Monday, March 2, 2009


Considering that every other investment is in the crapper, Christine and I have thought about buying a piece of art for our home. We discussed a lot about the kind of art that each of us likes.  I suppose it's something that I've thought about here and there but never put down in any kind of manifesto or anything. The pictures here are some that I took down at the beach along the Great Ocean Road.  

When we were driving around we were listening to The Cocteau Twins a band from the 1990s. Their music is very dream-like and although there's singing, there really aren't any lyrics. It all sounds like words, but you can never make out the actual language. The result is that you hear what you want and sometimes it changes different times you listen to it. You make up your own story and it's just flavored by the tone of the words and the sounds. Maybe it triggers a memory forgotten...


That's probably my favorite kind of art, the kind that is rather ambiguous, maybe you're looking at a landscape, maybe you're looking at the rear end of a koala, maybe it's a toenail, who knows? Maybe you're looking at something natural or is it something man-made? I got the same feeling from techno music, an effectively "instrument-less" genre (although some may argue otherwise). When you hear a guitar, you know what it is, and that's all you're going to hear. In comparison, with electronic music someone could be emulating the sound of a physically impossible 500-foot tall drum filled with rice (or is it the fall of a tree miles away?)

I used to love Games Magazine's "eyeball benders" where you would have some small part of the picture and would have to guess what it is (often times it was an extreme closeup of a colander). The fun part was all the wrong guesses you'd make along the way. However, completely abstract or even symbolistic, e.g. squares on a canvas, like a Rothko, maybe not so much because that seems too simple or message less, nothing really to hold on to. Not enough to get your creative juices flowing... but you also don't want something that's so overwhelmingly obvious that there's no room for interpretation.  

Really I view it as a metaphor on life. You never get 100% information on anything, never enough to make a definitive judgement. Often times its surprising how much you can get it wrong, even with how much you think you know. Your interpretation depends on your mood, timing, experience, flecks of information related or not... This may seem at odds with I think most people's perceptions of being a scientist (you analyze the facts to discover the truth). Truly however, at best you build up a pile of evidence and there's many alternative piles and just need to make decisions in the face of uncertainty. Tom

1 comment:

  1. More scientific discoveries are prefaced with the statement "Hmmm... that's odd..." than with the exclamation "Eureka!"

    And I would happily blow up and frame these photos and put them on my wall.