October 22, 2005
I'm just doing my job.
Last night after work I went to the bike shop just to hang out, maybe do some cleaning and there were a few people there working on bikes and talking. I didn’t get any cleaning done but I did have fun chatting. I had two free tickets to the screening of the movie “Darwin’s Nightmare” at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis and asked if any of them wanted to go with me. Tom said he wanted to go. I knew this would be an interesting and fun night. Tom and I first rode our bikes to SA so I could get some cash. Then we went to Blink Bonnies for dinner. That was good. I bought dinner for Tom and we sat there talking while eating. Then he bought a cookie so he could get change for the bus.
After eating we loaded our bikes onto the 94 Express bus and rode it from downtown St. Paul to Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, then rode our bikes down Hennepin to the Walker. What’s with the bike lane just ending, leaving us in the middle of the road with a bus on our right side, a car on the left and a car tailgaiting? City planners should ride their bikes sometime and see what that feels like. Then riding the bike the rest of the way to the Walker felt like riding on a freeway. Anyway, we made it safely and locked our bikes up. We were almost an hour early for the show but it was better than being late. We picked up our free tickets and the nice man also gave us passes to visit the museum. That was good. Tom and I had a good laugh though at one of their main installations, by Yong Ping, a Chinese man living in France. Well, some of it was very thoughtful but we were laughing about a few of the paintings which Tom referred to as “Finger Paintings.” they were abstract paintings that looked like paint smeared onto large canvases. I told Tom that my next painting was going to be a finger painting in honor of our visiting the Walker. Haha, now I need the canvas and the theme. It’ll be fun. Anyway, some of the other artwork was very interesting and makes me wonder. For instance, a book on the history of Chinese Art that had been run through the washing machine and the wet paper placed in a pile like a dung-heap over a piece of broken glass on top of an empty wooden box. What is he trying to say? To me I can only imagine, because of my upbringing and the whole ‘cold-war’ anti-communist struggle, that Chinese documentation about art was full of rhetoric and spin when art is about life and making statements about living life. This particular piece, like some of the others there, was visually raw, evoking in me kind of a disgusted feeling. Another one was the large display with the long animal cages, raw bones, mostly eaten laying on the floors, representing one of the two options at the customs gates in airports. The signs above the cage-like hallways and the free passages read “Others” and “Nationals” I definately felt the feeling of being singled out as being an outsider, untrusted and alien, subjected to being eaten alive, down to the bones. When you are given no other choice but to go through the animal cage corridor, there has to be fear of what will happen to you.
We looked around the museum some more, then it was time to see the movie, Darwin’s Nightmare. I’m not going to talk much about this movie, but there was one statement in particular I’d like to share. One of the Russian pilots who flew guns in and fish out knew very well what his cargo was, but when confronted with a direct question about his cargo he turned away from the camera and said, “I’m just a radio technician. It’s not my job to know what’s in the cargo.” It struck me that this is the same kind of attitude that many of the people in Germany took leading up to World War II. To the Russian Pilot it was just business and he knew to keep his nose out of where it did not belong or risk losing his income. He knew he was hauling grapes for Christmas from one location in Africa for instance to the children in Europe and hauling guns back to the children in Africa. Nice Christmas present huh? In a recognition of this problem, the pilot felt guilty, but helpless to change it. It’s part of the system he knows and is working within to make a living.
“Right Living” really means, “it is my business, my responsibility to stop contributing to the horrors of the world and find a way to contribute something helpful, beneficial to mankind. ‘Just doing my job’ doesn’t alleviate guilt or the suffering inflicted on others. The time to make art is in every day life. That’s where statements of awareness are needed. Oh man that’s hard sometimes! It takes a certain amount of self-assuredness and lack of fear. When we think, “How will I survive?” it’s a scary thought and we think we are alone. But at the other end of the custom’s gate, there is a ‘other’ feeling helpless and alone at the monolithic collective power forcing them through the tiger’s cage. How can I survive against an attitude of “it’s not my business to know my cargo, I just do my job?”
Posted by carl1236 at October 22, 2005 11:44 AM | Attitude