Desolation Row (part one)

The references to the carnival within the song DESOLATION ROW were particularly interesting to me....there is the suggestion that the hanging ('postcards of the hanging')is a kind of carnival. This worked nicely with the appearance of theatrical decay that is often visible in my work.

There is a whole cast of characters that Dylan has 'collaged' together...Romeo, Noah, Cinderella, Casanova, the Hunchback of Notredame, Ophelia, the Good Samaritan and more...most of them literary, or from books anyhow (the biblical references were especially interesting in this way...coming from what is known as the book).

As Dylan says, he 'had to rearrange their faces and give them all another name'. This made my habit of ripping up old books (often they are falling apart)especially appropriate for this work, i thought. There are pages from any books used in my 'desolation row,' the words and pages are layered to form my 'cast of characters.'

Pages from a 'A Century of Ghost Stories'and 'Teach yourself Dutch' seemed particularly appropriate...the ghost stories because the Phantom of the Opera is another
character in Desolation Row, and because of the sense in which Desolation Row is itself a kind of ghostworld, partly in this world and partly in the other. And the origin of the word spectre (same origin as spectacle) fits nicely with the carnival thing (more on spectre later!)

'Teach yourself Dutch' was good for the Dutch association with things naval...there are a few references to that kind of thing in the song, and i made parts of the sculptures quite boat-like (a bit more on that later).
Another thing was that phrase 'double dutch'...certain parts of the song refer to a sense of confusion (ie 'right now i can't read too good' and 'you're in the wrong place my friend') and there are also a few references to language itself ('off sniffing drainpipes and reciting the alphabet').

Also, I read somewhere that the Dutch are known as Dutch (by English speakers) because (a long time ago) english speaking people mistook them for German! (ie Deutsch) So this fitted with 'Painting the passports brown,' and of course with the name of the show, ITS PAINTING SO IT MUST BE GERMAN, haha!

Another book i used is a little book in arabic that i picked up a few years ago, when it was thrown out because it was damaged by 'the great flood of wollongong' (you'll see why i like call it that when i tell you about the book, i think!)

Although the book is in Arabic, i managed to find out a suprising ammount about it....it was published by Cambridge university press, originally purchased in Marseilles, France, and that it is a copy of the NEW testament (people seem to find it suprising that it is a new testament...but it's not really, if you think about it). And then somehow it made its way to wollongong uni alumni bookshop...quite a journey.

1 comment:

lauren said...

looks gorgeous sweetie!! looking forward to having another blog to keep track of!!