It is three in the morning and I am twenty tabs deep into Ultramarine blue. I am not an artist. I am not a painter. My knowledge of chemistry is limited to what I learned my junior year of high school. Yet, I am infatuated with the idea of Lapis Lazuli and Ultramarine. Why? Why do I feel that at times all I want to do is drown my entire being in an idea, a thing, a place? What comes over me?
I have always loved learning, yes. But at times, I feel like there are certain subjects that I find myself attached to. Now, they are not the most typical subjects, but rather moments in time, scraps of fabric, crushed up stones and other slivers of things that receive my interest and countless hours of research. What causes humans to latch onto certain ideas and things, devote our lives to things that will never be a part of us?
I recently realized my obsession through the eyes of my professor. I am currently in a Rhetoric class in which we have picked and are analyzing an artifact throughout the semester. My professor has recently been discussing the electric floor waxer; she described her love and almost obsession with the thing in a presentation, suggesting that rather than going to therapy, she began to look at the object through theory. At first I thought: this is really weird, right? How can we be obsessed with such things as waxers or a pigment?
But it is more than the actual object-- there is something about this thing, that is either attached to a memory or feeling that we believe to be significant. In reality, objects are only collections of matter that are open for our perception. So maybe it is not that we are obsessed with the actual being and composition of the object itself, but with our ability to make the object to be more than it actually is. Maybe we are able to see ourselves in the objects we look at, make connections with the matter of their being, and that is what we have become infatuated with.
Or in some cases, it is not that we see ourselves in an object, but that we protest what an object stands for. I have become intrigued with a "vintage" Kent State Sweatshirt that was put onto the Urban Outfitter's website for sale in 2014. The sweatshirt was discolored red, and was full of holes; these attributes were seen as metaphors for the Kent State shootings that occurred in 1970-- with the red being blood, and the holes being from bullets. People were outraged no matter their connection or lack there of to both Kent State University and the Vietnam War was. This sweatshirt and the controversy around it, have since inspired several nights of no sleep for me while sifting through internet comments, press releases and numerous photographs.
It is a funny thing to be so swept up in a thing that we forget ourselves. We become so fascinated with the things, that we give them the power to affect us, despite their inanimacy. But perhaps it is an amazing thing, that our minds can be moved to study and delve into a world that is outside our own personal being.