Sunday, February 05, 2006

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The light that was Rome.

Years ago I was with this group of radical young artists. We wanted to save the world, become a part of art-history, and dress cool.
Like all young radical artists, we rented some office spaces and instead of calling it art, we called it "investigations", “discourse” etc, etc.

One of the rooms we rented contained a large bed where we would all sleep at night, and our charismatic leader would sometimes use it for inspirational brainstorms with female members of the group.
Occationally we would all be in the bed watching videos. In the beginning there was a sort of Roman theme to our selections, partly because our charismatic leader's favourite flick was "Caligula" with Malcolm McDowell.
Our charismatic leader was also giving dinner parties which included large arrangements of fruit in the style of an roman orgy, and he was keenly reading that great treatise on power and rule; "The Prince" by Machiavelli.

One afternoon we were watching Kubrick's "Spartacus" with its heroic depiction of rebellious slaves rising up against the currupt and decadent Roman Empire.
In a central scene , Crassus, the new Ceasar, addresses his legions before they march out to crush the rebels. A study in the visual and oratorical language of power, Laurence Olivier radiating with energy, his makeup perfect, his uniform and armour shimmering with light, banners fluttering in the wind, a supreme ruler about to unleash the power of his invincible armies. I peeked at the expressions on the faces of my fellow artists.

They got the message,

Power is cool.
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