucky’ rabbit’s feet they used to sell. ugh! i actually had one of those as a kid. loved to pet it and rub it on my face. gross, i know.

    thanks matthew. i’m glad you love ganson’s stuff too. i know what you mean about the way the chair looks when the camera pulls back and you see the whole thing. that approach is used in a few films and it just makes it that much more powerful. whoever did those lil videos for him, really needs commending. they really add a lot to the sculptures i think.

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