Revisitation • Heavy is the Head that Bears the Brain • open-edition giclée print
Thoughts rise, unbidden and uncensored, from deep inside that pink-grey maze of spirals in your head.
Dark and light, creative and self-destructive alike, they burst or ooze or scurry out and take form in the world. If the soul exists, it resides within these channels and canals.
If intelligence exists, it is the most burdensome blessing.
I can’t lie and claim that realizing I made this piece nearly a decade ago isn’t a shock. I honestly can’t believe I’ve been doing anything that long, let alone cut paper art.
I remember thinking, during my first or second year doing this stuff, as I massaged the aching muscles in the heel of my palm, that I would almost certainly give up this medium at some point and dive into something, anything, quick and loose. Not yet, I guess.
There have been some incredible, and very cool interpretations of this piece shared with me by fans and collectors over the year. Guilt or shame, depression or migraine headaches.
I had two thoughts when I first posted the art.
How amazing is it that we have survived, as a species, with only this grey-pink hunk of neurons as our primary means of self-defense? No tusks or claws. Thin-skinned and slow-moving.
This first still holds true. Our continued existence is a tribute to the power of the mind.
The second thing on my mind was how, as a society, we constantly feel the need to look down on people of high intelligence, and celebrate those who seem to skate through life without using their brains at all.
This one is a little more complicated. On the one hand, during the past decade, we have seen the epoch of the “geek”. It’s not just the savvy businessman or the brawny athlete we aspire to become. The Gates and Musks of the world have reached the upper echelons of society, of wealth (and the world loves its wealthy). The best, and most inclusive, definition of geek characterizes it as a person who is extremely enthusiastic and knowledgable about a (often specialist or niche) subject. Which makes pretty much all of us geeks about something.
Today’s biggest films are geek topics: superheroes and fantasy. TV shows for and about geeks prevail. Knowledge that was once considered geeky, like hooking up and running a computer, is now essential for pretty much anyone.
At the same time, ant-intellectualism and anti-elitism is rampant. Anti-elitism itself has been redefined from resenting the nobility and aristocracy (or their modern counterparts) into distrust of experts, scientists, and educated professionals.
Where we used to look to those who had dedicated their lives to a field as the voices of reason, we now hold that dedication and knowledge against them.
This strikes me as a dangerous place to be in our evolution as both a civilization and a species. I hope the next decade is kinder to brains and the people who employ them.