Categories for My story

Gilbert & George

We want our Art to :
bring out the Bigot from inside the Liberal
and conversely to
bring out the Liberal from inside the Bigot
Gilbert & George 2014

Gilbert & George were already very prolific when i went to art school, in 1986. I became a fan. I must have seen their work on the trip to Berlin, Germany in the first year. Mönchengladbach, Düsselforf, Keulen, Berlin. Not sure this was right for this trip, but these names have stuck in my mind. There was a great museum park with small buildings and sculptures and the most wonderful lunch you can imagine. I searched for it just yet, but it is hard to find. There was also a place in Düsseldorf, the musea in Cologne and then of course the musea in Berlin. Still divided in two. One day we did go to East Berlin, through Checkpoint Charlie. There was a restaurant where we had a bite to eat, with more than half closed of. It was a different world. A different time.

But, i’m sure there were some of Gilbert & George‘s works hanging around. In 1989 i wrote something about them. It doesn’t say for which section this was. Most likely it was for art history. The only section for which we had to write something.

After i finished school, when i went to work. I left art behind me. It was a world in which i wasn’t that interested anymore. I guess. Even when i started working on the internet, i wasn’t thinking about art, wasn’t reading that many books about it. So when i moved to London and lived there for around seven months, i didn’t realize i lived so close to Gilbert & George. I do remember one time, when i was sitting in a pub in Spitalfields Market, that they walked past. Someone one pointed them out. And i did see them, walking by.

I will write more about Gilbert & George. This post is about my memories, about something i wrote, about where i lived when i stayed in London. The next piece will be about their work.

Published on April 14, 2017 at 6:00 by

Questions

What do you wish for most?
The world right now, in 2017, is ruled by people with greed. Greed for power, greed for money, greed for sex. They hardly feel any constraint in succumbing to their wishes. They have infected the entire world with this selfish desire. The Asian world. The African world.

I know there are also many people trying to do good. Working hard for the animals, for the people, for the children, for the plants and trees. But they are continuously limited and restrained by governments and news outlets.

So my first, biggest and ultimate wish is for power structure of money to change. To let it fall to pieces. To give people something to believe in, something to work for, something to fight for. Something new. A new faith.

Who would you most like to be?
Me!

What is your definition of happiness?
Happiness is to wake up each and every day with a curiosity for new things and a desire to live fully. To talk with people all over the world, work hard, have a good meal with friends, relax a little, make a walk, work in the vegetable garden, swim in the ocean and sleep with your loved one.

What is your definition of unhappiness?
Being all alone in this world, with nobody to talk with, nobody to have diner with, nobody to hug, nobody to kiss, nobody to sleep with.

This does remind me a bit of my life as it is right now. I am alone now, a lot. The garden is the only social group i hang out with. My life right now is between happiness and unhappiness. I am working hard now though. And my mind is geared towards the future. So i wouldn’t call myself unhappy. Not yet anyway!

What was the most interesting thing that ever happened to you?
Making my drawings on 8 February 1986. I finally gave these drawings to Green Gartside, 5 February 2016. I had given these drawings away twice earlier. Both times i received them back. I remember looking at these drawings once i had made them. Feeling a bit puzzled. Not sure what i had made. It has become clearer over time.

What was the worst thing that you ever did?
One time when i was around thirteen years old, a school friend had an accident in front of my house. She came into my house and we helped her. On our way to school i left her. I was afraid to be too late at school. Terrible thing that was. Regretted it ever since.

Another event was a vacation with a school friend. I called her the day we left, going with the train from the Netherlands to Italy. She didn’t reply. I was upset and went over to her house. As it turned out, i was calling the wrong number. But it never got right after that. After a week or so we had a huge fight. After that i went back home, alone. Terrible.

What makes life worth living for you?
Hmmm. Life is difficult for me now. Lack of money mostly. Apart from that, i’m perfectly happy. I work in the garden, two days a week. I have my blog, whith five updates each week. I haven’t missed one yet, in the more than two years i’m working on it. I do my walks. I listen to music. I watch movies. I read. I love all that.

What would make life unliveable for you?
I still have a dream that i can make it. With this website, ellenpronk.com, i could somehow generate some income. I wouldn’t mind becoming famous. Like Gilbert & George for example. I’m reading books about them now, so they are in my consciousness. I still feel it is possible. But it is getting close to failing miserably. Still, even if it does fail, i will need to look out for an alternative. But i can’t do that right now. I need to be focused on succeeding.

Getting back to my life as it was three years ago, that would be terrible. Unliveable. Yes.

These questions were asked by Gilbert & George to a number of youths in the movie The World of Gilbert & George (1981). When i read these questions in the book The Art of Gilbert & George, i immediately thought that i really want to ask these questions to myself.

Published on April 11, 2017 at 6:00 by

The Hit Factory

In the late 80s, while i was studying at art school, i needed to be extremely frugal with my money. So i stopped buying many things. Records for one thing. In stead i went through the out of the charts box in the record shop. Singles were sold for one guilder. I also felt at the time my taste in music was changing. I was curious about many different music styles, especially the popular ones. Whitney Houston i was fascinated by. I knew she had a lovely voice. I knew she looked gorgeous. Not my taste no. But still. Lovely.

Stock, Aitken and Waterman were not my taste either. But i got into their music a bit. There is fun in their music. Of course. It is written mostly for young girls and boys. They could write a song in a couple of hours. And get a few girls of the street and make them sing it, record a video and yes, have a hit.

I did enjoy Kylie’s music a lot. I sang along with it. Danced in my house on it. And Especially For You, the duet between Kylie and Jason, was my favorite song. It still is.

Sometimes people can write a tune, write words which mean more than usual. I mean, it is more than I’d Rather Jack by the Reynolds Girls. Even though i always enjoyed that song too. Especially For You stayed with me for the last thirty years.

It was a bit weird that i listened to this music while i was at art school. Earlier, at high school and on the Delft University, i was into new wave – now known as post punk. It felt like i was looking for something opposed to the situation i was in. A small token of independence. I even bought the Smash Hits in that time. Reading it in the canteen of art school was not accepted.

The albums and singles i have are in this post. And at the end some youtube clips. One documentary to start with. A bit over enthusiastic of course.

Enjoy!

The Hit Factory Documentary

Kylie Minogue – Got to be certain

Kylie minogue and Jason Donovan – Especially for you

Kylie – Hand on your heart

Kylie – Wouldn’t Change A Thing

Kylie – Never Too Late

Kylie – Better The Devil You Know

Bananarama – Venus

Mel & Kim – Respectable

Mel & Kim – Showing Out

Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up

Sinitta – “Toy Boy”

Donna Summer – This Time I Know Its For Real

Princess – Say I’m Your Number One

Samantha Fox – Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now

The Reynolds Girls – I’d Rather Jack

Published on March 24, 2017 at 6:00 by

Eight years of silence, again

Two years ago i wrote this post, Eight years of silence.

The eight years were only silent for you. To me they were pretty normal. But i did miss making presents. It wasn’t in the forefront of my mind the whole time, but it did pop up.

Pretty normal. Pretty normal? Really?

Last Friday i spoke to somebody at the garden. Friendship came up. I said it. I have no friends. A surprised look. Not even at the garden? No. I do enjoy working at the garden. Lots. I like the people i got to know through the garden. But they are not part of my own personal life. They are part of the garden life.

I said something about that time in 2006 and 2007. When i stopped trying to keep all the friendships i had together. Stopped trying to work hard on them. Gave up. It felt that my then current friends moved away from me. I didn’t call anyone. Nobody called me. I was playing World of Warcraft. As an escape. A way to keep myself occupied. Busy.

So when a friend called me while i was in a raid, one of the first. Nervous. Trying to be as good as possible. I said to her i would call her back the next day. I did. But i didn’t get a hold of her. She was going to tell me she was pregnant.

I actually planned to go to her once i knew. Once the baby was born. I had bought a gift, a lovely little soft stroking baby thing. But i didn’t go. That present was laying in my cupboard for a couple of years. When the daughter of my sister got a baby, i gave it to her.

We did meet in town around 2010. When i was walking back home from work, on a Friday afternoon. I nearly cried. Slowly we got back to talking a bit more. We are sort of fine now. But it is more superficial. We can get by not seeing each other for years. Easy.

I won’t go into all the details here. This post isn’t about that. It is about what i wrote in my earlier post. Pretty normal. Is that how i felt about that time? Really?

I was all alone. I played a game, i met people through the game. Some i liked. But no one like a true friend. It was a way to pass the time. To not think about things. To not think about my life flowing by me and leaving me unattached.

It felt like my life had stopped.

It didn’t stop though. Of course not.

That sledgehammer moment i had in 2014. I can still feel it. I’m still not sure why it happened then. But i’m happy it did happen. I found back a part of me which i have always loved. The creative part. The happy part. The part i had missed so much over the previous eight years.

It does feel a bit like it couldn’t have gone any other way. I am not sure about that now. But yes, maybe it was like that. Maybe this was the only way for me. To let my work go. With pain in my heart. To find it once more. Happier. More steadfast.

That time in between. That was not pretty normal. It was awful. But i did learn a few things then. I learned to be quiet. I learned to be on my own. I learned a bit of control of myself. A bit.

So now, i am still on my own. I still don’t have many friends. If any. But i do trust myself. I still feel things will turn for the better.

I still do.

Published on March 14, 2017 at 6:00 by

Full of ideas

My head is full of ideas.

  • a video clip, dancing, taking shot from head height, waist height, close by, a bit further of, music maybe En Vogue?
  • a story about science fiction blockbusters, with screen shots from Star Wars, Hunger Games, Inception, Matrix, Terminator and more movies – about stories, about what we show to our people, what we show them to divert them, about our own world which is that much worse than anything we can think of, but also more beautiful and complicated

Today i watched the first video clips i made.

I see their amateuristic look and feel. I see the camera’s involuntary movement. I can see they are my first clips, very clearly.

But i also see the joy. I also see myself walking around in the city, on the beach and in the park and loving it and looking around and filming it. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

I think about yesterday. My birthday. The cake. I think about today. And my head is full. I dance. It springs up in my mind.

And i know i need to quiet down a bit. But still. I love this time. All by myself. I love love love it.

I watched a bit of the Oscars. All those famous people sitting there and clapping and laughing and singing. All the beautiful people. All the talented people. So far away.

I can not believe this is happening to me right now. I can not believe i feel all these things.

Crazy!

Completely, totally crazy!

Published on February 28, 2017 at 6:00 by

My birthday’s vegan carrot cake

My birthday. I didn’t really celebrate it that much. But i did bake a cake! Since it is a Sunday, i was going to the garden anyway. I had invited a friend a couple of weeks ago. When she said she could come last Friday or this Sunday, i said that coming on my birthday sounded like a really good idea. I gave her a grand tour of the garden and we talked about all sorts of things while we walked about.

I do think everybody enjoyed the cake. The frosting was a bit sweet, the way i like it. A bit too sweet for some, but it did seem to go down pretty good.

For tonight i still have some Riesling and a bit of chocolate for with the tea. I treated myself. Yay! Tomorrow back to the low carb food.

All the ingredients
The spring form is greased up with some coconut oil
The dry ingredients in a big bowl. In the small bowl grated carrot...
...and then two mashed bananas
The sunflower oil and a bit of haselnut milk make the batter for the cake.
The finished cake. A sweet frosting with a almondy taste. The cake itself is a bit dense, but the taste is lovely. The raisins, bananas, carrots and walnuts are great.

Recipe
Ingredients

  • 250 gr all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 125 gr granulated sugar
  • 125 ml sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp flaxseeds mixed with 3 tbsp of water and set to gel
  • 250 gr grated raw carrot
  • some chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C
  2. Sift the dry ingredients
  3. Add the wet ingredients to a large bowl and mix. Add the dry ingredients and then fold in the carrots and optional nuts
  4. Turn into a medium sized well greased loaf pan
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until done (can be up to an hour). Cool on a rack

I forgot the frosting! That took me some searches to find a good vegan frosting recipe. I have to admit, i did miss the butter and the cream cheese. Really. I don’t think i will make this type of frosting again. Still, the nutty flavour is really nice.

Ingredients

  • white almond paste
  • 1 avocado
  • powder sugar
  • a bit of agave syrop
  • a bit of haselnut milk
  • some creamed up coconut oil

Instructions

  1. mix everything together!
Published on February 27, 2017 at 6:00 by

Getting there

Getting there… a bit anyway.

The past weeks i’ve been thinking at times. Sometimes not thinking at all. I felt numb a few times. I told here it was hard.

The past two years and a half i have been working hard here on this website and on lfs.nl. I dived into my past. I have shown you my old drawings, photos i used to make of myself. I have made walks. I worked in the garden. I cooked. I sang songs. I made video clips. Not all successful, no, but i made everything with my heart.

I know i got to deal with myself first. My head full of dreams. It is hard to get away from them. Especially at night. These dreams are becoming more real. It is not that i can make my head empty and live my life completely without dreams, without wishes, without hopes. That is the main reason i’m tempted by meditation. Not completely without, but still at times the serenity of silence. The quietness of a silent mind. Very tempting. So yes, i will keep on going forward with meditation.

And me? My life? The money i need to live in my apartment, to buy food. I hope it will sort itself out. Eventually.

Have a good weekend. Smile at people. Cook. Take some rest.

*wink*

Published on February 24, 2017 at 6:00 by

Me

Difficult days. I feel a bit numb. Thoughts of doubt come up. Like, i’m old. Well, not the youngest anymore. It is hard to look back on everything i’ve done here on ellenpronk.com and on lfs.nl. I feel a bit empty.

But i do feel i need to keep on track. I do not want to give up. It is just hard right now. What do you expect, Ellen?

Published on February 23, 2017 at 6:00 by

The Army

I threw number 36 Ming I / Darkening of the light once more. This time though with three changing lines, all three in the bottom part of the hexagram.

Nine at the beginning means:
Darkening of the light during flight.
He lowers his wings.
The superior man does not eat for three days
On his wanderings.
But he has somewhere to go.
The host has occasion to gossip about him.

With grandiose resolve a man endeavors to soar above all obstacles, but thus encounters a hostile fate. He retreats and evades the issue. The time is difficult. Without rest, he must hurry along, with no permanent abiding place. If he does not want to make compromises within himself, but insists on remaining true to his principles, he suffers deprivation. Never the less he has a fixed goal to strive for even though the people with whom he lives do not understand him and speak ill of him.

° Six in the second place means:
Darkening of the light injures him in the left thigh.
He gives aid with the strength of a horse.
Good fortune.

Here the Lord of Light is in a subordinate place and is wounded by the Lord of Darkness. But the injury is not fatal; it is only a hindrance. Rescue is still possible. The wounded man gives no thought to himself; he thinks only of saving the others who are also in danger. Therefore he tries with all his strength to save all that can be saved. There is good fortune in thus acting according to duty.

Nine in the third place means:
Darkening of the light during the hunt in the south.
Their great leader is captured.
One must not expect perseverance too soon.

It seems as if chance were at work. While the strong, loyal man is striving eagerly and in good faith to create order, he meets the ringleader of the disorder, as if by accident, and seizes him. Thus victory is achieved. But in abolishing abuses one must not be too hasty. This would turn out badly because the abuses have been in existence so long.

I’m not sure. I do see similarities with my current situation. At the moment i am trying to find a bit more peace and quiet, mainly in myself. It is hard. Like, just yet, i listened to classical music. My favorite Rudolf Escher. I had almost forgotten that i still had to write this post for tomorrow. My mind still moves on like a steamroller. Very hard to keep it still. It seems really important.

The coins ended up with sign number 7. Shih / The Army.

7. Shih / The Army

above K’UN THE RECEPTIVE, EARTH
below K’AN THE ABYSMAL, WATER

This hexagram is made up of the trigrams K’an, water, and K’un, earth, and thus it symbolizes the ground water stored up in the earth. In the same way military strength is stored up in the mass of the people–invisible in times of peace but always ready for use as a source of power. The attributes of the two trig rams are danger inside and obedience must prevail outside.
Of the individual lines, the one that controls the hexagram is the strong nine in the second place, to which the other lines, all yielding, are subordinate. This line indicates a commander, because it stands in the middle of one of the two trigrams. But since it is in the lower rather than the upper trigram, it represents not the ruler but the efficient general, who maintains obedience in the army by his authority.

THE JUDGMENT

THE ARMY. The army needs perseverance
And a strong man.
Good fortune without blame.

An army is a mass that needs organization in order to become a fighting force. Without strict discipline nothing can be accomplished, but this discipline must not be achieved by force. It requires a strong man who captures the hearts of the people and awakens their enthusiasm. In order that he may develop his abilities he needs the complete confidence of his ruler, who must entrust him with full responsibility as long as the war lasts. But war is always a dangerous thing and brings with it destruction and devastation. Therefore it should not be resorted to rashly but, like a poisonous drug, should be used as a last recourse.

THE IMAGE

In the middle of the earth is water:
The image of THE ARMY.
Thus the superior man increases his masses
By generosity toward the people.

Ground water is invisibly present within the earth. In the same way the military power of a people is invisibly present in the masses. When danger threatens, every peasant becomes present in the masses. When danger threatens, every peasant becomes a soldier; when the war ends, he goes back to his plow. He who is generous toward the people wins their love, and a people living under a mild rule becomes strong and powerful. Only a people economically strong can be important in military power. Such power must
therefore be cultivated by improving the economic condition of the people and by humane government. Only when there is this invisible bond between government and people, so that the people are sheltered by their government as ground water is sheltered by the earth, is it possible to wage a victorious war.

Hmmm…

Published on February 22, 2017 at 6:00 by