Too many questions?
I wake up early in the mornings with so many questions, mostly about the origins of the English language. Today it was a.m. and p.m. - I know about Pip Emma, but not what a.m. or p.m. actually stand for, or why p.m. is known as Pip Emma. At the same time I wondered about the origins of English names, for example Fearnley-Whittingstall as in Hugh; and how do you spell sequoia? Is that correct? (My spell-checker didn’t object, so it must be!) And, why is custard a thing, and what does it mean?
As artists we are supposed to ask questions. Lawrence Weiner says art is about asking a question. His example is: if Einstein and Marilyn Munroe had a baby, what would it look like? I wonder if our internet world and instant access to information has affected the nature of questioning. How many trivial questions do I ask myself simply because I know I can go and look it up online? Was I always this curious, or back in the day did I settle on a weekly trip to the public library and borrow a few pertinent books? I’m asking questions again, and I doubt Google can help me with those.
I sometimes feel this curiosity is a form of over-stimulation. The questions are somehow as distracting and superficial as the knowledge I gain from countless Google searches. On occasion, however, there is just one question which turns up an answer which sparks something deeper in the imagination. It is exciting, and connects with the nature of creativity. Interesting subjects arise which interweave through and around it. Connected words and mysterious etymologies emerge. Quasi-scientific thoughts, colours, histories, forms, and poetries occur: at that point I am rooted, and my next artwork is underway. Delving into my a.m. and p.m. curiosity this week, I discovered that Ante and Post Meridiem are where a.m. and p.m. come from, and Ack Emma is the Pip Emma equivalent of a.m:
The phrase derives from a British signalman's letter code, in which Ack stood for A and so on. This is also where the word Ack Ack for anti-aircraft (AA) fire comes from, as well as the origin of the companion term Pip Emma.
That I find interesting. Who knows where that will take me, from an idle question into art?
Photo: Book Cover of the novel One None and a Hundred Thousand (aka One, No-one and a Hundred Thousand), Luigi Pirandello, 1926:
“Vitangelo Moscarda discovers by way of a completely irrelevant question that his wife poses to him that everyone he knows, everyone he has ever met, has constructed a 'Vitangelo' persona ...” Wikipedia
Thanks for visiting, see you next week!
Welcome to my blog, where I share what I have been doing during the week.
I have at last copied my nom-de-plume Binky McKee blog entries from here to their own blog, having given the illustration website an overhaul. Peace and tranquillity may resume here in the somewhat quieter nature of Heather Eliza's work, while Binky has her own rather more colourful Weekly. Please visit Binky McKee if you would like to visit!
Heather Eliza Walker
Artist in Edinburgh, Scotland
My Illustration Work:
Binky McKee Website