Eudaimonia and how some cows are like rainbows, 2017
Ready-made Venetian blind, timber, electrical wiring, hardware, fluorescent lighting, void, fog machine, acrylic paint, fabric
In a completely dark room when you close your eyes you see light. This light is a phosphene, a light which is generated by the the eyes as part of the optic system. In part, this work is a recreation of that sensation.
“Cows are like rainbows” is something my daughter said as a young girl during a visit to a cattle property. She went on to clarify “cows are like rainbows because the closer you get (to them) the further away they are”. She had the ability to make any cow get up and walk away. I understood her quote as “quests often require us to overcome greater complications, unforeseen barriers or face longer journeys than originally anticipated”.
“Eudaimonia” is a philosophy described by the great Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle as “Happiness as a virtue, a self-fulfilling way of life, the pinnacle of satisfaction as opposed to happiness through self-indulgence, decadence and abandonment.
How it works and its symbolism
You enter a darkened room through an open door. A false, maybe temporary wall is evident. It is painted the same as the room, right down to the black skirting board.
A curious Venetian blind hangs on this false wall.
As your eyes begin to become accustom to the darkness you notice the Venetian blind is a little off kilter and there is a faint purple light glowing through the slats. You get drawn closer. You are standing very close to the blinds by now, drawn by intrigue. The wall is less import now as the question turns to "what is behind"? The purple glow is quite strong and you notice a cloud of fog lingering around the blind. A single cord dangles, you know it operates the blind so you pull to find out what it is that is behind.
Opening the blind turns off most of the lighting, leaving on a small amount of purple glow within the fog., the rest is complete darkness. But it is a false wall standing in the middle of the room and you can see over it and there is light behind, however behind the Venetian blind is a void.
When you close your eyes you still see a glowing patch or two and some swirling happenings, even in complete darkness, in fact, in complete darkness you can see more with your eyes closed.
The opening of the blind is the opening of your mind to the opportunities of discovery; the turning off of the light is the closing of your eyes, the best way to enjoy the wondrousness of imagination, and void is made available for you to fill with your thoughts.