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da v i d ga r n e r future tense


Lost Syllables in a Global Current (Detail) 2010/11 (Mekong river fishing boat, National Geographic magazines, church bell, human skull, oscilloscope, fishing net, microcasettes) Cover/Clawr Last Punch of the Clock (detail) 2009 (Clocking-in machine, clocking-in cards, steel spike, card holder, glass jar containing card chips)


da v i d ga r n e r future tense


Pause to reflect As Wales continues in its efforts to maintain its identity and culture, this is most evidently witnessed in the struggle to continue the development of the Welsh language. A pause to reflect on all the books I could have read, but were out of reach, and what might have been but for the lofty failures of the grammar school system. Around the world other threatened and fragile languages disappear at a rate of knots, washed away in a global current, with the consequence of human knowledge and understanding lost forever. Forward with a new chapter, ‘education, education, education’- a cargo cult and woolly learning policy of a gown and cap of sackcloth and wood from the tree of learning, available at a price for everyone. There was a time when working class women had skills passed down from their mothers’ mothers. The skill of knitting affordable and durable children’s clothes that could be handed down to siblings for continual use. Considered and handmade, and without sweat- the antithesis of the throwaway ethos, of massed produced goods and of the exploitation of the contemporary global market. The time has come to choose between a sheep wearing a coat from its own fleece or the suggestion of a tropical bird delivered on an exotic hardwood pallet. So we don’t make anything anymore, and the once commonplace action of clocking-in and out that brought security and dignity, can now be accumulated in a glass jar. The onetime given routine of afternoons, days or nights, diminishes as the last punch of the clock proclaims a new global shift. But there is sufficient reason to recognise the celebratory endurance associated with minority cultures, this is epitomized completely by the Welsh language that has been sustained despite its immediate proximity to the world’s most dominant language.

Cargo Cult Education 2012 (Sackcloth, oak, steel)

David Garner was born in Ebbw Vale, South Wales. He studied at Newport and Cardiff College of Art and the Royal College, London. He has exhibited widely throughout the UK and Ireland including the National Museum Cardiff, the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow and the City Gallery, Leicester. His work has been purchased by the Contemporary Arts Society of Wales and the ‘Richard and Rosemary Wakelin Purchase Award’. He was awarded the ‘Ivor Davies Award’ for work that “conveys the spirit of activism in the struggle for language, culture and politics in Wales.”


Ennyd i fyfyrio Wrth i Gymru barhau yn ei hymdrechion i gynnal ei hunaniaeth a’i diwylliant, mae’r proses hwn yn fwyaf amlwg yn ei brwydr i barhau datblygiad yr iaith Gymraeg. Ennyd i fyfyrio ar yr holl lyfrau y buaswn wedi medru eu darllen, ond eu bod nhw allan o’m cyrraedd, a beth byddai wedi bod yn bosibl onibai am fethiannau llwyr system yr ysgol ramadeg. Mewn pob rhan o’r byd mae ieithoedd bregus eraill sydd dan fygythiad yn diflannu’n gyson, yn cael eu golchi i ffwrdd mewn cerrynt byd-eang, gyda’r canlyniad y collir gwybodaeth a dealltwriaeth ddynol am byth. Ymlaen i bennod newydd, ‘addysg, addysg, addysg’ - cwlt cargo a pholisi ^ a chap wedi eu llunio o sachliain a addysg gwlannog yn seiliedig ar gwn phren o’r ‘goeden ddysgu’, ar gael i bawb, ond am bris. ‘Roedd ‘na amser pan ‘roedd gan ferched y dosbarth gweithiol sgiliau oedd wedi eu trosglwyddio iddynt gan famau eu mamau. Y sgil o weu dillad fforddiadwy a chadarn y gellid eu pasio ymlaen i frodyr a chwiorydd. Wedi eu gwneud yn ofalus ac at bwrpas efo’r llaw, ac heb chwys - y gwrthwyneb i’r ethos taflu-i-ffwrdd, i nwyddau masgynyrchedig ac i ecsblotiaeth y farchnad fyd-eang gyfredol. Mae’r amser wedi dod i ddewis rhwng dafad yn gwisgo côt wedi’i gwneud o’i chnu ei hun a’r awgrym o gyflwyno aderyn trofannol ar baled prencaled egsotig. Felly ‘dan ni ddim yn gwneud unrhyw beth rhagor a gall gweithred gyffredin y gorffennol o glocio i fewn ac allan, a ddaeth â sicrwydd ac urddas, erbyn hyn gael ei chasglu mewn jar wydr. Mae trefn gyfarwydd y gorffennol o brynhawniau, dyddiau neu nosweithiau yn lleihau, wrth i bwnsh ola’r cloc gyhoeddi sifft fyd-eang newydd. Ond mae ‘na reswm digonol i gydnabod y gwytnwch clodforus sy’n gysylltiedig â diwylliannau lleiafrifol - mae hyn yn cael ei gyfleu i’r dim yn achos yr iaith Gymraeg sy’n cael ei chynnal er gwaethaf ei hagosrwydd daearyddol at iaith drechaf y byd.

Wooly Learning / Dysgu Gwlanog 2012 (School blackboard with felted wool surface and wool text)

Ganwyd David Garner yng Nglynebwy, De Cymru. Astudiodd yng Ngholeg Celf Casnewydd a Chaerdydd a’r Coleg Brenhinol, Llundain. Mae wedi arddangos yn eang yn y Deyrnes Unedig ac Iwerddon yn cynnwys Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd, yr Oriel Gelf Fodern yn Glasgow ac Oriel ^ Prynwyd y Ddinas, Caerl wr. darnau o’i waith gan Gymdeithas Gelfyddydau Cyfoes Cymru a Gwobr Bwrcasu Richard a Rosemary Wakelin. Enillodd Wobr Ivor Davies am waith “sy’n cyfleu ysbryd actifiaeth yn y frwydr dros iaith, diwylliant a gwleidyddiaeth yng Nghymru.”


Secular reliquaries Fear of politics and narrative has haunted much art in Britain since the didacticVictorian art with a moral. The Pre-Raphaelites, for instance, wove 'inventions' (symbols) into their innocent-looking surfaces. In contrast to some nineteenth century art we have a lot of instant art, sound bite, dada with no comment or dissent, touches of 'irony', misjudgements and misunderstandings of Marcel Duchamp. The work of David Garner is unlike all this. It asks questions, which is more interesting and embarrassing than evasive answers from the powers that be, even to the point of being censored by those who laud it. In recent years the worst and even the best of British art has been politically conformist. Perhaps there has always been censorship. And permission for self-censorship is its liberal form. Like all the world's channels the BBC News is censored - the chaos in Libya in the summer of 2012, ill health by users of nuclear waste war-heads in Iraq, being some recent examples. In authoritarian eras the German revue theatre and cabaret inventively disguised political criticism and revolutionary ideals in songs and performances. Coincidentally perhaps, this has added to a longstanding love of mystery, the misunderstood, the unknown, the unknowable, and the time it takes to understand what is not at first understood. It is with these attitudes and in this way that Garner’s work needs to be regarded and penetrated. Garner's work is not exactly narrative, allegory, a programmed set of symbols, nor a complete manifesto. Yet it may be all of these at various levels. With a greater concern for detail in their appearance than most conceptual art pieces, the works embody complex thoughts crystallized into simple scenes. These sculptural poems, made of everyday things from within living memory, conceal or half-reveal their intricate significance. As one spectator remarked: “It's not in-your-face, from the artist. They're not clever clever intricate: they ARE intricate -- and allusive and elusive -- but they gravely invite the viewer to read and explore them.” Artists often enter one of the large centres of capital and production, like London. There they are available for the wealthy resident clients or those passing

through. They may catch the eye for a time, varying from one exhibition, to a decade or more. This is often through a gallery, with a slight risk of being manoeuvred into a style for commercial success, or into more extrovert forms with a hope of attracting big collectors. However, Garner has remained in his place of origin, and from Wales he has perceived social, political and economic events in his home country as well as expressing international dramas and dilemmas. He sees the works in FutureTense as a series of individual installation pieces which are suggestive of, and enquire into, the consequences and implications of globalization- particularly on minority cultures. The works are evocative and visually witty, often with punning titles; they touch on key political issues including social class, education, language and homelessness. One of Garner’s most original works is Last Punch of the Clock. It is far from being a decorative sculpture, nevertheless it has surfaces which provoke the memory. Manufactured in the 1950s, the clock and cardholder are encased in a metal which is painted and fired with a particular blue-grey metallic mineral alloy. This hardened coating, familiar on mid twentieth-century office equipment, usually peels only at the edge like a thin skin. The installation suggests a fossilized factory entrance. A receipt-file spike with all the clocking-in cards of a long working life stands at the same height as Garner’s late father. All the clippings from the cards are in a glass jar and there is a metal file for receiving cards. Garner’s installations are the fulfilment of a long personal performance. Manufacturing clocking-in cards, clipping and blemishing each one, took a long time. Keeping and bottling clippings, like preserved fruit, is neat. Together these components form a celebration of a working life. High structures of accumulated materials are ingenious pillars of an unknown history. They display the anonymous repetition of ephemeral leaves which once meant something. Bankers’ Draft, a humorous comment on a continuing financial crisis, has other monoliths of paper. Complete runs of the Financial Times, tied together, form four piles as a plinth supporting a glass bell jar of tumbleweed with a museum artefact label. It is dated ‘England c. early 21st century,’ together with the Latin Salsola tragus, which is so suggestive of desolation, blown away like a banker’s draft.


Throughout the work technical brilliance is present, mostly unseen. Care and thought is in each move. Its precedence is in the rural consciousness of tool-making which has persisted from the early stone age to the pre-urban working-class world. Farmers would make their own scythes, sickles and farm implements all over Wales before they were manufactured in Birmingham. They had all been differently formed, having been tailor-made into the shapes which traditionally suited different Welsh areas. Collective traditional skills, the art of handmade objects, as well as the importance of reuse and recycling is manifested in Handmade, No sweat. In this, a rag rug made from worn out clothing and domestic fabrics, made by a women’s group in Pontypool, and hand-knitted garments to be handed down the generations, were made by Garner’s late mother. These take up a personal position within the framework of a traditional Central Asian yurt. The hub or shagrak or wooden lattice crown is handed down from father to son in the manner of nomadic peoples- minorities now threatened by the shadow of the centralized Chinese State, Western obsolescence, mass production, exploitation of labour and other effects of globalization. Garner’s way of doing things is an unprescribed procedure and all it suggests and conceals may be invisible. It is like the ordinance of a secular reliquary. A portion of the True Cross would be enshrined in a metal holder or in a small portable altar in the Middle Ages. Relics were believed to possess power but gradually their veneration became unfashionable. Nevertheless, their aesthetic powers remain, to impress even the most cynical. There, in the wrought object, is this intervention, instrumentality -the quality and condition of being. The familiarity of Garner’s deliberately found objects have this. After very careful consideration, looking far and wide, I am convinced that Garner’s work, from the very beginning of his career, shows him to be one of the few, one of the most important artists in Britain.

Bankers’ Draft 2011 (Bell jar, tumbleweed, bundles of Financial Times)

Ivor Davies has exhibited widely. He was central to the 1966 DIAS Destruction in Art Symposium, and as a defender of Welsh culture with the radical Beca movement. Some history of art at Lausanne was followed by a doctoral thesis on revolutionary Russian art for Edinburgh University, where he lectured on Modernism and was the first curator of the Talbot Rice Art Centre. Recent publications include The Age of the Vanguards (2002) and the Introduction to a forthcoming dictionary of artists in Wales. President of the Royal Cambrian Academy, among awards he values his 2002 National Eisteddfod gold medal.


Lost Syllables in a Global Current 2010/11 (Mekong river fishing boat, National Geographic magazines, church bell, human skull, oscilloscope, fishing net, microcasettes)


Creirfeydd seciwlar Mae ofni gwleidyddiaeth a naratif wedi tarfu ar lawer o waith celf ym Mhrydain ers y gelf Fictoraidd ddidactig. Bu’r Cyn-Raphaeliaid, er enghraifft, yn gweu ‘dyfeisiadau’ (symbolau) i fewn i’w harwynebau diniwed eu golwg. Mewn cyferbyniad i rai o weithiau celf y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg mae gennym lawer o gelf sydyn, seindalpiau, dada heb unrhyw sylw neu anghydweld, cyffyrddiadau o ‘eironi’, camfarnau a chamddealltwriaethau o Marcel Duchamp. Mae gwaith David Garner yn wahanol i hyn i gyd. Mae ei waith yn gofyn cwestiynau, sy’n fwy diddorol a chwithig nag atebion gochelgar gan y pwerau-sy’n- bodoli, hyd yn oed at y pwynt o gael eu sensro gan y rhai sy’n eu canmol. Yn ystod y blynyddoedd diweddar, bu’r gwaethaf ac hyd yn oed y gorau o gelf Brydeinig yn gydymffurfio’n wleidyddol. Efallai y cafwyd sensoriaeth erioed. A chaniatâd ar gyfer hunan-sensoriaeth yw ei ffurf fwyaf rhydd. Fel holl sianeli’r byd mae Newyddion y BBC yn cael ei sensro - rhai enghreifftiau diweddar yw’r anhrefn yn Libya yn ystod yr haf 2012 a’r afiechydon a ddioddefwyd gan ddefnyddwyr arfau gwastraff niwcliar yn Irac. Yn ystod cyfnodau awdurdodaidd bu’r theatr a chabare Almaenaidd, mewn modd hynod ddyfeisgar, yn cuddio beirniadaeth wleidyddol a delfrydau chwyldroadol o fewn caneuon a pherfformiadau. Mae’n gyd-ddigwyddiad efallai bod hyn wedi ychwanegu at ddiddordeb hirsefydlog yn y dirgel, yr hyn sy’n cael ei gam-ddeall, yr anhysbys, yr hyn nad ellir ei wybod, a’r amser mae’n cymryd i ddeall yr hyn na ddeellir o’r dechrau. Mae angen ystyried ac ymdreiddio i waith Garner yn y ffordd hon a gyda’r agweddau hyn. Nid yw gwaith Garner yn union yn naratif, yn alegori, yn set raglenedig o symbolau neu’n faniffesto cyfan. Ac eto gall fod yn bob un o’r rhain ar wahanol lefelau. Gyda mwy o sylw yn cael ei dalu i fanylion nag sy’n digwydd yn y rhan fwyaf o ddarnau celf cysyniadol, mae’r gweithiau’n ymgorffori syniadau cymhleth yn cael eu cyflwyno mewn golygfeydd syml. Mae’r cerddi cerfluniol hyn, wedi eu gwneud o bethau bob dydd o’r tu mewn i’r cof byw, yn cuddio neu’n hanner-ddatgelu eu harwyddocâd cywrain. Fel y dywedodd un gwyliwr: “It's not in-your-face, from the artist. They're not clever clever intricate: they ARE intricate -- and allusive and elusive -- but they gravely invite the viewer to read and explore them.”

Mae artistiaid yn aml yn ymweld ag un o’r canolfannau cyfalaf a chynhyrchiad mawr, fel Llundain. Yno maent ar gael ar gyfer y cleientiaid preswyl cyfoethog neu’r sawl sy’n pasio trwodd. Efallai y byddant yn denu sylw am ychydig, yn amrywio o un arddangosfa, i ddegawd neu fwy. Mae hyn yn digwydd yn aml trwy oriel, gyda’r risg o ddatblygu steil sy’n debygol o ennill llwyddiant masnachol yn y gobaith o ddenu casglwyr cefnog. Fodd bynnag, mae Garner wedi aros ym mro ei febyd, ac o Gymru bu’n sylwi ar ddigwyddiadau cymdeithasol, gwleidyddol ac economaidd yn ei famwlad yn ogystal â mynegi dramâu a dilemâu rhyngwladol. Mae’n gweld y gweithiau yn FutureTense fel cyfres o ddarnau gosodwaith unigol sy’n awgrymu, neu sy’n ymchwilio i, ganlyniadau a goblygiadau y drefn fyd-eang - yn arbennig o safbwynt diwylliannau lleiafrifol. Mae’r gweithiau yn atgofus ac yn ffraeth yn weledol, yn aml gyda theitlau clyfar; maent yn cyffwrdd â themâu gwleidyddol allweddol yn cynnwys dosbarth cymdeithasol, addysg, iaith a’r di-gartref. Un o ddarnau mwyaf gwreiddiol Garner yw Last Punch of the Clock. Mae’n ymhell o fod yn gerflun addurniadol, ond mae ganddo arwynebau sy’n pryfocio’r cof. Wedi eu dyfeisio yn y 1950au, mae’r cloc a’r daliwr cardiau wedi eu gorchuddio mewn metel sydd wedi’i baentio a’i danio gydag aloi mwnol metalaidd glas-llwyd neilltuol. Fel arfer mae’r trwch caled hwn, a welir yn aml ar offer swyddfa canol yr ugeinfed ganrif, yn pilio ar yr ymylon yn unig fel croen tenau. Mae’r gosodwaith yn awgrymu mynedfa i ffatri ffosiledig. Mae pigyn sy’n dal derbynebau, yn cynnwys holl gardiau clocio-i-fewn yn cynrychioli bywyd hir o waith caled, yn sefyll ar yr un uchder â diweddar dad Garner. Mae’r holl glipiadau o’r cardiau wedi eu gosod mewn jar wydr a cheir ffeil fetel i dderbyn y cardiau. Mae gosodweithiau Garner yn gyflawniad perfformiad personol hir. Cymerodd amser hir i greu cardiau clocio-i-fewn, ac i glipio a staenio pob un. Mae cadw a photelu clipiadau, fel ffrwyth cyffeithiedig, yn rhywbeth taclus. Gyda’i gilydd mae’r elfennau hyn yn ffurfio dathliad o fywyd hir o lafur. Mae pentyrrau uchel o ddeunyddiau cronedig yn cynrychioli pileri dyfeisgar hanes anhysbys. Maent yn arddangos ailadroddiad dienw eitemau effemeral oedd unwaith yn golygu rhywbeth. Mae Bankers’ Draft, sy’n sylw doniol ar yr argyfwng cyllidol parhaol, yn nodweddu monolithau eraill o bapur. Mae cyfresi cyfan o’r Financial Times, wedi eu


rhwymo at ei gilydd, yn ffurfio pedwar pentwr fel plinth sy’n dal jar wydr o chwyn treigl gyda label arteffact yr amgueddfa arni. Y dyddiad yw ‘Lloegr c. yn gynnar yn yr unfed ganrif ar hugain,’ ynghyd â’r Lladin Salsola tragus, sydd mor awgrymiadol o ddiffeithwch, yn cael ei chwythu i ffwrdd fel drafft banc. Trwy gydol y gwaith mae athrylith dechnegol yr artist yn bresennol, yn anweledig y rhan fwyaf. Gwelir gofal ac ystyriaeth ofalus mewn pob symudiad. Mae sail y gwaith yn gorwedd yn y traddodiad gwledig o greu arfau, sydd wedi parhau o Oes y Cerrig hyd at y byd dosbarth-gweithiol cyn-drefol. ‘Roedd ffermwyr ledled Cymru yn creu eu pladuriau, crymanau ac offer ffarm eu hunain ymhell cyn iddynt gael eu cynhyrchu yn Birmingham. Byddant i gyd wedi cael eu ffurfio’n wahanol, yn y siapiau oedd yn addas yn draddodiadol ar gyfer gwahanol ardaloedd yng Nghymru. Yn Handmade, no sweat ffocysir ar sgiliau traddodiadol ar y cyd, y ddawn o greu eitemau â’r llaw, yn ogystal â phwysigrwydd ail-ddefnyddio ac ailgylchu deunyddiau. Yma, gwnaethpwyd ryg clwt ^ allan o hen ddillad a ffabrigau domestig gan griw o ferched ym Mhontypwl, a gwnaethpwyd dillad wedi eu gweu â’r llaw, i’w trosglwyddo o un genhedlaeth i’r llall, gan ddiweddar fam Garner. Mae’r rhain yn cymryd safle personol o fewn fframwaith yurt traddodiadol Asia Ganolog. Trosglwyddir y foth neu’r shagrak neu’r goron ddelltog o bren o’r tad i’r mab yn nhraddodiad pobloedd nomadaidd - lleiafrifoedd sy’n cael eu bygwth bellach gan gysgod y Dalaith Tsieineaidd ganoledig, darfodiad Gorllewinol, masgynhyrchu, ecsbloetio llafur ac effeithaiu eraill y drefn fyd-eang. Mae ffordd Garner o wneud pethau yn weithdrefn anrhagnodedig a gall y cyfan sy’n cael ei awgrymu a’i guddio yn ei waith fod yn anweladwy. Fel ordinhad creirfa seciwlar. Byddai rhan o’r Wir Groes yn cael ei diogelu mewn gorchudd metel neu mewn allor ^ symudol fechan yn y Canol Oesoedd. Credwyd bod creiriau yn meddu ar bwer arbennig ond yn raddol aeth y traddodiad o’u parchu allan o ffasiwn. Ond mae eu pwerau esthetig yn parhau, gan wneud argraff ar hyd yn oed y gwyliwr mwyaf sinigaidd. Yno, yn y gwrthrych crefftus, yw’r ymyriad hwn, y cyfryngdod - yr ansawdd a’r cyflwr o fodoli. Mae gwaith Garner yn meddu ar y nodwedd hwn. Ar ôl ystyriaeth ofalus iawn, ‘rwy’n argyhoeddiedig bod gwaith Garner, o gychwyn cyntaf ei yrfa, yn ei ddangos i fod yn un o’r ychydig, un o’r artistiaid pwysicaf ym Mhrydain.

Base of the World (Homage to Manzoni) 2012 (Inverted wooden shipping pallet and brass bilingual name plates)

Mae Ivor Davies wedi arddangos ei waith yn eang. ‘Roedd yn ganolog i’r ‘Destruction in Art Symposium’ ym 1966 ac yn adnabyddus fel amddiffynnwr y diwylliant Cymreig gyda mudiad radicalaidd Beca. Astudiodd hanes celf yn Lausanne, gyda thraethawd ymchwil doethurol yn dilyn ar gelf Rwsaidd chwyldroadol ym Mhrifysgol Caeredin lle darlithiodd ar Foderniaeth ac ef oedd curadur cyntaf Canolfan Gelf Talbot Rice. Mae ei gyhoeddiadau diweddar yn cynnwys ‘The Age of the Vanguards’ (2002) a’r Cyflwyniad i fywgraffiadur newydd o artistiaid yng Nghymru. Mae’n Llywydd yr Academi Gambriaidd Frenhinol, ac ymysg y gwobrau y mae’n eu trysori yw ei fedal aur o Eisteddfod Genedlaethol 2002.


The global city- flatpacked The global city is a place where you can enjoy croissants for breakfast, miso soup for lunch and fajitas for dinner, interspersed by shopping for Italian designs, followed by a couple of Indian beers and a kebab on the way home. In theory, Globalization offers the possibility of cross-cultural exchange, of one culture learning and adapting from another, much like the Moorish influence on Spanish culture, or the cultural trading along the Silk Route. However, in reality all that global offering is the product of a handful of multinational companies who bear no relation to the goods they offer, and whose products bear the all too familiar ‘Made in China’ label of exploitation. These companies’ understanding of cultural exchange equates to drawing a cactus and a sombrero on a menu. It is not simply a question of inauthenticity, the mindless burglary of marketable aspects of a culture is a testament to the profound disrespect towards that culture. The fact that your Swedish clothing is often made in Cambodia, not only shows a lack of consideration for highlighting original and innovative Swedish designs, but also towards Cambodian workers who are simply a poorly paid production line. Globalization favours the consumption of culture over the production of culture; it is only the end product that is important and so production should be quick, cheap and kept out of sight. In this mentality, it is easy to see how the sweatshop has become the favoured and dominant method of supplying mass-produced goods. A cross-cultural exchange depends on entering into a mutually understood dialogue, where we would presume that both parties in the conversation are, in so many words, speaking the same language. This dialogue relies on mutual respect, and a forum through which all parties can express themselves equally. In reality, what is achieved is much less a dialogue between enquiring and receptive cultures, than the silencing of one by another. The emergent dominant voice, generally the contemporary Western socio-economic model, flatpacked by Chinese workers, is an exclusive model. It is an imperialistic narrative that does not care to hear alternatives. In order to fully understand or begin to assimilate aspects of another culture, there must be a respect for the profound facets of that culture. Hanging a dream catcher above your window is not an assimilation of Native American culture if there is a failure to understand, at

Sheep in Sheep’s Clothing 2010 (Taxidermied sheep wearing a coat knitted from its own fleece)

the deepest level, the cultural importance of these signifiers. Without this we achieve only a material understanding of cultural symbols, with nightmarish consequences for Navajo culture. Globalization causes a culture that is substantial, to become flimsy and twodimensional. The tendency is to take the “seen parts of the tapestry,” the outer layer, the obvious element, and discard the intricacies, threads, stitches, complexities and nuances.1 A McDonald’s in Paris may offer café au lait and croissants, but that does not mean they have understood French culture, or are sympathetic to the cultural importance of the French enjoyment of food and dining. It is simply a token nod to a shallow representation of French cuisine, a gesture to the locals that they have been acknowledged. The exchange of beliefs and ideas has always been central to human understanding and knowledge, however the depth and breadth of these sources becomes narrower and shallower to fit the demands of the market forces of globalization. In a global market, it is cheaper and easier to achieve Nirvana by having a statue of Buddha in your back garden than to fully explore the world’s divergent and discordant philosophies and attain your own sense of self and belief. In truth, the statue of Buddha has lost any sense of source, and has become but an aesthetic ornament, essential for the fashion-conscious gardener. Since a rational economy relies on the most efficient representation, local meanings cannot always be transported. In order to churn out and ship out the most effective product, it is essential to crop the unnecessary, superfluous aspects to the minimum requirement. But, much like a screen-printed image of Che Guevara on a t-shirt, this does not project the immense cultural significance of the subject. The same applies to language. It is nothing new to learn that English is the most common world language, with many non-native speakers learning the language through CNN, HBO and ABC. With these ever more uniformed voices comes the loss of another tongue, with another of the world’s languages being lost every fortnight. The loss of language is perhaps amongst the most destructive of the effects of globalization. Without a language in which the speaker can freely and comfortably


express themselves, it becomes inevitable that cultural phenomena held within languages- historical narratives, stories, poems, songs and other modes of expression will be lost when that language dies. Though it may be more efficient for everyone to speak the same language, the adoption of one single language creates restriction and dependence on one lexicon. Once again, plurality of thought and expression is lost to homogenization. The rise of the internet and text speak has created its own language, a systematized jargon which is promoted as a quick and comprehensible way to communicate- a lingua franca for the age of technology. Though the evolution of language is usually considered positively, with quirky new additions being welcomed into the mainstream, this new vocabulary can only narrow the ways in which we express ourselves individually. The abbreviation LOL- laugh out loud, is a blueprint response. Taken literally, it is a very idiosyncratic expression, but has come to signal general amusement with no differentiation. It would be interesting to think that when someone writes LOL in London, someone in Kyoto can instantly understand what they are feeling. However, such codification can only communicate arbitrary emotions. It would be nice to think an understanding has taken place but in reality, nothing is being said, and no one is any the wiser. It is easier, quicker and less taxing to use ready-made expressions than to create new, individual ones. But, after all, it is economically more efficient to express yourself in 140 characters. It is not only how we express ourselves, but also what we choose to express that testifies to the culture of a society. Some 4000 years BC, the myth of Osiris was teaching the Ancient Egyptians about the cycles of Nature and hope of new life after death. Move ahead to the 8th century, where Hesiod told the story of Prometheus’ heroic feat in returning fire back to mankind. Some 300 years later, in the first Persian Empire, Ahura Mazdah, the god of light, upheld good and truth. Meanwhile in India, Hanuman demonstrated the importance of loyalty through his friendship with Rama. Move forward to the 4th century AD, where the story of Freyr trying to woo Gerd in a world of giant hostility was being told, while several centuries later Fionn mac Cumhaill learned from the poet Finn Eces that knowledge was the key to enlightenment. In the same vein, two Mikasuki brothers in Florida were told the origins of corn, while The Tower of Chitimukulu taught the Bemba of Zambia of the folly

Endangered Pallet 2011 (Pallet made from hardwoods, feather from tropical bird)

of human presumptuous. The narrative of human history abounds with tales and mythologies of courage, kindness, healing and creation. The themes of these mythologies are often common across continents and centuries and help us explore and understand questions about our essential humanity. In 2012, modern mythology is to be found in Hello and OK magazine, where the whole world is united in hearing the tale of Brangelina. Composite local narratives that may help us understand our own particular history and locale have been replaced by a grand imperialistic narrative, where local meanings that cannot always be transported, are lost in a global tide. Globalization perpetuates its own myths, only in this story, instead of being united in a global community, those who do not fit the one size fits all, prevailing model, are left with a cultural chasm. The preference towards a dominant, Western model makes local culture seem inferior, which polarizes, instead of brings together. After all, having all the trappings of an American designer lifestyle does not mean you benefit from the same advantages as the American elite. Since there is no genuine inclusion, understanding or empathy, there has been no cultural exchange but simply the acculturation of one culture by another. When the artistic, intellectual characteristics of a society and its system of values and beliefs are lost, it is not a simple loss of local colour and diversity, but a loss of human knowledge. This collective human knowledge and potential for broadening human learning is that which globalization has stifled. Though there is an English translation of the Ashanika word, ‘shirampari,’ what will be lost if this endagered language dies is a specific and particular idea of home. It is in both the plurality and commonality of the world’s cultures that we find what is essential to the development of human progress, where multiculturalism, and not monoculturalism is the key to an authentically plural society. Globalization can only undercut this potential and cheapen its ideals. Thomas Pynchon. Mason & Dixon (NewYork: Henry Holt and Company Inc.; Ontario: Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd., 1997) 349

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Naomi Garner studied English Literature at Durham and is currently undertaking a PhD research on Thomas Pynchon.


Y ddinas fyd-eang - wedi pacio’n fflat Y ddinas fyd-eang yw’r lle y gallwch fwynhau croissants i frecwast, cawl miso amser cinio a fajitas i swper, rhwng siopa ar gyfer labeli Eidalaidd a phrynu peint o gwrw Indiaidd a kebab ar y ffordd adre’. Mewn theori, mae’r gymdeithas fyd-eang yn cynnig y posibilrwydd o gyfnewid traws-ddiwylliannol, gydag un diwylliant yn dysgu ac yn addasu oddi wrth un arall, fel y dylanwad Mwraidd ar ddiwylliant Sbaenaidd, neu’r masnachu diwylliannol ar hyd y Llwybr Sidan. Fodd bynnag, mewn realiti, mae’r holl bosibiliadau byd-eang hynny yn nwylo llond llaw o gwmniau aml-genedlaethol nad ydynt yn gysylltiedig o gwbl â’r nwyddau y maent yn cynnig ac sy’n cyflwyno eu cynnyrch o dan label cyfarwydd ecsbloetiaeth sef ‘Gwnaethpwyd yn Tsieina’. Dealltwriaeth y cwmniau hyn o gyfnewid diwylliannol yw tynnu llun cactws neu sombrero ar fwydlen. Nid mater o ddilysrwydd yn unig ydyw: mae lladrad difeddwl agweddau gwerthadwy diwylliant yn dyst o’r amarch llwyr tuag at y diwylliant hwnnw. Mae’r ffaith bod eich dillad Swedaidd yn aml wedi cael eu gwneud yn Cambodia, nid yn unig yn dangos diffyg ystyriaeth tuag at ddylunio Swedaidd gwreiddiol a dyfeisgar, ond hefyd tuag at weithwyr Cambodiaidd sy’n syml yn llinell gynhyrchu ar gyflog gwarthus. Mae’r gymdeithas fyd-eang yn ffafrio defnyddio diwylliant yn hytrach na chynhyrchu diwylliant; dim ond yr eitem derfynol sy’n bwysig ac felly rhaid i gynhyrchiad fod yn gyflym, yn rhad a rhaid ei gadw allan o’r golwg. Ac felly mae’n hawdd i weld sut mae’r siop lafur erbyn hyn yn cael ei ffafrio fel y dull blaenaf o gyflenwi nwyddau masgynyrchedig. Mae cyfnewid traws-ddiwylliannol yn dibynnu ar gychwyn dialog a ddeellir o’r ddwy ochr, lle y cymerir yn ganiataol bod y ddau barti yn y sgwrs, fel petai, yn siarad yr un iaith. Mae’r dialog hwn yn dibynnu ar barch rhwng y naill a’r llall, ac ar fforwm lle y gall pawb fynegi ei hun yn gydradd. Beth sy’n digwydd mewn realiti, yn hytrach na dialog rhwng diwylliannau holgar a derbyngar, yw bod un diwylliant yn tawelu’r llall. Y llais cryfaf i ymddangos, fel arfer y model economaidd-gymdeithasol Gorllewinol cyfoes, wedi’i bacio’n fflat gan weithwyr Tsieineiadd, yw’r unig fodel o’i fath. Mae’n naratif imperialaidd nad yw’n awyddus i wrando ar bosibiliadau eraill. Er mwyn llawn ddeall, neu ddechrau cymhathu agweddau diwylliant arall, rhaid bod parch tuag at ffasedau sylfaenol y diwylliant hwnnw. Nid yw gosod ‘daliwr breuddwydion’ uwchben eich ffenest yn gymhathiad o ddiwylliant Americanaidd Cynhenid os nad ydych yn deall, ar y lefel

ddyfnaf, arwyddocâd diwylliannol y dynodydd hwnnw. Heb y ddealltwriaeth hon ‘rydym ond yn cael syniad materol o symbolau diwylliannol, gyda chanlyniadau hunllefus i ddiwylliant y Navajo. Mae’r gymdeithas fyd-eang yn achosi i ddiwylliant sy’n sylweddol i ddod yn fregus ac yn ddau-ddimensiwn. Y duedd yw i gymryd “darnau gweladwy y tapestri”, yr haenen allanol, yr elfen amlwg, a bwrw o’r neilltu y cywreinrwydd, yr edau, y pwythau, y cymhlethdodau a’r arlliwiau. 1 Gall McDonald’s ym Mharis gynnig café au lait a croissants, ond nid yw hynny’n golygu eu bod wedi deall diwylliant Ffrengig neu eu bod yn deall pwysigrwydd diwylliannol pleserau bwyd a bwyta i’r Ffrancwr. Cydnabyddiaeth arwynebol ydyw o cuisine Ffrengig, arwydd dibwys i’r bobl leol eu bod wedi cael eu cydnabod. Mae cyfnewid credau a syniadau wedi bod yn ganolog erioed i ddealltwriaeth a gwybodaeth ddynol, ond mae dyfnder a lled y ffynonellau hyn yn dod yn gulach ac yn fasach i gydfynd â gofynion grym marchnata’r gymdeithas fyd-eang. Mewn marchnad fyd-eang, mae’n rhatach ac yn haws i gyflawni Nirvana trwy gael cerflun o’r Bwdha yn eich gardd gefn nag ydi i archwilio’n fanwl athroniaethau gwahanol a chroes y byd a chyrraedd eich synnwyr eich hun o gred a hunan-ddealltwriaeth. Mewn gwirionedd, mae’r cerflun o’r Bwdha wedi colli unrhyw synnwyr o darddiad, ac wedi dod ond yn addurniad esthetig, yn hanfodol ar gyfer y garddwr sy’n ymwybodol o ffasiwn. Gan fod economi resymegol yn dibynnu ar y gynrychiolaeth fwyaf effeithlon, ni ellir trosglwyddo ystyron lleol bob amser. Er mwyn cynhyrchu ac allforio’r cynnyrch mwyaf effeithiol, mae’n hanfodol cyfyngu’r agweddau diangen, dieisiau i’r gofynion lleiaf posibl. Ond, fel delwedd brintiedig o Che Guevara ar grys-T, nid yw hyn yn mynegi arwyddocâd ddiwylliannol enfawr y gwrthrych. Mae’r un peth yn wir am iaith. Nid yw’n syndod i ddysgu mai Saesneg yw’r iaith fwyaf cyffredin yn y byd, gyda llawer o siaradwyr anghynhenid yn dysgu’r iaith trwy CNN, HBO ac ABC. Gyda’r lleisiau unffurf hyn yn cynyddu o hyd, daw colled iaith arall, gydag un o ieithoedd y byd yn cael ei cholli ar gyfartaledd bob pythefnos. Mae colled iaith efallai ymysg effeithiau mwyaf dinistriol y patrwm byd-eang. Heb iaith lle y gall y siaradwr fynegi ei hun yn rhugl ac yn gyfforddus, mae’n anochel y bydd y ffenomena


diwylliannol o fewn ieithoedd - naratif hanesyddol, straeon, barddoniaeth, caneuon a dulliau eraill o fynegiant yn cael eu colli pan mae’r iaith honno yn marw. Er efallai ei bod yn fwy effeithlon bod pawb yn siarad yr un iaith, mae mabwysiadu un iaith sengl yn creu cyfyngiadau a dibyniaeth ar un geiriadur. Unwaith eto, collir lluosogrwydd meddwl a mynegiant yn sgil homogeneiddio. Mae datblygiad y rhyngrwyd a thestun ffôn wedi creu ei iaith ei hun, rhyw iaith dechnegol, gyfundrefnol a hyrwyddir fel ffordd gyflym a dealladwy i gyfathrebu - lingua franca ar gyfer oes y dechnoleg. Er yr ystyrir datblygiad iaith fel rhywbeth positif fel arfer, gydag ychwanegiadau newydd mympwyol yn cael eu croesawu i mewn i’r iaith, gall yr eirfa newydd hon ond culhau’r ffyrdd yr ydym yn mynegi ein hunain yn unigol. Mae’r talfyriad LOL - ‘laugh out loud’, yn ymateb glasbrint. Wrth ei gymryd yn llythrennol, mae’n fynegiant idiosyncratig iawn, ond mae’r term wedi dod i olygu difyrrwch cyffredinol heb unrhyw wahaniaethu. Byddai’n ddiddorol meddwl pe bai rhywun yn Llundain yn ysgrifennu LOL, bod rhywun yn Kyoto yn gallu deall ar unwaith beth y mae’r person hwnnw yn teimlo. Fodd bynnag, gall cyfundrefniad o’r math ond cyfathrebu emosiynau ar hap. Byddai’n dda meddwl bod cyd-ddealltwriaeth wedi digwydd, ond mewn realiti, ‘does dim byd yn cael ei ddweud, ac nid yw unrhyw un yn ddoethach. Mae’n haws, yn gyflymach ac yn llai o ymdrech i ddefnyddio termau sy’n bodoli eisoes nag i greu rhai newydd, unigol. Ond, wedi’r cyfan, mae’n fwy effeithiol yn economaidd i fynegi’ch hun mewn 140 o nodau cyfrifiadurol. Yr hyn sy’n tystio i ddiwylliant cymdeithas yw nid yn unig y ffordd yr ydym yn mynegi ein hunain, ond hefyd yr hyn yr ydym yn dewis ei fynegi. Rhyw 4000 mlynedd CC, ‘roedd myth Osiris yn dysgu’r Eifftwyr Hynafol am gylchoedd Natur a’r gobaith am fywyd newydd ar ôl marwolaeth. Symudwch ymlaen i’r 8fed ganrif, lle ‘roedd Hesiod yn adrodd y stori am orchest arwrol Prometheus wrth ddychwelyd tân yn ôl i ddynolryw. Rhyw 300 mlynedd yn ddiweddarach, yn yrYmerodraeth Bersiaidd gyntaf, ‘roedd Ahura Mazdah, duw y golau, yn argymell daioni a gwirionedd. Yn y cyfamser, yn India,‘roedd Hanuman yn dangos pwysigrwydd ffyddlondeb trwy ei gyfeillgarwch gyda Rama. Symudwch ymlaen i’r 4edd ganrif OC, lle yr adroddwyd stori am Freyr yn ceisio cariad Gerd mewn byd gelyniaethus, tra bod Fionn mac Cumhaill, rhai ganrifoedd yn ddiweddarach, yn dysgu gan y bardd Finn Eces mai gwybodaeth yw’r allwedd i’r oes oleuedig. Yn yr un modd, dysgwyd i ddau frawd Mikasuki yn Florida am darddiad

^ Chitimukulu wedi dysgu’r Bemba o Zambia am ffolineb grawn, tra bod Twr rhagdybiaeth ddynol. Mae naratif hanes dynol yn llawn straeon a mytholeg am ddewrder, caredigrwydd, gwella a chreu. Mae themâu’r mytholegau hyn yn aml yr un peth ar draws cyfandiroedd a chanrifoedd ac yn ein helpu i archwilio a deall cwestiynau am ein dynoliaeth hanfodol. Yn 2012, deuir o hyd i fytholeg fodern mewn cylchgronau megis Hello ac OK, lle y cyfunir y byd cyfan wrth glywed y stori am Brangelina. Mae naratif imperialaidd enfawr wedi cymryd lle naratifau lleol cyfansawdd a all ein helpu i ddeall ein hanes a’n mangre benodol ein hunain. Ac wedyn fe gollir ystyron lleol na ellir eu trosglwyddo bob amser, mewn ton byd-eang.

Mae’r drefn fyd-eang yn parhau ei mythau ei hun, ond yn y stori hon, yn lle cael eu huno mewn cymuned fyd-eang, mae’r rhai nad ydynt yn ffitio i mewn i’r model cyffredin un-maint-i-bawb yn cael eu gadael mewn gwagle diwylliannol. Mae ffafrio’r model Gorllewinol, cryfaf yn gwneud i’r diwylliant lleol ymddangos yn israddol, sy’n gwahanu yn lle cyfuno. Wedi’r cyfan, nid yw’r ffaith bod gennych holl nodweddion y steil byw moethus Americanaidd yn golygu eich bod yn ymelwa ar yr un manteision â’r elite Americanaidd. Gan nad oes unrhyw gynhwysiad, dealltwriaeth neu empathi go iawn, ni chafwyd cyfnewid diwylliannol ond yn hytrach mabwysiadu un diwydiant gan y llall. Pan gollir nodweddion deallusol, artistig cymdeithas a’i system gwerthoedd a chredau, nid colled syml lliw ac amrywioldeb lleol ydyw, ond colled gwybodaeth ddynol. Y wybodaeth ddynol gyfunol hon a’r potensial am ehangu dysgu dynol yw’r hyn a gollir yn y patrwm byd-eang. Er bod ‘na gyfieithiad Saesneg am y gair Ashanika, ‘shirampari,’ yr hyn a gollir pe bai’r iaith hon, sydd mewn perygl, yn marw, yw syniad penodol, arbennig a dwys o ‘gartref’. Deuir o hyd i’r hyn sy’n hanfodol i ddatblygiad y bod dynol yn lluosogrwydd a chyffredinedd diwylliannau’r byd, lle mae aml-ddiwylliant, ac nid monoddiwydiant yn allweddol i gymdeithas luosog ddilys. Gall y patrwm byd-eang ond dibrisio’r potentsial hwn a diraddio ei ddelfrydau. Thomas Pynchon. Mason & Dixon (NewYork: Henry Holt and Company Inc.; Ontario: Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd., 1997) 349

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Astudiodd Naomi Garner Lenyddiaeth Saesneg yn Durham ac ar hyn o bryd mae’n ymgymryd ag ymchwil PhD ar Thomas Pynchon.


All the books I could have read, but were out of reach 2010 (Child's school desk and chair with elongated legs, Welsh language books, school badge)

Beware when the gloves are off 2012 (Porcelain glove moulds, oak)


Handmade, No Sweat 2009 (Small Yurt, Welsh woollen blankets, knitted children's clothes, rag rug, knitting patterns, felted blanket with knitting needles, yarn)


Last Punch of the Clock 2009 (Clocking-in machine, clocking-in cards, steel spike, card holder, glass jar containing card chips)


Global Shift 2012 (Welded steel pallet and factory locker)


All the books I could have read, but were out of reach (Detail) 2010 (Child's school desk and chair with elongated legs, Welsh language books, school badge)

da v i d ga r n e r future tense w w w .d a v i dg a r n e r a r t i s t . c o m


Photography: Cover plus pages 2,3,7,8,9,12,15,18,19,22,23,24: Pete Telfer Other images: Noel Baker, Steve Boyland Back cover Gimme Shelter 2011 (Discarded library books, rubber bands)


www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk

ISBN 978-1-908992-05 Design Stephen Paul Dale Design spdale@live.com


David Garner Future Tense  

Art Exhibiton Catalogue for Artist David Garner

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