There is a sign post on the cross roads I’m standing at.
This is a pause in transitions.
A lingering in the corridor before turning the handle of a door with a strangely morphing symbol on it.
A sharp intake of breath, a quick check of watch, phone, keys and I step forward, across a threshold into an empty room
Change is a process, a movement of energy and matter from familiar shapes to less familiar ones that gradually regain familiarity. Things go out (of focus) and then come back in (to focus).
Events are the signposts I use to orient my position within the transition.
When you’re hiking in the woods, you look up at the patterns of the tree leaves; at night you use the stars as a compass and in cities day or night, there are street signs, Googlemaps and the answers to questions you ask strangers.
The events I know are first, we have successfully launched the new website for SUBVERSIONfactory, the portfolio of digital arts projects I’ve been carrying around from office to office, down dark corridors into gaping boardrooms and secret smoking whiskey bars. It’s now a transparent incubator of eggs under glass. Possibly alien. Possibly earthborn. Where visitors can watch chickens being born, pecking their way out of their perfect oval containers, spitting fragments; where visitors can witness the slow progress of development, like clock hands or sands escaping an hour glass, as we add layers on layers of assets, and chocolate frostings and conjure flesh out of concepts, collectively having orgiastic brainstorms while welcoming new shipmates along for the ride.
We are also openly and candidly asking for help, for financial sponsorship from our supporters who can see the raw value of what we are trying to do and would like us to carry on creating, producing, subverting. By paying-forwards for projects, our sponsors receive not only a copy of the work upon completion but become collaborators in its development.
Now is the time for direct distribution, where our audience are our co-producers.
We are mainly asking for your sponsorship to fund the next stage of each projects development; mainly consisting of a working prototype.
Come and take a look and express your interest with your sponsorship.
There are many other transitions.
Tomorrow I take a plane to California with my daughter.
I will be flying to San Diego to the rehabilitation facility at Pacific Regentsrehabilitation facility where my mother is recovering from surgery. Born on September 28th, 1919 she’s the first artist I ever knew; the first woman I ever met; the first person I’ve ever known. Born in San Jose, Costa Rica, at age 20 she won her country’s national award for painting, which consisted of an all expenses paid 3 month tour of post world II European art centres in Italy, France and Spain. In Spain, she attended the student workshop of resident artist Salvador Dali. She took in the Paris art scene and upon her return, joined her older brother the sculptor Francisco Zuniga, in Mexico City where he was literally carving out a living working for the state casting national monuments.It was an exciting time to be in Mexico City where my uncle, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Tamayo and others were busy reinventing Latin American art in the bright tropical light of indigenous magical realism; while down the road in Cuernivaca Che and Fidel were drinking rumand planning the Cuban revolution.
It was a time of militant politics running headlong into radical art.
There was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air.
A time I could always almost taste on the tip of my tongue.
My mother eventually returned to Costa Rica to continue her painting career where she met my father, an anthropology graduate student researching his pHd in contemporary Mayan culture. He met her at an art gallery where she was exhibiting and tried to impress her with his naive commentary on the artist’s work, not knowing to whom he was speaking. My father’s Spanish was acquired from his work in rural indigenous villages in both Chiapas and Costa Rica, a Spanish considered coarse and vulgar by the European smitten Costa Ricans.
But my mother took pity on my father and tried to teach him to improve his Spanish before meeting her father, a mason and a sculptor of religious figures for churches and tombstones. When I visited his workshop as a boy, I recall the shelves and shelves of busts of Kennedy; as if the trophies of some tribe of Presidential head hunters.
My mother was diagnosed with advanced dementia last year as a result of Alzeimers.
I flew to see her last year to try and arrange her assistance at least in house and she promptly called the police to have me arrested. She insisted to the police when they did arrive that I was an imposter. “He doesn’t even live in this country”, she kept repeating to them. This year her friend who had been looking after her fell and lapsed into a coma. So I have been managing her condition remotely with the help of Coronado Elderly Homecare.
She was admitted for surgery 2 weeks ago and the young ortheopedic surgeon who telephoned me before wheeling her into the theatre (why do they call it theatre; becuse there are curtains?), explained to me soberly what her odds of surviving surgery were. But she went with the odds and is now recovering. My phone conversations with her have been frequent of late, however I am visiting her at different points of time in her life.
This has begun to make me understand that life is not made up of a linear narrative; a sequence of A, B and ending in C. Rather we are comprised of constellations of events, peak intensities of experiences that have formed the core, the shape, the consistency of who we see when we look in the mirror. It is the cluster of our intensities that tell us who we are; not age or time frame but the vertical imprints of Being. Sometimes she thinks I am away at college, others that she’s flying to see me.
I am flying with my daughter tomorrow so that she can say goodbye to my mother.
I will stay with her for as long as she needs me.
In the meantime, I will be taking my daughter north to Berkeley so that she can spend an American Halloween with her cousins, my young sister’s children.
On Halloween day I will be dropping in on an old, mad acquantance Liam Sharp at the new Madefire headquarters.
Apart from catching up, we hope to advance the development of graphic narratives taken from our project The Village of Lights on the Madefire Motion Books platform. More news about this when it happens!
When I return to San Diego after Halloween, my daughter will be flying back to England on her own to go back to school. I never believed I would ever say that my daughter could be flying anywhere on her own, but she’s a mature 14 year old now and with the passage of time comes growth in equal measure to decay.
I will be setting up to work from California for the unforeseeable future. San Diego for as long as my mother is alive but also LA and San Francisco, and New York the City of Lights that spear the sky.
I look forwards to be working on some projects with Mike Towry of the San Diego Comics Festival that involve some creative artists and writers as well as furthering development on the SUBVERSIONfactory portfolio. I am also going to be puttng my 15+ years of IT experience to work on offering some European finesse to some American technology projects.
I am also looking forward to working with San Diego State University in furthering my longer term objectives of advancing learning through the arts of story-telling, art and technology; as well as the UCSD based Arthur C. Clarke Centre for Human Imagination.
I will continue posting more personal and professional information on this blog on my re-entry into California, the progress of the SUBVERSIONfactory, my work with the San Diego Comics Festival and my new focus on revisiting producing my own work that bridges art, storytelling and technology.
Stay in tune.
Or at least trying to bridge the distance between the idea and the realisation.
After some 18 months of delays, of false trails, of chasing money, of broken promises, false despairs, scavanging in piles of rubbish, wearing grins like funeral masques and trying not to come to the conclusion that everyone everywhere is willing to say anything, for money and/or attention, we’re finally getting to the point where I can launch the SUBVERSIONfactory website and pronounce the projects I’ve been carrying around in a threadbare portfolio for the past couple of years.
Nearly there, but not quite yet.
This is the pronouncement before the announcement.