Monday, September 24, 2018

"How Dumb Can One Be!"

Good "how dumb can you be" Monday morning, y'all.
Last Wednesday, we attended a short talk about Post Modern furniture that NOMA had acquired. These pieces, as so often happens in art, were created as a reaction or followup to the kind of furniture Henry Miller and Ray and Charles Eames created in the 50's and 60's.
It reminded me of a time when I was Art Center, in my seventh semester, when we were allowed to peruse the employment bulletin board to make a little extra cash. Florence Kercheck, an administrator I seemed to get along with, called me about doing some work with some designers in Venice, CA.
In the late seventies, Venice was a place full of burned out hippies, transients, head shops and bike paths. My only connection with the city was that it was, once, the home of the giant plastic model company, Revell, Inc.
Shows you where I was coming from!
The square looking building on Washington Blvd was the studio of the legendary design team Charles and Ray Eames!
They invited me, 'cuz I needed the money, I guess, to create a storyboard from a scrip that they had written and sketched out for me. I wasn't sure how it was gonna be used. It turns out to be the film short, "The Powers of Ten."
"The Powers of Ten" illustrates the universe as an arena of both continuity and change, of everyday picnics and cosmic mystery. It begins with a close-up shot of a man sleeping near the lakeside in Chicago, viewed from one meter away. The landscape steadily moves out until it reveals the edge of the known universe. Then, at a rate of 10-to-the-tenth meters per second, the film takes us towards Earth again, continuing back to the sleeping man’s hand and eventually down to the level of a carbon atom. You can look it up at: since it is now, so well known.
Thing is, I had absolutely no idea who the two designers were until a friend, who was more into architectural and environmental design, Michael Sell, flipped out when I told him who I was working for.
"What?" he said incredulously. "Haven't you ever heard or seen an Eames chair?"
"Uh... no!"
Hearing the lecturer speak about the "new modern" as to the "old modern" just made a bit sad. The Eames's were a delight to work for and throughout the project I learned, in the very short time I was there, how to marvel at the simple things the world has already designed for us.
Sadly, one year later, Charles Eames died. Ten years to the date, Ray passed away, but for me, one lesson always remains. And that is to protect the child in you and the ability to wonder and marvel at this thing called life.
Most times, I forget that!
Third cup!

Copyright Ben Bensen III/ 2018