Archive for June, 2016

Is Activism a Dirty Word?

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2016 by kathydasilva

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Earlier this week, I began wondering why, showing your feelings via demonstrations and petitions, always inevitably, ran parallel with standing out from the crowd, meaning the ‘rest’ of the population and, what that meant? Why is doing something of this nature almost seen as daring, or loud or problematical? The law itself in recent years in England has changed dramatically since I was an undergraduate, when nearly every other weekend, students and ‘the people’, bore banners with anti nuclear furor for example, gay liberation rights,  anti cut backs to education etc. The law has tightened to the point that all demonstrations have to be policed, and the police have to be informed prior to the date.  It rather killed the spontaneity of the whole act if it has to be put, of public feeling. I remember seeing an old photograph of Trafalgar Square showing a packed crowd part of the Charter House movement, I believe a Labour movement and all about the human rights angle.  It is a wonderful thing that our democracy has been a growing thing, not immobile, or stagnant. Since the creation of parliament in the time of Oliver Cromwell, our land had pursued a greater  participation for the people with regard to the way it was governed and who governed it.  This earlier movement nearly overcame the monarchy, and we would then have been more like I imagine America. Charles was executed for treason. No monarch could rule without the consent of parliament, it says on Wikipedia, as a result. And how did this come about? Civil war. A show of dissent among the people and army. It is a sad fact that there was blood shed on our streets, in order to make it possible for the people to have the right to propose and decide how they were governed.  I watched a film about this period a dramatized version of events just after Christmas. Ever more is the teaching of history ever more prominently important.  It was called the ‘The Glorious Revolution’, and with regard to the feeling of our own ineptitude in comparison today to show a feeling of dissent,  I feel we are in a period of apathy where political gumption is concerned. I think that the people like Chomsky has stated, have become, unable to make decisions based on deep knowledge of circumstances of state, somehow we have become disenfranchised. I partly blame this state on the role of hedonism, and distraction, for example of the use and some would call it a tool, the television itself has had, in switching our focus from what really counts to pure escapist laziness. Unfortunately for the people, the individuals like Julian Assange, whose inherited distaste for war and the results of war,  and subsequent work, has only resulted in him, his situation being caricatured as some sort of maverick persona, loosely perceived by politicians particularly in America as an enemy with dangerous possibilities. He almost single-handily put a stop to the Iraqi war of George W. Bush’s era via his news breaking Collateral Damage video and stills, presented then through main stream press for example The Guardian news paper and team and BBC news. This example of feeling of antipathy toward government decisions to make war against certain nations  of the Middle East, manifested itself, in the anti-war marches of the time Stop the War Coalition in the last decade or so. Julian Assange was not alone.  Yet today, and it is remarkable, that a situation exists that a journalist and publicist is being and, allowed to be chastised, and pilloried even through the press,  over articles and a stance against the planning of war, in order to literally silence him.  The dissent, over particularly the war mongering created by the politicians, in recent years, has turned our press and media outlets into targets for control by state, and statesmen. There is a feeling that if they can control and influence, by that control over material published, that the bad feeling the antipathy might vanish under the carpet.  Politicians must bear an awfully self critical stance if that glorious revolution of Cromwell is not to be wasted, or usurped by ‘other’ powers.  There is and it is clear always a sense of keeping the working men and women of our country down, or exhausted and therefore non-reactionary when laws almost silently and without dissent are being passed and not discussed with regard to human rights and a wholesome sense of abiding care toward the population. My heart felt cast down when benefits for the unemployed were seen as a target for cuts. I was working at the time, but remembered the Thatcher era, rang a poor sounding bell, to the ordinary peoples’ dreams and what is left for our youth, by way of the possibilities of a future doing just what they had chosen and planned? More now than ever, corporations with nameless faceless power are taking over our institutions and colleges, and God help us media and papers. It would appear, that the result is kind of unspoken stone wall.  A feeling of being shut out, unless you agree with an inequality of mindset.  Jacob Appelbaum expressed this recently at a press conference in Berlin, that he had been labelled by the press as an ‘activist’ which had compromised his ability to operate wholly as a journalist and in his cryptography work and research. That like Julian Assange his voice has been selectively isolated, as someone, who will influence people to question governments, and thus is seen as someone to silence.  The darker nature of which has included veiled death threats, and recently deliberately anonymously placed ‘lies’ about sexual misconduct.

I worked hard at school, for good academic results, but my sense of being able to use even half of what I have learned and achieved in a job is getting less sure.

In addition, to the situation in this country, the threat of a New World Order, seems to be being presented as certain nations are collecting together to impose their rule with an alarming up-rise in militarization of police, with the collective intention of fighting  the loosely termed ‘terrorism’, which to be truthful has only presented itself in sporadic isolated events in very different countries. It is to the shame of the top leaders that thousands of migrants are having to flee their home countries and mainly  coming from Syria and Libya. That no one nation or collective can make decisions to come together with the leaders and put pressure say on Assad to step down or for a United Nations army to help keep fighting factions apart as they use to do for example in Kosova, the era of Slobodan Milošević,  in the Slovakian and Croatian split of former Yugoslavia. Has sense gone to the wind over how to rule sensibly? And still the police, the media are being controlled and not allowed for example to publish news as we knew it to be.  This is only the tip of an iceberg, but this iceberg is going to appear at some point, and we will all become astonished.

Follow the Light…

Posted in Autobiography, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , on June 12, 2016 by kathydasilva

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Nostalgia overcame me the other day. I was mournful and sorry that I had never fully appreciated the great and amazing ability of my feet to dance form dance moves and steps, and also my own general mobility. Having an accident, has really been quite a hard experience. I am not someone who likes to be ill in any sense, I work on my own health and eat good food most of the time but this takes quite an effort, and you have to shop well for foods that are not processed, and preferably are more in their raw state or at least with no additives. I have even bought additionally some multivitamins because, of the need for some extra iron, and calcium, after all I am having to grow new bone, so like all the foods that feed the body with what is needed for white nail tips and glossy hair, the replenishment of nutrients for healing is something of a focus. DSCF1643

Am thinking forward to loosing weight, and doing some dance class or exercise to get my limbs back to what they can be.  I have been watching the Fantastic Four film. If only limbs could grow back quickly, when breaks occur! The awful thing is my foot actually does feel alright and is itching to move around.

Amazingly when I was hit by the car, the front bumper, I actually had an internal vision of the action of the car as it stove into my ankle, and then I believe the front left hand tyre  ran over the foot, as my memory held onto the image of the tyre being well pumped up and firm.  As my hand was no where near the car it can only be the truth that the tyre ran over the foot. The thing was, that I had a pair of leather ballet pumps on that day, no socks. But, the toe and heal of the shoe were designed with a double layer of leather, and for this reason I think my toes and heel were saved and the bottom of the foot.  The sole of the shoe, also was a well designed foot comfort type. I have never been more grateful to a manufacturer for making such a sensible and protective shoe.  If I had had my winter boots on I may well have got away with a sprain  or just bad bruising, who knows?

The worst thing about the accident, was the car an unmarked police car came  up the slip road the wrong way and with no siren at that point. I never heard it coming, and he did not even use his horn. I think he did not see me, I wore a black long coat. But, I guess it will make me more aware of possible repercussions. I am hoping it was just an accident.  It was eerie that the car was silent. I never heard even its engine until it the object the car hit my leg and I was staring down at the bonnet. Fortunately I fell backward back onto the pedestrian island.

An angel beside me every day I pray, so this will never happen again!

The hospital was marvelous, and eventually I had everything repaired as best it could be by the Saturday the accident had occurred on Thursday, 28th April 2016. The leg was severely bruised by all the manipulation of the bones back into position and there were two entry wounds with stitches to cope with too, and an enormous plaster cast for the first ten days which felt like concrete on the end of my foot.  They put a lighter weight plaster cast on subsequently.  I have never rested so much in my life.  I remember the character of the wife in Don’t Say a Word, she had her leg in plaster and was bed ridden with a sling to lift the leg in the air and a maid who came and made the dinners for everyone! But, I had no such luxury as I at this time have been living with just the company of a cat. My neighbor in the end became a source of help, and he had come to the hospital and collected my spare key, and helped with feeding my cat. But, it is a hard way to survive! My respect goes to all those who suffer disability daily. Managing with crutches with me being over my ideal weight has taught me to lose it all and get more lean.   I sometimes also suffer from a lack of enthusiasm for food, in this predicament, because when I use to trot round to the shops, I could shop daily for individual things and just now of course it all takes lots more planning to avoid journeys.

Friends and neighbors are a saving grace, and hopefully I will remember this for a long time to come.

Amoral, immoral, libertine…

Posted in Autobiography, Current affairs, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2016 by kathydasilva

 

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And who is to blame? I have often thought about city living as a kind of lifestyle that is fraught with ‘trouble’, where relationships are concerned.  I came from Southampton, and started to live in the London area as an undergraduate, studying art.  Yes I was looking for Mister Perfect, a man I could admire who had at least some intellect, with the potential for dating and hanging around with at least in my spare moments and weekends. But, there’s the ‘rub’. Just that, my art career, was to all intent and purpose, the thing that wholly excited me in every essence of the word. Art thrilled me. Not just looking at it in galleries, but the expansive wonderful world of thought, creative motivation, endless originating of ideas. Yes if you asked me now and then, I would have said I am a great ‘ideas’ person. I had and have a trouble solving mind, and included in the ‘package’ is my kindness in general, brought about by a Catholic and charity aware upbringing. Love thy neighbor as thy self. Love God with all your heart and mind and being. Well, those spiritual things are difficult to either ignore once you are taught them, and throw off into the air, even if you disagree with some of the teaching. I had a few encounters during my first year as an undergraduate. Vestal virgin. I was impressed by an artist called Kevin Atherton, whom I met at my foundation year of art school in Winchester. At the time I had a mild ‘crush’ on Kevin, which I never admitted to and never would talk about to others. But, Kevin had introduced me to the world of a performance artist. He had showed all his international work on slide to the whole year group, and had made friends with quite a few of the students, we looked to him for advice and with a bit of awe.  Some of his work had included painting his naked body and standing as part of a studio environment, and being photographed. His point being that the body was sculpture, and you had to search for evidence of his being in the scene as it was indeed a bit camouflaged by large parts of his nakedness being covered in white body paint. Now, this may seem very, adventurous to some who have not been initiated into the fine art of performance before. I was wholly influenced to make my own versions of time based art there on, some of which I used my own person and body to complete the installation element. I had drawn life figures before, and nudity did not bother me in the least in terms of the condition of where and how it was received given the setting was relatively formal and respected in a traditional sense. Most of what I did at Winchester did not involve my own nudity at that time. I did a fantastic drawing of an audience for the parents and friends of the school at our end of term ‘show’. All about shadows and interaction and shining lights to create moving pictures which the audience were invited to take part in by using their hands and heads to cast a shadow that I would then draw around and thus integrate the image into the large live drawing event. It was indeed a happy year of very experimental art endeavor. I sallied forth to the London scene thus equipped with time based art knowledge and conceptual-ism. Thus it is right to say I had become involved in a more sculptural view of art product.  At Middlesex University or Polytech as it was then, I progressed this interest in performance art, in every sense. And one of my first performances was put on at the Coventry Performance Art Festival around the Easter period of that year. I had wrapped myself in clear plastic, naked underneath, and lay in a corridor, across sheets of zero sized jumbo cartridge paper.  The floating audience were going to be people who just happened to be walking past, to other events. Opposite where I lay was a small old fashioned file box filled with words that described the body. Vulnerable, naked. The foot prints were part of the piece. The remnant of the performance which was to last at least two hours. I had my name chalked up on the blackboard in reception, my name my maiden name then was King. So it would have read Kathy King, performing in the basement corridor, between say 2-4pm. People walked past me, talked as they walked past me, joked, and I even got poked once or twice physically with the odd finger prodding to see if I was real. To me the afterward feeling was indeed one of triumph on the one hand I had made a first appearance at this festival, but, on the other hand, I had not seen that the content was indeed ‘adult’ in nature as my nudity was indeed therein, there for all to see whoever passed through the corridor. This may sound like a confessional. I actually went to church the very next day, seeking some solace  some vindication. And you might ask yourself why did I feel guilt? Well I had not ever done anything so adventurous publicly before, on the one hand but, I too, had not controlled the situation in total. Some of the remarks were a bit salacious, one lecturer, had passed an audible comment: ‘Wouldn’t mind her on my desk!’ , another deeply upsetting incident had occurred too, another lecturer had allowed their toddler, to trail passed unattended.  I had had no thought as to  the age group of who would be viewing my piece. And I had not put a sign saying about nudity. I was wrapped in plastic, it is true. So I had such a wake up call that day about responsibility. No one had stopped me, no one in fact made any complaint, I think possibly the world is more tolerant. However, when I went back to the art school with some photographic evidence of my performance I found myself tearing the prints up and throwing them away. The following year, I did another performance in the same corridor. I chose the theme of death and transference to the spiritual worlds beyond our material one. I had looked at tombs and themes about death in other cultures and created a coracle   of a  boat in hessian material ( it would never have floated) but also filled this with peat/compost to imitate earth and lay in it  wrapped in funereal muslin naked underneath, semi translucent. The rest of the installation included a trailing tail of torn clothing as if my body had slipped out of its material cover, and pieces of barbed wire, were placed strategically across the clothing as if I had crawled through a barbed fence and then died. This year  a whole class did a seminar around my piece. I got drawn by other art students, I had acquired a ‘status’, as artist not amateur. So why do I tell the story today to everyone, because, perhaps we all do make mistakes. Where is morality placed today? Photographed nudity, painted nudity are very different things, as one is more displaced in a progression of the revealed nudity. When I think of a century before, this perhaps would never have been allowed. However, I still stand bold in my efforts then to be an expressive art student. I was questioning things of a deep nature. The second performance the one with the boat of hessian, was so much more successful in gaining me some audience, a thinking audience. So everything we do in live makes some sort of stamp on people’s minds, an influence, as did Kevin Atherton, at the time. I had seen my future as a semi theatrical fine art performance artist then. It is a hard thing to progress and make a living by. But, art in general is perhaps the hardest profession of them all. I was still even so in command of my own morality. I met an Irish artist, Andre Stitt, who did body performance art using the theme of death, and the culture of the troubled Northern Ireland, where bodies laying dead in the road was not an uncommon experience. I got chatting to him in a pub, and he the lovely soul that he is, had invited me to his home and cooked me pizza, and we drank wine, and he had sensed perhaps that, I was a new initiate to the world of art performance. I had never slept with anyone, and I avoided telling him. All I can say was the opportunity of knowing him had been there, but, too, that if you talk about nudity in performance then this can also lead people to think that you are more than open also in a sexual sense. I was not ready for the attention at the time. His friend called round and we progressed to the pub, and I retained my sense of ‘purity’ for another time yet in the future. So what is a moral girl to do? I have wavered many times since from being completely pure to experimenting with relationships, but, yes I do believe in essence in one person partnership, we call it trendily monogamy. I guess that is a type of morality. I do believe it protects women essentially. Not everyone in the world has moralizing parents too, but it’s the culture of responsibility that was driven into my head from an early age. I seem to be speaking of grand adventures, which is great, and I am so glad to be sharing this for once. The body is sacred. Yes it is. When  I witness, the dilemma of others, and more recently the artist Jacob Appelbaum, with his issues of torment with Tor ‘brethren’, I can see why and how that happened, and would encourage people to talk and discuss what happened, communication and counseling, are the achievement of honesty and love and care. Amoral, immoral, libertine, are these the issues of today’s cultural back-draft? The flames of passion. The need for experience and expression in the young. Comments welcome, love,  and goodness always…

Feel I’m dragging you down a one way street…..

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva on June 7, 2016 by kathydasilva

Words from a Lucy Silvas’ song Breathe in life and breathe out…wipe the dust from your brow… I hope Jake Appelbaum is feeling ‘in recovery’ from the appalling week he …

Source: Feel I’m dragging you down a one way street…..

Feel I’m dragging you down a one way street…..

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , on June 7, 2016 by kathydasilva

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Words from a Lucy Silvas’ song Breathe in life and breathe out…wipe the dust from your brow…
I hope Jake Appelbaum is feeling ‘in recovery’ from the appalling week he must be having… almost as traumatizing as my broken ankle week.. which began the morning of 28th April 2016. What can a person say about life changing things…. I’ve had to sit and rest to a ridiculous amount. Result.. back to the old me, less stressed.. yep… listening to music …yep… wipe the dust from you sweet smile says Lucy..breathe in life.. breathe in life. ..Well we all get a bit ‘campaign weary’ that’s a correct expression. And what really did count in life? Jake for all the ‘offenders/victims’ say, is actually quite a nice guy, very dedicated in his purpose of sharing safety and privacy on the internet.  A lot of people in our society have been horrified by the non-ending war news/happenings of the last decade or so. Am so hoping it will eventually stop and Syrians and Iraqis might be able to return to their homelands.  Being female has not been an easy task for about a decade or so either….. but, hey when someone does the right thing with a person.  I cannot do much but rest my foot, invalided out of action for a while. I got so itchy to move around last night, as some caffeine had stayed in my system and I decided even on one leg I need to get some music on and move around a bit, all be it semi-exercise moves.  I chose the waters I’m in…. through all the thick and thin end of this wedge…Jake is such a strong human, at the end of the day, I just hope he still gets to do some advisory role/speaking role.  I was just amazed when he was invited to speak at the European Parliament about privacy, and the head to head with Louise Mensch author of chic lit books and Conservative lovey on BBC 2 News night. This last year the shows with Ai Wei Wei, and his own show of photographs in Berlin.

The moon will shine for us the stars will light the way….

There’s no smoke without a fire, no sleep without a dream

Heavens where we’ve been..

Fantastic lyrics coming out in a song….

So in spite of a spate of rainwater coming down….. a wonderful calm has come back.  I’ve kind of learned something.  Being yourself is just as important, to maintain balance in life.