Sunday, November 22, 2009

parallax bats




How long ago were the wings of birds designated for angels, and the wings of bats, for demons? Given this demonic trait and the close association that bats have with vampires and Halloween in the West it seems strange that in other cultures, as in China, bats are associated with good fortune, to the point that in Chinese, bat and good luck are both signified with the word "fu."

I didn't notice that the Chinese Scholar's Garden at Snug Harbor has bat motifs incorporated in various architectural elements, when I was there I was too distracted watching bees drown in the Koi pond. I only heard about this last week after my son's class visited on a school trip, and got the educational tour which included commentary on the compelling belief that ghosts can only travel in straight lines. What about bats? I think they must be very capable of ample zig, zag and swerve to nab the mosquitoes right out of the air.

A while ago I dreamed that a friend and I were having a meeting with a tall charismatic Latin woman dressed in a red and white cheerleader's outfit. In an accent that sounded like Charo she told us she liked bats. Then bats emerged and began entering the walls and ducts of the building, incorporating themselves into the architecture, perhaps reshaping the building with the sonic visioning of space they are capable of, finding a depth in spaces that seem shallow, tight and claustrophobic, retuning and expanding the structure from inside out. Maneuvering in tight spaces.

~

It interests me that in the throng included in the Andreas Pavias painting reproduced in Friday's NYT the demon flying to the right of the Crucifixion becomes the focal point on the basis of the gravity of the contrast of its graphic, primitive treatment in relation to the homogeneous field of the human and angelic throng. The dynamism of its darkness seems to suggest we look deeper, and perhaps realize the part torment plays in the motion of things and consider the contraction that precedes a revitalization of space grown static. Challenges and troubles of all sorts set new things in motion.

I realize that I always envision the yin/yang symbol as frozen, but this week I saw it move. Perhaps it is meant to spin to depict the interplay of light and dark and the imbricated flow of one continually giving birth to the other. It has to spin, just as the earth does, night chasing dawn, dawn chasing night, with endless desire, even if some nights seem to last forever. At the boundary between one force and another, the friction alternately sparks passion, friction, torment and bliss belonging to each interface woven of the dynamic tension between compression and its release.

1 comment:

Kenmeer livermaile said...

Westerndom is into that hell/heaven thing. Bats often come from caves and in frightening numbers.

Maybe this has something to do with it?

iliescr: a liquor whose name is unpronouncable until one has drank an immense amount of it.