WRITING ABOUT THREE OLD WORKS
THE WORLD’S PEACHIEST BOY IN THE WORLD
You want to know about THE WORLDS PEACHIEST BOY IN THE WORLD? It’s a short story. Not many would call it a long story, that’s for sure. Merely 5 pages. On the first page we learn about Pipsqueak. A little man. Shy, sheepish, smart. Apparently humble too. On the second page Balthazar Dolla Bill appears. With a huge mouth and even bigger words. The two characters don’t seem to get along. On the third page Pipsqueak gets an idea, signified by a lightbulb appearing above his head. He grabs it. Breaks it. Using it as a stabbing weapon, and has now thus constructed a murder weapon. Returning to Dolla Bill on page four, it seems that Pipsqueak and the writer of the poem aren’t listening to Dolla Bill any longer and he gets stabbed. A lot. The story ends on page five where Dolla Bill appears to die and Pipsqueak continues his life of bi-weekly critiques. The short story, written by Simon Becks, has 197 words and consists of 1079 characters. Estimated reading time: 50 seconds.
According to my sources the short story was written in half an hour on a Tuesday before noon. In part made possible by Elanor Greenhalgh and the short introductory self portrait exercise. Where each student of LB1 year 2021/23 was prompted to make a short work dealing with the fears and attractions they might have in regards to their potential collaborations and critiques (a major part of most master’s programmes, and thus also for the Piet Zwart Institute. The education facility which hosted all of this). Oh, and I suspect the writer has used a thesaurus and a rhyming dictionary. Possibly even inspired by the cautionary tales of yesteryear, wouldn’t you say so?
The story, THE WORLDS PEACHIEST BOY IN THE WORLD, came to be, in part, and I have only gathered this through the grapevine, so please you reader, don’t hold me accountable for my musings, due to the writer's apprehensions of the original seminar. Aren’t most seminars that are called 'Communication, Consent and Conflict' just focussed on Communication and Consent? Would there be actual room for Conflict. Can generative conflict occur? The writer proposed these ideas in an easy and accessible to read children story. Who is the real perpetrator in the story, Dolla Bill, the loudmouth, or the hero-framed Pipsqueak, who eventually kills the apparent antagonist simply based on the fact he wants to discuss. Is there an equal distribution of responsibility, for shy and loud people alike? Who knows, we sure can’t ask Dolla Bill anything anymore.
MEN DISCUSSING THEIR FEELINGS IN AN EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY WAY
The not so short, short film of 21:22 seconds with the long title MEN DISCUSSING THEIR FEELINGS IN AN EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY WAY, a title consisting of 9 words, follows a group of four characters in a mosaic of absurdism and estrangement. The stylistic short film starts with a man coincidentally on purpose dropping a coffee cup on the ground, receiving an unexpected gift by mail, finding a muddied man, dancing in a mansion, getting jerked off by a woman who talks to him through a sockpuppet and eventually bursts out in song and dance with the muddied man, now bloodied. What else is there to say. Besides that the shots are frontal, always. Theatrical almost in the way objects and characters are positioned or moved.
Originally asked as a screenwriter, Simon Becks has gotten more and more involved over time, eventually taking on the role as co-director. This due to the fact that the other director Cas Mulder, got not one, but two imploded lungs during the conception and pre production phases of the film. Though the film originated as an exploration of toxic masculinity, the film eventually drifted away from that particular strain of research. Taking on more abstract proportions. Questioning subjects about communication and identity, as we see all characters discuss and narrate things, yet never do they seem to actually understand or process what the other one is saying.
Graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy with honors and a diploma that said BACHELOR ART AND DESIGN yet labeling yourself a director without a camera is a confusing state to be in. When the opportunity presented itself to apply Occam's razor (a philosophical principle that urges people to cut out the most unnecessary thing to arrive at the most probable explanation of a truth), it seemed to be to rid myself of the ‘without a camera’ part.
GENERAL GENERAL DULL DULL DULL AND THE HUMDRUM HO-HUM COMMON PLACE
I know you’ve heard of Frankenstein (or The Modern Prometheus). You’d be so dumb if you havent. Though originally written by Marry Shelley an English author from the 1800’s, you, if you aren’t totally dumb, probably just know Frankenstein from the idea, the comic books, cartoons, or google images or something. A monster made out of different parts, brought to life. Now. Imagine it as a room. A 40 square meter. Wooden walls on the outside. And just a single entrance. And the parts this time aren’t knees, balls, penis or ear, but are types of spaces. Non-spaces. A mix of a waiting room, storage space, hallway etc. In the middle of one part of the room is a waiting bench, on the other part a storage cabinet with some matches. A forgotten brown Kipling backpack in the corner. And do you smell that cleaning-alcohol-sweaty-sock smell? You only could have if you entered through the only entrance or exit, a hollowed out filing cabinet that functions as passageway in. That one girl that you want to call Tiffany, but you did not, you wonder, why is she there for so long. Is she part of this?
Based on his thesis called The Thresholdians, a short trilogy, as most good fantasy books do, the work GENERAL GENERAL DULL DULL DULL AND THE HUMDRUM HO-HUM COMMONPLACE came to be. In the thesis the artist expands on the idea of liminality, a term popularized by Arnold van Gennep in his book Rites of Passages. Part one of the thesis focussed on the attempt to explain the idea of liminality. In part two the artist dives into the person that could represent liminality and in part three places and architecture are explored for the liminal potential. The idea of a transitory and transformatory moment, fascinated him and he, the artist, attempted to catch it, freeze it. Congealing this research resulted in the construction of this space, that is there, like a spirit in an empty snail’s shell.
In the context of a graduation it is more than common, dare we say, mandatory to present a work that is assessed by teachers from within the academy and outside tutors. Only after this work has it been rated as sufficient (in terms of quality, progress and other didactical metrics). Another intrinsic reason of production could be the lone weekends the artist spend as a boy, in the empty hallways of his fathers work, at a school for handicaped kids. His father would work over-hours on weekends, and Simon, would enjoy the sense of awumbuk (the electrical charge one feels in a place where once were many people but now there are none) and liminality that empty public places have. Building such spaces yourself, that are inherently impersonal because they are so often public, seems like a contradiction in terminus, which it is. Maybe that is where the artistry comes in.