Faith (Typographic Wisdom II) to get you through the rest of your week.
FAITH=ART and ART=FAITH
T.S. Eliot also noted that culture can be defined as “that which makes life worth living.” Art is the evidence of that search for the elusive path toward our thriving, toward “that which makes life worth living.” Art can therefore be defined as “the substance of things hoped for,” the visible thread of that worthiness of life revealed in culture.
Of course, this is the term the writer of the Book of Hebrews used to describe faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Art also is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”"
I’ve been thinking about this kid since I saw him on Saturday.
I had spent that morning taking photographs of Family Day at the Museum of Contemporary Art, a monthly program where the museum offers free admission to families and have multiple stations of art making and art interaction for both kids and parents. I am there as a silent documentarian, taking notes with my camera so that the museum has images they can use for promotion as well as presentation material to receive funding. I walk up to the kids and ask, “What are you making?” They answer, and I ask if it’s ok if I take some photographs of them while they create. The kids almost always say yes, and I glance at the parents for their own nod of approval, after which I spend a few minutes capturing the scene.
For this recent Family Day the museum transformed their atrium into an enormous cardboard maze, none of which was anchored to the ground in any way, allowing the kids to move the large cardboard pieces to new places, creating a new maze with every move. They built tunnels, formed barriers, boxed themselves in, made exits, and in a scurry of excitement would at times bulldoze through the walls. The cardboard was large and the walls went above most of the kids heads. Parents stood on the outside looking over the walls and tracking their running children up and down the atrium.
Another station was called “Nightmare Swatters” which consisted of tables with crafty-looking bits of paper and cardboard and tape and pipe cleaners. The kids and parents made objects to swat away their bad dreams back in their bedrooms at night. One girl made what looked like a small tennis racket, while another girl made a long, thin piece with a grip at the bottom and red fuzzy pipe cleaners protruding from the top in all directions, like a spiked baseball bat, but gentler and brighter.
It’s all so generative, this making that gives life, making that speaks a message to the kids that they are good and that they are capable and that they make beautiful things. I get the privilege of watching and documenting these kids in the midst of their formation. I want to build a small altar in the corner of the museum and light incense and say a prayer of gratitude to God, a thank you for showing me that there is good in the world and allowing me to be a part of it, but if I did that I would likely get fired, so instead I walk up to the Alexander Calder exhibit and look at the mobiles and wink at them, as though they inhabit God in their strong metal pieces and gentle sway.
After two hours of shooting I left the museum and walked out to the corner of Chicago and Michigan where I was to catch my bus, and there stood this kid holding his sign, earbuds drowning out both the noise of the city and and the silence of being generally ignored.
I looked at him and thought about when I was his age, how my mother died around that time and how scared I was to be alive in a world of death. I thought about all of the kids at the museum as they made beautiful things, like those swatters that they could hold up in the air and bat away the darkness of the world. And I thought about how courageous he must have been, that kid holding the sign on the corner, how he was standing there on a gorgeous Saturday morning because adults likely told him that it was the right thing, that he was doing God’s work in the city. Maybe he wanted to bat away the darkness as well, but instead of an instrument of light someone had handed him an instrument of condemnation and death and pain.
I get it, kid. When I was your age I could have easily been doing the same thing, and now as an adult I find at times that I’m no different; I hold up my own signs that push my views and dogmatism on others all the time, with a similar belief that I am doing God’s work. Maybe one of the main differences between you and me is that you have more courage. It’s astounding, really, to see you so young and so bold. So today I will build a small altar for you, light some incense and pray to God that you will take all that fierce courage in your body and one day use it in a way that is life-giving and gentle, full of love for yourself and for others, stronger than any sign that’s ever been made. You’ve got it in you; I saw it, and I’m sorry that my only gesture was to take a photograph behind your back. Maybe one day I’ll have your courage, a boldness that would enable me to go up to you and tell you how good you are and how good you will be, and to say Come over here with me and let’s make different signs.
"When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life… fear is no longer a dominant factor in what you do, and no longer prevents you from taking action to initiate change"
Eckhart Tolle (via thatkindofwoman)
"She quietly expected great things to happen to her, and no doubt that’s one of the reasons why they did."
Zelda Fitzgerald (via perfect)
"The only people I would care to be with now are artists and people who have suffered: those who know what beauty is, and those who know what sorrow is: nobody else interests me."
Oscar Wilde (via thatkindofwoman)
I miss him.