only connect

photot of phone cans & wiring


“only connect”   – e. m. forester

Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.
— EM Forster , Howard’s End  Chapter 22. 1910.

putting the right plug in the right hole

putting the right colour into the right junction

putting the right can into the right can

Do you like the cartoon above that i made? I  cobbled it together from a photograph I took way back long ago, when I was rewiring the phone. It was the first time that I’d ever unscrewed a phone box, as I wanted to move it… the complexity of it freaked me out! Handy thing to have a memo of something before it’s untangled & undone… putting things back together sometimes is way more difficult than taking them apart. The photo hung around for years. It always makes me laugh 🙂

poor quality internet

Nowadays in 2013, phone landlines are dying out in rural france. They’re expensive. We no longer receive horrible, slow, very expensive dial up internet connection via the phone lines. Phone lines are a spider’s  cobweb that crawl over the landscape of France & hang out of every building like some gutted extra-terrestrial. I’m sure the wires wriggle about by themselves & get in an unsightly tangle. France Telecom aka Orange  now only use grey & white wires inside the PTT cabling. Internet phones via wi-max are occassionally available chez-nous. They aren’t reliable in our neck of the woods.We don’t have an internet satellite dish & sadly still rely on dodgy, slow expensive last mile wimax. Bôf…. One of my neighbours used to put up the telephone lines in north Yorkshire all his life & has a wry regard on the tangle of tilting stilts & broken  poles that you can see in our commune.

Arnold Odermatt. Utility pole, Switzerland , 1960s

However, you will note that the principle that one wishes for remains the same: Connect can A to can B.

Connect via social media & art blogs

Connect can A to can B?


Connect some cans together & get a tangle?

Maybe, probably

Connect can A to a few other cans?

shhush, nobody wants to hear you in internet isolation…

Putting the right can into the right gathering of right cans?

This means finding the people who want to hear you & that you want to connect with.

My 15 years of internet experience has proven to me that can A can not always get to can B… without some amount of tangle 😉

Connect via Advertising & Art

Forester’s injunction to connect applies very well to art & advertising. The advertiser wishes to connect & attract your attention towards the product, the point of conversion, to buy, to adhere. Is this really any different from what the artist does? Certainly when art is overly confined to a fixed conversion , a set message as can happen in religious art or public art, it seems to me, IMO, to be not so very different from advertising. My Liberal hopes of a free mind engaged in a  free enquiry & open ended questioning… offering a space different from advertising… well, this is another debate for another post.

The point is this : only connect. People come all sorts of sizes , with all sorts of tastes & opinions. One size doesn’t fit all.  And luckily so too, as diversity is a sign of free enquiry & creativity. I no longer expect all my paintings to please all people all of the time. You can’t please everybody.  So now I’m freer simply not care too much other people’s opinions. Well, not absolutely everyone’s … as, for me as creator & seller of paintings & painting holidays, some people’s opinions are more important to me than others. There’s also the people whom I respect & hope to learn from, such as painters & teachers with more experience than me.   Of course, I struggle to keep an open mind. To listen & try to understand.  Exchanges over the years with other artists of all levels & all opinions has helped me & inspired me… as well as occassionaly depressed & bored me – being pinned against a wall whilst invigilating of my own exhibitions & being told what to paint, how to exhibit & who to try & sell to… well, thanks for the advice, lol…;-)

Connect via the Mass Mind?

It only takes one person connecting with one other person…

I am reminded by the wisdom of one of favourite quotes about communication :

There is no such thing as a Mass Mind. The Mass Audience is made up of individuals, and good advertising is written always from one person to another. When it is aimed at millions it rarely moves anyone.        – Fairfax Cone, of Foote Cone & Belding, quoted in John O’Toole, The Trouble with Advertising . . ., 1981, New York: Chelsea House, p. 48.

When it is aimed at millions it rarely moves anyone… indeed.

Anyway, I’m currently speaking to myself all alone here, unconnected, so all the above is not relevant at this point in time.

Fiber Optic Network Cable