creativist manifesto: nazca lines
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
A few weeks ago, I started a new Tumblr blog called Creativist Manifesto, which will be dedicated to sharing my thoughts and opinions on art history (one of my favorite conversation subjects). I took my first liberal arts art history class in Fall 2008 and after my first day... I was hooked. Completely, utterly, hopelessly in love with art and art history. Now I feel the need to openly discuss and remind myself about art and history.
Please note: I am not trying to impose my point of view on anyone. I love art as a subject, but I wouldn't consider myself an art historian, just an enthusiast. All my opinions and knowledge are from class, going to museums and reading art books.
I had every intention of writing about my new favorite Matisse painting The Pink Studio, but I just had a very intense and fascinating conversation with my friend Mary from my boarding school days. We were talking about Norse and Greek mythologies, art history, English and Russian literature and other fascinating subjects and then I started talking about Earth Art and then it led me to tell her about the Nazca Lines in Peru. I suddenly felt the urge to talk about the Nazca Lines and somewhat defend the wondrous glory and mystery of this magnificently large scale earth art. And simultaneously defending the majestic Stonehenge (more on that later).
I never thought that I would be interested in Earth Art, since it’s not a traditional form of art. Since earth art didn’t have a commercial intention, I somewhat felt lost behind the concept behind earth art - until I studied it in my Topics in World Art class in Spring of 2010. After that class, I realized that earth art was a rebellion against the artificiality, plastic aesthetic and commercialization of art. Since earth art cannot be presented in a museum or gallery environment, one has to go into the land and experience the art harmoniously in a new environment. This also ties into the ephemeral aspect of earth art - life is fleeting - art is temporary - life is temporary.
I finally realized how much I appreciated earth art after this class. Certain works really impressed and intrigued me, most notably: Spiral Jetty in Utah, Nazca Lines in Peru, Vietnam Veterans Memorial by Maya Lin in Washington D.C., etc. I want to learn more and expand my knowledge on this subject, since it seems like a much more obscure art movement.
I personally feel the need to defend and glorify Stonehenge and its mysterious grandeur! I can see why some people view it as “a pile of stones”, but it frustrates me since some people don’t realize each pillar weighs like 20 tons. Some modern technology would have difficulty lifting that kind of weight! How did ancient man lift and carry those stones from 16 miles west of Wiltshire. This landmark was assembled in the Neolithic Period. Archaeologists believe this monument was constructed anywhere from 3000 to 2000 B.C. Please explain to me how an ancient man, who probably didn’t eat copiously and weighed 120 pounds, would be able to carry these stones. And even if they had invented and constructed contraptions to transport the stones - how would they lift them?
The Stonehenge bewilders me and now this post has become about the Stonehenge! I wanted to discuss the glory of the Nazca Lines in Southern Peru. These large scale earth works predate back to 400 to 650 AD, but they were only discovered in 1927 by Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe. If we didn’t have the modern technology till the late 1920s to discover the Nazca Lines - how were these Nazca Lines created in the first place? How were they designed for such a large scale and then created without people discovering it for hundreds of years later? It frightens me a little. These monumentally larger than life earth works create this feeling of wonderment and it makes me feel so small and insignificant - the same way I feel every time I see a photo of a nebula or any space photography.
We are so small and almost insignificant compared to the vastness of the universe. The universe is constantly expanding and our lifetime is so short and fleeting. Life will soon be over and this tumblr will become non existent. These words will become pointless and meaningless, but I will try my best nevertheless. Which reminds me, I’ve been reading A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. It is utterly enjoyable and educational with a very insightful and readable history and science behind the origins of the universe and how we’re here. I think I’m getting closer and closer to finding my purpose in life and really enjoying every moment of life, including the bad and the ugly. I love the good and I embrace the very good, but sometimes life needs the bad and the ugly or else we don’t know how to appreciate the good.
Let me finish this discussion with my all-time favorite monologue from American Beauty by Lester Burnham, Kevin Spacey’s character, for which he won his first Academy Award for Best Leading Actor.
I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn’t a second at all, it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time… For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout camp, watching falling stars… And yellow leaves, from the maple trees, that lined our street… Or my grandmother’s hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper… And the first time I saw my cousin Tony’s brand new Firebird… And Janie… And Janie… And… Carolyn. I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday.
We have one chance to live. Let’s learn about our world and the great minds that have contributed to making the world a beautiful place.
More on Nazca Lines.