26.5.07

You shall not pass!

I was in an art gallery last weekend, looking through soapstone carvings (and quickly realising that any attempt to invest in the Yellowknife market would end in my ruin) when I saw something that re-wrote all the plans I'd made for my new condo's decor. It's not on my walls yet, but it's already helping me decide the colour scheme for the living room. It's a red cedar canoe paddle, inlaid from handle to tip with aboriginal patterns, and the likeness of a killer whale on the blade.

It's a beautiful piece of artwork, but in all honesty, a large reason for me wanting this is that it's the closest I'll ever get to owning a magical staff.

Now, I don't believe in "magick", but I do believe that people get out of people and things what they put into them. Even if this doesn't go any further than psychosomatic effects, self-fulfilling prophecies, and placebos... what's the problem with that?

Here's another way to look at it:

Clarke's Third Law (Denton's First Expansion):

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from art.

Clarke's Third Law (Denton's Second Expansion):

Any sufficiently advanced art is indistinguishable from magic.

See what I mean now? It's not magic, but it's close enough that it still means something very similar to me. Really, isn't that how all art works? Why else would we cry with joy while watching Shaolin Soccer?

(And yes, we should all cry with joy while watching Shaolin Soccer.)

Unfortunately, this paddle is a bit more complicated, because I'm going to have to earn it. That's why I'm joining the Medicine Hat Paddling Club -- hopefully, there'll be a few stories to come out of it, at which point I can feel I've "put enough into that paddle" in order to claim it as my own.

At which point, I'll gleefully post the pictures on this blog, where I'm standing on a hilltop in the rain, swinging it over my head, trying to call down a thunderstorm.

1 comment:

Jayson Merryfield said...

Denton, I think those are the deepest thoughts I've heard in a long time. Methinks you're spending far too much time on the john.

Seriously, the paddle sounds beautiful. I have a soft spot in my heart for inuit and native art - my grandfather has a lot of different and unique pieces he collected while posted up in the north. There is a mystery and a certain form of magic that is present in native art that seems to come from their deep commune with nature. I've always found it to be appealing.

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.