Monday, September 22, 2008

Not Enough Africa

I've been making up for lost time. Having spent a couple of weeks recovering from the hectic comings and goings of last month – which drained me more than I'd expected – I've been working steadily for the past few days, finishing yet another Dangerous Career Babe, as well as dealing with the dull administrative chores that always accumulate. It doesn't make for gripping reading, which explains the brevity of my last few blog entries.
Thirteen years ago, in one of the early issues of Wired magazine, I read a wonderful interview with the English musician, Brian Eno. There was this one passage that has always stuck with me. "Do you know what I hate about computers? The problem with computers is that there is not enough Africa in them," Eno said. "This is why I can't use them for very long. Do you know what a nerd is? A nerd is a human being without enough Africa in him or her. I know this sounds sort of inversely racist to say, but I think the African connection is so important. You know why music was the center of our lives for such a long time? Because it was a way of allowing Africa in."
A friend of mine interpreted this in another essay – included in the book, Living Brands, by Raymond Nadeau – as "the idea of Africa as a metaphor for the fuzzy logic and intuitive, rhythmic physicality that is entirely absent from a Western engagement with technology."
If there's one thing that's preoccupying me, these days, it's how to let a lot more Africa seep into my art. It's there in some of my better works on paper. It's entirely absent in the large enamel on board works that still make up the majority of my output.


sarahelizabeth said...

I've never thought about it like that before...interesting...

artcanyell said...

"Africa: A Savage Musical" (1974) by Steve J Spears. It was a great show and I saw it in the 70s with my sister playing a vibrant and sexy nun with a lot of africa in her.

Art News Blog said...

I like it. I thought I was throwing the business out of my new art, but I'm actually letting Africa in.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hazel,

Thanks for sharing the Brian Eno interview. That's a good one.