Monday, December 27, 2010

I don't get art

And if it makes me a simpleton, then I am one.

I do realize that "art" itself is a term too general, covering from pieces of music to ceramic vases to aurora borealis. Some of those, I do get. But when we're talking fine art, say painting, I can confidently say here that I don't get them. (I daresay if you ask me again in a posher event you'll find me nodding along the snobs).

I don't get, for example, why a bunch of sunflowers in a vase painted in a canvas can fetch millions. The one painted by van Gogh are not even painted in perspective.

I don't get, for an even bizarre example, what seemingly as odd collection of organs in clashing colors would beckon someone to open his wallet in an effort to exhibit it in his study.

I can go on and on and on.

When I compare that with other work of art, I rather thought it is because the minimal time of appreciation required for a painting is, well, minimal. Say a piece of "modern" music, which has been lamented as catering only to ADD generation, spanning not more than 5 minutes per track, they still require exactly that. Five minutes for a full listen.

In another hand, you can glance a painting for three seconds and be done with it already.

Compare that with a book. How many books are there that you can finish in a single sitting? And that's just for a one-time reading. Short stories are shorter and yet they still require more time to appreciate.

Then there's the ability to inspire. Some music would move your hands involuntarily for an airdrum. Some would reduce you to tears. Others, warm your cloudy days (or nudge you to suicide). Still others would enrage.

Not so with painting. Have you ever heard someone called to dance after watching a painting of people dancing? Have you ever feel that you would like to kiss your love after watching a painting? And surely we can make do already with all the idyllic painting of greens in the world?

The best that you can get maybe is a feeling of longing, if it depicts something of a distant and unreachable past. Maybe the paintings of greens will be even more valuable in 2050, when all Earth is barren post nuclear winter. If mankind still survives, that is.

Still, for all its limited ability, how can they command such price? I don't think I've ever heard a piece of music being auctioned and make headlines for the bagful of money it's being sold at.

Then there's also the matter of expression. If you read me lashing about paintings of lazy grasses, that's because I don't get it. What are they supposed to say? "Wouldn't it be good to frolick under the sun, enveloped by summer warmth?" That we can do in public park. Unnecessary at best, noisy at worst.

Perhaps paintings is the best embodiment of art for art's sake. Highly subjective, and its biggest value is in the making. Yes, I'll just go back to bed and a good happy new year to you.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Buah Terlarang

Dan Kami berfirman, “Hai Adam diamilah oleh kamu dan isterimu surga ini, dan makanlah makanan-makanannya yang banyak lagi baik dimana saja yang kamu sukai, dan janganlah kamu dekati pohon ini, yang menyebabkan kamu termasuk orang-orang yang dzalim. (QS 2:35)

Sayang Adam dan Hawa ngeyel (setelah dibujuk Syaithon). Maka hap-hap, mereka ambil buah itu, makan, ketahuan, Adam dapat jakun dan Hawa dapat payudara*.

Setahu saya, versi populernya--ehm, masyhur--di Barat, si buah itu adalah buah apel. Saya ga tau apa ada secara eksplisit disebutkan di Injil, tapi mungkin sih ngga. Karena waktu saya baca kumpulan tajuk rencana Kompas karangan Jakob Oetama, sempat disinggung mungkin sebenarnya buahnya itu adalah buah mangga.

Lebih masuk akal daripada apel sih, terutama karena apel perlu iklim dingin untuk tumbuh (I'm thinking Malang here)--sementara (CMIIW) konsep aurat baru ada setelah mereka makan si buah terlarang itu. Udara dingin+ga pakai baju=bukan surga ideal. Hmm, atau justru ideal ya?

Bandingkan dengan mangga! Buah tropis = iklim hangat, berarti lebih nyaman kalau konsep pakaian belum dibutuhkan. Skor satu poin untuk Jakob Oetama!

Nah, sekarang saya mau mengajukan satu hipotesa: si buah itu sebenarnya adalah buah durian!

Kenapa durian? Karena banyak yang suka. Oh, durian juga buah tropis lho, jadi mendukung hipotesa iklim surga. Tapi ada beberapa asumsi yang diperlukan agar hipotesa ini bernilai benar:
(1) Durian di surganya Adam dan Hawa tidak berkulit duri.
(2) a. Adam dan Hawa adalah penyuka aroma durian (Hawa berkata, "Iya, Dam, baunya itu lho, sedap dan membangkitkan liur! Mmmmm"); atau b. Durian surga baunya baru muncul setelah dikupas (Adam mengupas durian, mencium baunya, dan berseru, "Gusti! Bau apa ini?" Sambil mengunyah**, Hawa berkata, "I bet you're not manly enough to eat the fruit!").
(3) a. The Almighty ga suka bau durian; atau b. His sense of humor was great jadi dia menciptakan buah berbau--yah tau lah maksudnya (jadi Dia terpanggil oleh seruan Adam di 2b).

I'm personally leaning to 3.a.; sehingga setelah Adam dan Hawa buka buahnya, Dia mencium baunya, dan murka: "WHO DARETH TO SPOILTH MY PARADISE WITH SUCH UN-GO.... YOU HUMANS!"

Kami berfirman: "Turunlah kamu! sebagian kamu menjadi musuh bagi yang lain, dan bagi kamu ada tempat kediaman di bumi, dan kesenangan hidup sampai waktu yang ditentukan". (QS 2:36)

* Apakah ini berarti Hawa tidak berpayudara sebelumnya? Lalu--uh, postur tubuhnya kayak apa ya?
** Karena untuk bahan payudara Hawa perlu makan buahnya jauh lebih banyak daripada sejumput bahan jakun


Kemudian Adam menerima beberapa kalimat dari Rabb-nya, maka Allah menerima taubatnya. Sesungguhnya Allah Maha Penerima taubat lagi Maha Penyayang. (QS. 2:37)

Setelah turun ke Bumi dan menemukan Hawa kembali, Adam pun berdoa, "Ya Allah, sesungguhnya aku telah mengecap rasa buah-Mu, sudikah Engkau menurunkannya pula ke Bumi ini sebagai pengingat?*"

And true to His fashion of humor, He let grow durian abundantly. With spikes as bonus. Sebagai pengingat penderitaan Adam.

* Typical man, I tell you, try to outsmart his better. Padahal ngaku aja jadi pengen lagi karena baru makan secokot kan sama aja.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Sun


I wonder if the Sun ever feels loneliness. Flattered, but lonely.
He has four gaseous things that adore him from afar. They shine, alright, but their beams are borrowed light. Miserable specks of stolen splendor.
From him.


I wonder if the Sun ever feels jealousy. Stuck in a solitary with no one to keep him company.
He has no companion star, and when he gaze for the brilliance that lies near, would envy be something he fear? 
For a mere parsec away, the Centauris couple seemed happy with each other. She shine her light on him, his on her, rotating in an eternal dance. 
Blessed with Proxima Centauri, he thought that they might as well have a white picket fence (with roses!) around their dwelling.


I wonder if the Sun ever feels regret. The scars, they were never intended to be there.
Yet for all he said and done, Mercury is burnt, and Venus is barren. 
So much for brilliance. And he is not even that stunning. He.. is stock. If one care to traverse the galaxy, his kind is really abundant. 
So he traverses. 


I wonder if the Sun ever feel hopeless. Felt that all that is there in the store for him is wasting away.
Tugged by gravity, he travels the galaxy. He follows the faint traces of other stars before him, hoping for an interaction or two.
But lately it dawned on him: it's a moving target. No matter how long he walks on his path, dragging his victims and admirers along, it's one emptiness after another. He realizes that others have also been there in this journey, but they left him on his own.


I wonder if the Sun ever feel the universe is unfair. 
Afterall, what good is longevity when you are subjected to involuntary solitary?


I wonder if the Sun ever wished for the future. For everything to be different than they are.


From: ""
To: "yellowdoorknob"
Sent: Sun, December 5, 2010 1:46:01 AM
Subject: I-VI

You know, you really shouldn't worry. I know anthropomorphizing celestial bodies is fun and all, but ultimately it never changes anything. I'm perfectly content where I am. Maybe you should, too. 

PS: You might want to worry about Gaia a bit, though. I heard her wheeze the other day. You know how proud she is, she won't even ask for help, not even when she bleeds oil. 
PPS: Don't let her know I said that about her!