Oct 16 2011

#169 “Definitions”

From Nick, a wandering drifter…

It is not uncommon for discoverers of this project to label it with a wide variety of terms. Words ranging from “awesome” to “weird” are commonly attributed to this social experiment of sorts, and to be honest, I find just about all of these classifications to be fairly accurate. To the modern wolf enthusiast, there are no doubt certain aspects of WBS that would inspire awe, but to those without a proper appreciation for the lobo, I can also understand that this project would seem very bizarre.

Of all the assessments and descriptions of this website that I have ever experienced, however, I would have to say that the words of Nick in a recent email are the most unique and definitely the most perplexing. Here is what this lupine-loving vagabond had to say:

“Wolves by strangers is theĀ beginningĀ of the Post-post modernist art movement and will be remembered as the grandfather of Dadaism in the digital era.”

I’ll be honest, I was floored when I read this description, but not necessarily because I disagreed with it. I was simply unaware that someone might read so deeply into this project that they would define it with these somewhat ambitious terms. Also, I was a bit taken back because although Dadaism and Post-post modern art are movements that I am familiar with, I wasn’t quite sure if these classifications were totally accurate. I felt that I must either validate or deny these claims, and in order to do so, I would have to become strangely introspective.

As far as the reference to Dadaism is concerned, I agree with this analysis in some respects and disagree in others. Unlike Dadaism, I do believe that this project is (to a certain degree) concerned with aesthetics. But then again, aesthetics are largely in the eye of the beholder, and one person’s sense of beauty can be vastly different than that of another. Also, I don’t necessary believe that this project rejects logic or the idea of the bourgeois and their controlling power, but I do believe that the artwork displayed here often does embrace chaos and irrationality and that very often the prevailing ideas of what is traditionally considered to be “art” are cast by the wayside.

Whether or not this project adheres to any of the prevalent ideas of Post-post modernism may be even more difficult to analyze, particularly because we are currently living in the early developmental stages of this growing epoch. However, if we look at the major theme of Post-post modernism as being closely tied to the idea that faith, trust, dialogue, performance and sincerity can work to transcend postmodern irony, then I believe we may be on to something.

So, what conclusion have we reached in the end? I believe it is the one that we knew would be waiting for us all this time: the wolf is all things to all people. It is undefinable and magically transcendent. Whether your work is marvelously minimal (such as the piece that Nick has so graciously bestowed upon us) or is deeply intricate and complex, the spirit of the wolf lies within them all. And in the end this is really all that matters.

But we can’t leave the discussion without tipping our hats to Nick who started this whole ball rolling. Thanks, Nick, for turning on our thinking caps. We certainly need it from time to time. Also, as I compose these final sentences, I am reminded of the words of the famous British playwright George Bernard Shaw who wrote, “All good art is didactic.” If that’s all we know, then for now I think that is enough, and one more thing’s for sure: Nick’s work here today has certainly been more didactic than I think any of us anticipated.

Thanks again, Nick.


Jul 20 2011

#81 “The Politically Correct Version…”


From Kat

There is certainly no shortage of Red Riding Hood themed pieces in my vast collection of wolf artwork, but this illustration is different from all the rest. There is a certain quality to this particular piece that sets it apart. After much thought and thorough examination, I have come to the conclusion that this mysterious feature is the mature rendering of both the girl and the wolf. There is a quality of adulthood that seems present in the eyes and the demeanor of each of these creatures. No, my friends, this isn’t the Little Red Riding Hood of your youth. This is a new version, an updated interpretation of a time-honored tale that blows the original out of the water.

In fact, this illustration reminds me of a retelling of the classic story that was published in a 1994 book called Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner, published by MacMillan Publishing Co., NY. Read for yourself and see if this upgraded illustration and this modernized telling of the tale don’t seem to match up perfectly.

There once was a young person named Red Riding Hood who lived with her mother on the edge of a large wood. One day her mother asked her to take a basket of fresh fruit and mineral water to her grandmother’s house–not because this was womyn’s work, mind you, but because the deed was generous and helped engender a feeling of community. Furthermore, her grandmother was not sick, but rather was in full physical and mental health and was fully capable of taking care of herself as a mature adult.

So Red Riding Hood set off with her basket through the woods. Many people believed that the forest was a foreboding and dangerous place and never set foot in it. Red Riding Hood, however, was confident enough in her own budding sexuality that such obvious Freudian imagery did not intimidate her.

On the way to Grandma’s house, Red Riding Hood was accosted by a wolf, who asked her what was in her basket. She replied, “Some healthful snacks for my grandmother, who is certainly capable of taking care of herself as a mature adult.”

The wolf said, “You know, my dear, it isn’t safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone.”

Red Riding Hood said, “I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop your own, entirely valid, worldview. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must be on my way.”

Red Riding Hood walked on along the main path. But because his status outside society had freed him from slavish adherence to linear, Western-style thought, the wolf knew a quicker route to Grandma’s house. He burst into the house and ate Grandma, an entirely valid course of action for a carnivore such as himself. Then, unhampered by rigid, traditionalist notions of what was masculine or feminine, he put on Grandma’s nightclothes and crawled into bed.

Red Riding Hood entered the cottage and said, “Grandma, I have brought you some fat-free, sodium-free snacks to salute you in your role of a wise and nurturing matriarch.”

From the bed, the wolf said softly, “Come closer, child, so that I might see you.”

Red Riding Hood said, “Oh, I forgot you are as optically challenged as a bat. Grandma, what big eyes you have!”

“They have seen much, and forgiven much, my dear.”

“Grandma, what a big nose you have–only relatively, of course, and certainly attractive in its own way.”

It has smelled much, and forgiven much, my dear.”

“Grandma, what big teeth you have!”

The wolf said, “I am happy with who I am and what I am,” and leaped out of the bed. He grabbed Red Riding Hood in his claws, intent on devouring her. Red Riding Hood screamed, not out of alarm at the wolf’s apparent tendency toward cross-dressing, but because of his willful invasion of her personal space.

Her screams were heard by a passing woodchopper-person (or log-fuel technician, as he preferred to be called). When he burst into the cottage, he saw the melee and tried to intervene. But as he raised his ax, Red Riding Hood and the wolf both stopped.

“And just what do you think you’re doing?” asked Red Riding Hood.

The woodchopper-person blinked and tried to answer, but no words came to him.

“Bursting in here like a Neanderthal, trusting your weapon to do your thinking for you!” she exclaimed. “Sexist! Speciesist! How dare you assume that womyn and wolves can’t solve their own problems without a man’s help!”

When she heard Red Riding Hood’s impassioned speech, Grandma jumped out of the wolf’s mouth, seized the woodchopper-person’s ax, and cut his head off. After this ordeal, Red Riding Hood, Grandma, and the wolf felt a certain commonality of purpose. They decided to set up an alternative household based on mutual respect and cooperation, and they lived together in the woods happily ever after.