He Believes In A Beauty
-a line from the chorus of "Venus as a Boy" by Bjork
Whenever Bjork opens up that gorgeous singing orifice, I become siren-struck. More than mere enchanted reverie, Bjork encapsulates that alien sound leading only to domination and destruction. We actually yearn to be swept away by its necromancy. Like many other Americans, I rejoiced when at long last Matthew Barney wrecked his ship on those cliffs of Iceland. We could not have sent a better sailor. A match made for the ages. Venus as a boy come to life.
The seductively singing siren was a bygone people's way of calling beauty a fatal disease - even if you escaped perishing of it, you were certain to be scarred for life. One glimmer of song was all it took to lose your mind. As descendants of Odyssean wanderers, we are lured evermore by the hypnagogic mirages of paradise. Yet we no longer populate the skies with deities who suffer the slings and arrows of love's misfortunes. Why bother? We simply call it falling in love.
I am an unabashed romantic, but I detest the gentle poison of nostalgia. No pretty papers or pretty ribbons of blue. Beauty as devoured by a million repetitions of Monet's dahlias, cosmos, and sages. Never. I seek a beauty so dark you cannot help but fall down the hole. Alice never found Wonderland by chasing rabbits. She had to find the dragon.
"Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe."
We may not know how the mome raths outgrabe, but nevertheless, we understand we are caught .
Here is the sad truth children: We and art are not unified. Nothing in our animal past calls for anything so gratuitous as a work of art. We must put it on, wrap it around us like the dark, cold firmament. Some part of us may carry the colors. But the heart of any gift is learned. We must learn how to paint. Yet, what a cloak it makes! At times, even the gods are fooled by so glorious a wave, and fall from the sky in droves.
So step inside, and let these sirens have their way with you.