Saturday, August 11, 2007

Losing sight

Yesterday we had the good fortune of touring the Broad Foundation in Santa Monica. It’s essentially a lending library of works of art housed in a non-descript five story building right off Main street. It’s also not open to the public so it was cool to be able to see it at all. There were a lot of Ed Ruscha’s paintings and the rest was kind of a mixed bag of photography, sculpture and installations—some of them straight up weird for what appeared to be weird’s sake. And the view from the rooftop sculpture “garden” was swank.

But there was one piece that, even though executionally it fell kinda short for me, was pretty thought provoking. In short, it was a 12 minute film about a woman who is going blind and so is filling her mind with all the images she can before it goes. And as she does, older images are being pushed out. I thought it was a fascinating thought. I’ve always been fascinated by sensory deprivation mainly because I think each of our senses is so, so valuable. So, naturally, it got me thinking.

Isn’t that what we’re all doing? Trying to fill our minds with stuff?

I mean, granted we’re not doing it in a frenzied way under a tight deadline but we’re all trying to see and hear as much as we possibly can, while we still can. We all have lists of places and things we want to see and do. We all have people we need to spend more time with. We all have books and music and paintings and designs and restaurants we want to read and listen to and see and experience and enjoy. Who knows how long we got, ya know?

People are always throwin’ out the hypotheticals about “what if you only had a month to live, what would you do?” or whatever and while I’m much more of a “top five” or a “top ten list” kind of guy, I always come out of those hypoteticals feeling like “hell, I don’t know.” Then again, I’d probably just do something close to what I am doing with a few changes.

I’d probably not work, I’d travel like the bejesus, I’d sleep less, I’d try to see everyone I could, and aside from that I’d probably listen to loads of music, read tons of books and try to see everything I could. And I’d eat my ass off ‘cause hey, one month to live!

But the thought of knowing only one of your senses is ticking away is a whole other question. You’ve got to really think. What if you knew you were going to lose your sense of smell? Or hearing? Or touch? Good lord, can you imagine?

I don't even want to.


Blogger Tania Rochelle said...

Thanks, Howard. This will keep me up at night the way the thought of "nothingness" did when I was a kid.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Howard said...

Sorry. I didn't mean for it to keep anyone up. Especially you, Tania. Hopefully none of us ever have to deal with such a thing. Or if we do, it'll happen suddenly.

8:39 PM  

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