Sunday, December 21, 2008

Flying Saucer Xmas

Xmas Day I’ll be doing more than just being stuck in my shoebox apartment, nowhere to go, waiting for the rest of the world to re-open the next day.

“When Prophecy Fails” (1956) details how a group of various individuals believed that a great flood would destroy much of the world on December 21st. They waited for benevolent aliens – “The Guardians” - to come down in flying saucers and save them. The Guardians had been channeling messages through “Marian Keech,” a middle-aged suburban housewife.

(The authors had disguised the names of people and places in their book. Apparently they didn’t want a major lawsuit from The Guardians.)

The authors of WPF – Festinger, Riecken and Schachter – use the term “disconfirmation” to describe when a fateful date and time passes and a prophecy is unfulfilled.

Keech and her fellow believers were disconfirmed a few times, especially when the great flood never happened. Before and after the fateful date they sought confirmation of their beliefs with others they wanted to believe were spacemen. Phone calls could be coded messages from the spacemen who were living hidden among humanity at large. A stranger knocking at the door might be a spaceman in disguise with a special message for the group.

On Xmas Day Marion Keech welcomed one such stranger to her home. The visitor found himself in an uncomfortable situation: Keech wanted him to reveal that he was indeed a nonterrestrial there to impart words of revelation.

Even though the stranger didn’t play along, Keech thought he was indeed a special visitor who appeared on the most appropriate day of the year.

So as an eXperiment I’m going to wait for a spaceman to contact me on December 25th, either via telephone or in person. After all, that day is a time of peace on earth, good will towards all men (and women). A magical moment.

And if the spaceman doesn’t make contact?

Hey, I’m already “disconfirmed” about Xmas.

Shadow Watcher

Image © 2008 Ray X

Sometimes from the corner of your eye you can spot one of Them watching you.

They like to hide in plain sight.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Xart For Xmas

Do you xart?

Xart (pronounced zart) can be interpreted as an abbreviation for extraordinary art. It is simple, direct, easy to make. And cheap, an important factor this holiday gift season with the economy going down the crapper.

Grab two or three odd items, slap them together, and then figure out the value added in arty terms. Take a pencil with a broken lead, glue it to a dead calculator, and call your work “Non-Computers.”

There is also xartography. Snap a shot of a blank wall or another generally uniform surface. Don’t spend too much time thinking about the image. If you end up with a dull close-up snapshot, perfect! Remember, a plain plane is the pinnacle of pointlessness. Aren’t both holidays and high art just meaningless in the end? Call your work “Not A Wall.” Print it out on cheap paper. Show it to a college philosophy major and ask his opinion. Watch him drown in his own bullshit.

Yup, xart can entertain you and keep your friends guessing. Just don’t let them know that xart really means excruciatingly bad art.