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Sticks + Stereotypes
Jul 20 - Aug 24, 2013
Once bitten, twice shy. It is human to extrapolate. We experience an event and we generalize it to apply to all subsequent events.
We find meaning and pattern in our lives. We console ourselves with ‘it was meant to be’, ‘something good will come of it’. We speak of our good luck. We burnish our success by saying we worked hard for it, to distinguish us from the others who must not have worked so hard. We ascribe cause, we see distinction where perhaps there is none. What sense we make of the patterns of our lives allows us to hover between the madness of formlessness and the madness of meaning found in all things. Between amoeba and astrology.
I like to run. I see twigs and sticks in the park where I run. In the twigs and sticks on the trails where I run I see fragments of shapes that remind me of letters, indeed of whole alphabets of scraps that make up fragments of meaning. Sticks into letters into words, sentences, thoughts, ideas. Putting fragmented sticks together in one’s mind’s eye to form letters, words, meanings, is a game with madness, attributing meaning where there are only broken branches. It is a toying with the impulse, perfectly human, to generalize.
A generalization becomes a stereotype when it hardens into a rigid form, unchanging, unbreakable. Word as name becomes a wounding weapon, a pointed stick. The children’s rhyme is wrong: sticks and stones may break your bones and names can also hurt you.
Sticks and Stereotypes touches this madness, the tiny broken forms, coincidence of meaning, that cohere into language.
-- Margaret Morgan, Los Angeles, July 2013