In a world seemingly on a precipice, I am reminded of the poem by John Donne. This meditation is genius in its description of human connectedness.
‘No Man is an Island’
No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Meditation XVII, 1623
It is an amazing study of human nature – our internet.
We build pseudo relationships all over the place. We sit in our private spaces (bedrooms, basements, kitchens, whatever) and carry on conversations with the world and ourselves. We feel secure in knowing that others are out there.
We see what others are thinking. That is the key. We can be social without ever seeing another human being. In this, we satisfy a need to be connected.
We are all familiar with John Dunne’s meditation written in 1623:
“All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated…As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness….No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee.
I feel like I belong to an ant colony.
For me, art is a reflection of this social connectedness. My work has substance only when it is collaborative. It becomes something essential of the commissioner and the space into which it is placed. These are my inspirations.