Drama in Debris

Walking, I often look at the accidental arrangement of objects along the curb, or in an abandoned flowerbox, withered petals, random rocks, dead insects, skeletons of leaves, windblown trash, and think of Joseph Cornell and his Cornell boxes. It was William Gibson who first mentioned him to me. Cornell was a symbolist as well as a kind of abstract artist; found objects became abstract, yet framed in boxes became meaningful again, too. Japanese artists sometimes practice making random dots so they can paint the natural world with more truth. There is an intersection of the random and the arranged: within the theater of the mind. But it’s not just artificial superimposition, that feeling of the arranged in the random, it’s found music, visually represented. The detritus of the world comes alive, then.

Perhaps there’s no meaning but the meaning we create–that’s pure humanism, I suppose. Or perhaps there’s a higher meaning. I think there is–but it’s not a human meaning. It’s better than that. Cornell gives us glimpses.

And there’s drama in debris.

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