that my dictionary tells me lots of things about (‘abstract’) but leaves me just as sober when closing the book as opening a bottle.
So rather than define it, or try to work within the challenge‘s stated parameters, let’s see what we can do with a camera and the whole world as our oyster. No, not just the world—the entire universe itself working on my behalf to provide you with an image of an abstract. Abstraction. Bugger … a metaphysical thing*.
Like this, below: one moment in annihilation’s waste, a flicker in all eternity, and I caught it. Okay, my camera caught it—hundreds of Japanese technicians working on software and hardware, hundreds and tens of thousands, millions even of people around the world working (for money) driving everything from earth-moving machines to airliners and cows; just for this fleeting image. I feel quite humbled …
I say fleeting. I caught it, but you can’t. No-one can, not even me. This moment will never be reproduced, this pattern is most definitely a ‘oncer’. So does that alone qualify it as an abstract? Don’t ask—
—just enjoy. The darker fuzzy bits are gold-bearing sands, the lighter particle patterns are (I think) some form of quartz, the whole (which stretches for miles) is Oreti Beach—and the abstract was quite innocently, naively, and unknowingly, created by the surf. A mindless bunch of waves and footless schloggs of sea-foam created something that with the very best will in the world and all human technology no-one could ever hope to reproduce. No?
Suitably humbled, let’s move on—
—and no prizes given for recognising right away what this bunch of white blobs and black spotty things on a red field is. Are. The bluey sheen is courtesy of a clear sky overhead coupled with a polarising filter that did sterling work but couldn’t nail ’em all. It is a living abstraction, and will soon die—but now its image will live on.
IN A SIMILAR VEIN
but totally different, does a bunch of deceased leaves qualify for the term ‘abstract’? I neither know nor care, here’s yer leaves and do with them what thou wilt. As for themselves, they’ve already wilted but that’s just Mother Nature at work creating a philosophical abstract (but I couldn’t photograph that, these leaves were the closest I could get for you).
And now for the glory that was Rome**. Here’s a wee snap I took some years ago but keep tripping over every time I wander back through the photo archives on this hard drive (A genuine No Man’s Land, if ever there were one).
I still like it. But is it an abstract?
Obviously not. It’s a ‘for real’ rather than a thought. Bummer. But perhaps we can give it one of them high-falutin’ descriptions like they use when describing modern ‘art’ … would such a pitch shift it from a bunch of fuzzy pink petals into the realms of abstract art?
Damn … I still like it.
In the meantime here’s another abstract created by Nature, but this time you get to see her brush. Two snaps, the after and before shots. The ‘before’ is on the right, shows the wee building site in the course of erecting some new dwelling units out of sight to the left; and you can see the tree that served Mother Nature in the office of a brush before they poisoned and later removed the poor thing (left hand snap). With no clues remaining for the casual viewer he’d have to deduce ‘tree’ … and hazard a guess at the the force of the winds; another damned abstraction.
And now, back to the two documentary Dvds about the RMS Titanic I took out from the Invercargill library. Much better than the films, I tell you. Brrrr … so if the ship was unarguably a technological work of art … would the iceberg have been a natural abstraction?
INDE GRIPPA DA GROG
* Damn. I’ll be having to look up ‘thing’ next …
** No idea why but it seems you can’t use ‘glory’ in this sense without resurrecting the old ‘Rome’ context.