The Art of Destruction

slashed 2014

Destruction or Creation?
Some people have the urge to create wondrous things, The Sistine Chapel, incredible buildings, masterpiece works of art, others want to destroy…
Why do humans have this urge to destroy?

Play a game of Lego with a toddler, you construct something you are proud of, the toddler will soon dismantle it, all your work undone…why?

On a totally different level, you have images of groups such as ISIS and The Taliban, destroying buildings or artifacts that have been around for centuries. For example The Taliban brought a lorryload of dynamite from Kabul in order to destroy the Buddha of Bamiyan statue, an impressive monument carved into the Hindu Kush mountains of central Afghanistan. This vandalism on a grand scale was brought about because the statue was deemed a “non-Islamic statue”.

ISIS seem to use destruction of Artifacts and Cultural vandalism as a useful propaganda tool, they bring their tools of destruction (sledgehammers) and film themselves destroying statues in Syria and Iraq, monument s and artifacts that many around the world marvel over. Imagine giving them free reign in a city like Rome?
Alongside this destruction there is also a lot of looting, to keep their coffers full.
Some Art vandalism does have some logic behind it…the vandals simply abhor the art work (in an exhibition) so much, they feel a need to destroy something. There must be many people around who would love to destroy a Damien Hurst, or set fire to Tracey Ermin’s beds? Some people  are so irked by these artist’s work…Some people have the gall to destroy  it…

Is there any artist’s work you would like to destroy? Because you feel utter hatred for this work?

Some maybe have a desire to destroy perfection…You see a white canvas on a wall, isn’t the temptation to great to mark it…Mark Rothko was a victim of Art vandalism…the work worth a cool five million pounds was targeted by a man called Wlodzimierz Umaniec who saw himself as an artist himself, claiming writing his name and a slogan in black paint was an act of ‘yellowism’ like that of the work of Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp’s work has also been a target for vandalism…a neo-Dadaist seeing fit to take hammer to Duchamp’s “fountain” (a urinal). The villain of the piece a French performance artist named Pierre Pinoncelli, seems to have it in for Duchamp, he has also urinated in the urinal…quite metaphorical if you think about it…maybe he felt fit to take the piss… Pinoncelli has had to pay for his antics.

So the art vandal sees their vandalism as a form of art in its self. They are putting their stamp on the art world.

Some vandals suffer from delusion, others possible insanity, though sometimes it migh be hard to decipher somebody’s mental state. Take a man who attacked Pablo Picasso’s 25-by-11 foot antiwar masterpiece Guernica, the man concerned Tony Shafrazi took a can of red spray paint into New York’s Museum of Modern Art and daubed this cryptic message KILL LIES ALL in foot-high letters across. When being hauled away by security guards he was heard to say theatrically “Call the curator. I am an artist.” He was later to claim he meant no harm to Picasso.

Shafrazi is now a gallery owner himself and was the victim of revenge vandalism, when somebody threw a brick at his gallery window with the blunt message…”Remember Guernica.”

In my book of short stories a man conspires to vandalize his genius’ brother masterpiece painting collection. He is driven by the fact that he has lived in his brother’s shadow and has aspirations to be great painter himself.

Below is an extract giving a description of his mind at work as he systematically destroys his brother’s work…
Constanzi lurched towards the next painting, his mind already
scheming and calculating how much damage he could inflict using
each new color and technique of destruction. This time he chose burnt
umber. Scooping a fistful into his right hand, he shakily climbed a
stepladder next to another painting, barely managing not to fall, and
successfully smeared the contents of his hand all over the middle third
of the huge painting. Carefully descending the ladder, he noticed a
bucket and mop. Maestro’s apprentices were required to mop the floor
every morning before he arrived (Maestro’s studio had to be spotless to
match the perfection of the paintings). Constanzi poured a bottle of
walnut oil into the bucket, slapped the mop in, swirled it about,
clambered back up the ladder, and, like a workman cleaning a wall,
began obliterating the top portions the large painting, covering a
luminous sky with a crude veil that reminded him of excrement. As the
fluid trickled down the canvas, it began obscuring the fine details
Maestro had painstakingly put in the painting.
Grabbing a handful of aquamarine, the original color of the now obscured
sky, he completely eliminated the central figure, a heavenly
depiction of the current Pope, poised as if about to join the saints in
heaven. In one motion, he’d reduced the pontiff to little more than a
crude blue stripe. Satisfied, he took another pull from his shoulder
wine skin and cackled devilishly.

Article by Francis H Powell author of Flight of Destiny, feel free to buy and burn as many copies as you like and burn them, at least I might go up the Amazon rankings…


Who the hell are Trolls?

CRIME Trolls 100034

Twitter goes toxic…
Facebook fouled up…

What would possess somebody to be a Troll?

You switch on your computer and look forward to spending some valuable or valueless (depending) time on Facebook. It is part of your routine. You want to see how articles you have had published are doing. Maybe some friends have posted some wacky photographs…the wind sets fair…then suddenly your eyes settle on some comments… vile violations of your posts…a Troll has been at work…done a nasty on you…

But why?
They don’t know you
They have nothing much to gain apart from spreading their poison…
Maybe they get a kick from it…
Maybe they have a need to psyche complete strangers out?

Why spread your bile?

What did they do before the internet came to the fore? Did they heckle comedians at comedy clubs? Did they shout abuse over the garden wall at their neighbors or passersby? Did they send poison pen letters to strangers? Were they School bullies?

Anyway these days there is this new breed of Trolls. I had one adding snide comments on my Facebook page. Ok the comments were not too abusive, they were just childish, inane and vaguely annoying…”Who are you, never heard of you”. They seemed from the hand of a child or teenager. I did not rise up to the challenge, I simply deleted the comments…they have not infested my page since…

I had a very surreal conversation via Facebook, with a fellow author. I came across his Twitter page. I wanted to do an interview for him, but was prepared to offer him one in exchange. I should have taken heed looking at his grim dour face on Twitter. The conversation went round and round in circles with him writing in CAPS, repeating his question, despite the fact that I had answered it, several times over…He kept repeating “What do you want?” In whatever manner I answered he would fire the same question, like an inquisitor…Finally he got nasty and accused me of being selfish, despite the fact that I was offering something for him. It was obvious he got some pleasure from being a wind-up, that he enjoyed trying to demoralize somebody…perhaps he felt superior in some way and enjoys enforcing this superiority on other people, be it…a complete stranger.

There is also a sinister disturbing side to this phenomenon. Go on Google and you will find cases of teenagers who have hung themselves, following the onslaughts of “Trolls”. There seems to be cases in which Trolls seem to have taken a delight in pushing their victims over the edge, posting comments such as ‘Can you kill yourself already?’ Maybe a pragmatic adult would choose to ignore or take action like closing down their (Facebook) page, but a susceptible teenager might think otherwise…what a terrible waste of a young life.

Celebrities also get loads of Twitter troll abuse…and it seems to get to them. Apparently Male celebrities are the victims of more Twitter abuse than women, but men are also equally more likely to be behind the abuse. If you are an outspoken person, expect a high-volume of abuse.

Some people use the internet to attack people who have found themselves in the news, for horrific reasons. Take the McCanns, they have had their daughter missing for quite some years now. You would imagine most normal people would support their quest to find the whereabouts of their daughter or to find out the truth, about what happened to her. They also must have a residue  guilt, because when they had left her to have dinner, when she was abducted. Brenda Leyland, 63 chose to troll the McCanns, posting thousands of messages on Twitter attacking the McCanns.

She herself became the victim of online abuse, once a TV channel had exposed her. What on earth was her motivation? Why spend hours in front a computer screen attacking two strangers? Not long after the Leyland story broke, she was found dead in a hotel room…some blaming the TV channel who cornered her outside her house and broadcasted it for all to see.

Really what goes on in the mind of a Troll?

Are they here to stay?

What would they be like to talk to face to face, hidden behind a keyboard, they can do as they wish…

Francis H Powell

Author of Flight of Destiny, 22 short stories available on Amazon