A few notes on Headdress (2015) by Lauren Hayley
(Sorry for the squares separating the paragraphs, but Wordpress has no respect for them when posts are reblogged. Unless I've been missing something...).
Very often, the quality of an artistic production is measured with the richness of the impressions which are left on the mind of the observer. With the extent to which it forces us to go far beyond the central subject of the piece. That is what happened with Headdress (2015) on my own mind and organism.
Amerindian symbols have become synonymous, to us, Western-raised people, with “wisdom”. But wisdom, from a clan or tribal perspective, has not much to do with mere intellectual knowledge. If one takes a close look at the life of insects, one will discover how similar their lifestyle is to that of mass consumption, robotic, human societies. Insects are very sophisticated, with a technology that defies the latest inventions from the Pentagon.
And, yet, who wants to look like an insect? Who cares about their sophistications, when one can be a charismatic lion, a majestic leopard or a triumphant tiger? Each of whom uses far less intellectual capabilities than insects, but far more “instinctive” intelligence. Nevertheless, in our everyday life, we effectively act as insects: working in mass for a central power (the biblical Prostitute waiting in the midst of the city for the newly born slaves), seeking to be as productive as possible, independently of the impact of such productivity on Nature, but also on our bodies and minds. And what happens when insects are so successful in their insect-like life? They turn out to be nuisances
for their surroundings, for the environment, including for the physically biggest and fittest animals of the natural kingdom.
To go back to our Amerindians, their wisdom is essentially based, not on what humans can gain for their immediate, physical pleasure, but on those factors that can render us stronger, nobler, gentler too, in the face of extreme circumstances. - What is the most detrimental thing for any society? That it becomes filled with individuals who, in the face of uncertainty, an enemy or a great danger, would sell their own mothers, children and friends to survive. Individuals who are afraid of death. Who are afraid, indeed, of “nature” itself and its necessary cycles.
(I see this fear precisely as the “original sin” so much talked about by the Ancients. Not crime, not stealing, not lying per se
, these being only the direct and subsequent consequences of this underlying fear of death. The word “death” should not even exist, there is no intangible proof that we effectively die, as we know from physical observations that energy transforms itself but never expires…).
The same people, also, who compete for so called “high” positions in the corporate world (the stock-market listed one). This, so as to pressure society in an even more intense manner than the predecessors they eventually supplanted used to do. Or those who, males and females alike, when going to public toilets, in restaurants, do not wash their hands, not caring about the hygienic safety of the persons they’ll shake their hands with. (I purposely choose the most insignificant examples to show how devilish details illustrate our decaying ethical fundamentals).
So how do we prevent such individuals from prevailing in society? We establish what we call an “initiation” process, consisting in recreating the circumstances that normally threatens the physical and mental integrity of the pupil, so as to observe, live and direct, his or her reactions. For you know someone, not according to his intellectual or cultural background. But according to the mechanism of his or her instincts, their health, their vitality, their robustness. Only physical tests can show that, not diplomas, not masters in morbid degrees, no PhD can replace such effective or practical intelligence, the one that counts most.
Do you think that a physician or an engineer can be of any use in the jungle, when faced with a puma? No. Many of them will even hide behind their female companions. But you will find yourself in far more secure company with an illiterate Amerindian, an illiterate “salvage” from the jungle, an illiterate, but conservative, bush hunter, who, unlike Mister Doctor and Sir Fake, has a good reason to wear trousers and knickers...
For the Gnostics, who praised and unearthed Amerindian philosophy during the sixties, the intellect is a “secondary” intelligence. Purely morbid, a pure calculating platform at the service of the real intelligence, which is, as Friedrich Nietzsche constantly recalled, the “instinct”, the “flair”, the “sensitivity” (“la sensibilité”, as Charles Baudelaire used to put it).
That is why many scientist have relationship problem with women: they are clumsy, they do not know how to speak to them, what they feel, what they like, and whatever a woman likes is necessary the result of childish or immature desire and behavior. Because they lack empathy and sympathy alike, these being the direct qualities of sensitivity. But they know how to fake sympathy and
empathy: they’re necessarily cleverer than Amerindians, though less intelligent… If scientists were truly manly, courageous people, the world would not be as it is. As scientists are supposed to have the keys to understand what makes the world go round (or square).
In my own tribe (from my father’s side), the ancient used to solve this problem by similar means to that of the Amerindians. Sending young kids in the wilderness, who will be alone for five days, night and day, having to survive in the midst of the most dangerous predators and apply that which had been taught concerning cooking and hygienic measures.
So that once adults, these do no longer display fear when confronted to difficult situations. They do not have any reason to betray the community, as making sacrifices was the norm during their education. The toughness of their education is the result of the love their fathers and mothers have for them. They do not want their children to feel the depressing effect of mental weakness born out of physical uneasiness.
That is why war was never an objection to the ancients: war was the ideal occasion for each individual to discover one’s own degree of bravery and courage. War was revealing. Revealing of the natural element of people who, like me, suffer – or enjoy – borderline personality.
Listen! Was not humanity morally and generally borderline during the times in which the Seven Wonders were conceived? Have you noticed? There has not been any eighth wonder, since bipolarity and borderline minds have been classified as “sick”. Who classified us as sick? Precisely those who would lose the most at the sight of splendour.
Bipolarity, borderline (so-called) disorder are the preconditions for the highest form of wisdom on earth. And such wisdom is acquired in blood, in pain, as the main factor of education.
And this is exactly the prophetic
impression which stems from Lauren Hayley’s Headdress (2015)
. This picture has the merit of displaying an absolutely perfect correspondence between content and form: the appropriate central symbol, the appropriate colours and tones for the underlying subject. Bravo!
Lastly, one must try to link what has just been said with a certain form of BDSM practice. BDSM as a means, through submission, to regain one’s force, one’s strength – one’s candid dominance over one's own sufferings.