April 15, 2015

I was thinking today how technology has been changing art.  I’ve seen some remarkable works that have been done with photographs and computer imaging.  I couldn’t even begin to understand how they do it.   I’m a technophobe.  I’m from the PC generation — Pre-Computer!  HAL was the only computer I’d heard of growing up.  When I was a kid, digits were fingers — and we used them to count  with when we were in grade school.  Calculations were still done with a slide rule when I entered college.  Computers didn’t start invading workplaces and homes until I was already in my 30s!

Sometimes I envy the generations that started using computers in kindergarten and who have had  i-phones grafted onto their hands by the time they are teenagers.   Other times, I think they are missing important things.   Like truly functional hands.

I am much more comfortable working with my hands.  And with art paper, one is intimately involved with one’s hands– with cutting, laying out, smoothing (or rumpling), pasting.  Even for the final finishing sprays, I have to hold the work up with one hand, while holding the can with the other.  Hands!  If I didn’t have them (or if I had an i-phone grafted on to mine) I could do none of my art.

I met with my web-site designer today.  After an hour and a half of going over all the choices I have to make, the information I need to provide, answering her questions and  her answering mine, my brain was fried.  On the way home I got to thinking about Vincent Van Gogh. How fortunate he was that he lived in a time before computers   I wondered, if he had had to make all the preparations for, decisions about, and contributions to create a website for his art, would he have lost his mind sooner and never gotten around to doing some of his best work?   My guess is yes!

Once, a number of years ago when computers, word processors and printers started replacing typewriters in offices and homes, I looked at my desk and I was inspired to write the following poem.  It was later published in “Light: A Quarterly of Light Verse”.   I find my “paperwork” today is much more satisfying and rewarding than the paperwork I used to deal with before I discovered collage!

Lament of a Bureaucrat
By April Fletcher

I find it odd how much I spend
My time on useless trivia,
Countless papers that will end
In obscurum et oblivia.

It has become the norm today
To complicate ad-nauseum
In general the simple way
Has how become implauseum

As I survey the xeroxscape
Of reports in triplicata
I weigh the pounds of paper tape
That masquerades as data.

Oh would we could regress again
Before computeratus
When writing was with ink and pen
Without this apparatus.

My desk is piled deep in hash
Of countless machinations,
Digenerati piles of trash
As has destroyed nations.

Oh weep poor trees that you’ve been used
In such incorporatum
But human weakness is infused
With self-infatuatum.

Here is to rediscovering what wonderful things hands can be!