The Group’s Monthly Letter – January 2014 – An Intoxicating Otherness

by Geoff Hall on January 31, 2014

January 2014 – An intoxicating otherness

 

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Hi,

What my stay in Huntingdon Beach has taught me thus far, as I dwelt amongst the kindness of friends, is that our work as artists should reveal, as if for the first time, an exotic sense of otherness, an evocation of enchantment, an allure.

 

We should reject the fear of the other, (which seems to be Modernity’s fruit) but it is not so we can be seduced by it, so that the other can take control, so that we become ‘its’ slave. We should embrace it, so that we learn what it is to co-exist.

 

The fruit of this is…peace.
For if we want peace in this world, we have to ‘be’ it, not carry it around like some negotiable commodity.

In this world of antagonisms we make a difference by embracing the other as equal, the other as me.

 

An intoxicating otherness
An exotic differ-ence
I’m working along the lines
of curvaceous palms.

 

For my writing
And my visual storytelling
Knowing this…
That God does not create in straight lines.

 

May our work be less obvious, not working along nor creating the straight lines of a linear narrative, nor producing images that only need to be viewed one time, understanding that symbols are codes and not the language of the every day, that art needs no justification from theologians or academics. And neither does our way of life.

 

Peace,

Geoff HB-CA-92646-2014

2 comments

I´m right with you, Geoff, for most of this post, but could you help me understand what is meant by ´the other´in this context? Maybe you have a link I can follow up.. peace, Kit 🙂

by Kit on February 20, 2014 at 5:18 pm. Reply #

This is what the folks at Wikipedia say, Kit:

“A person’s definition of the ‘Other’ is part of what defines or even constitutes the self (in both a psychological and philosophical sense) and other phenomena and cultural units. It has been used in social science to understand the processes by which societies and groups exclude ‘Others’ whom they want to subordinate or who do not fit into their society. The concept of ‘otherness’ is also integral to the comprehending of a person, as people construct roles for themselves in relation to an ‘other’ as part of a process of reaction that is not necessarily related to stigmatization or condemnation. Othering is imperative to national identities, where practices of admittance and segregation can form and sustain boundaries and national character. Othering helps distinguish between home and away, the uncertain or certain. It often involves the demonization and dehumanization of groups, which further justifies attempts to civilize and exploit these ‘inferior’ others.
The idea of the other was formalized by Emmanuel Levinas, and later made popular by Edward Said in his well-known book Orientalism.[citation needed] Despite originally being a philosophical concept, othering has political, economic, social and psychological connotations and implications.”

Much is said Kit about our inability to cope with the other without demonising it/them. The other is that which I am not, or can be another culture. In terms of my thoughts here it is simply that sense of a new place, with resplendent palm trees, exciting and enticing me. It also speaks of coexistence as opposed to confrontation.

Said’s book on ‘Orientalism’ tells of the subjugation of the other, sexual politics and such like. In this ‘women’ are the other and speaks of our subjugation of women, or indeed of exotic, alien cultures.

Peace,
Geoff

by Geoff Hall on February 20, 2014 at 8:56 pm. Reply #

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