A talk in the garden

Today the weather turned from cloudy and a bit rainy this morning to a blue clear sky with the sun shining bright right now.

I enjoyed my time in the garden. Some weeding. The bit behind the raspberries. The corner bit. Lots of thistle, grasses and coltsfoot. Not too warm. The sun shining more and more during the afternoon.

Several talks. I liked them. One about the Dutch word eigenlijk, actually.

Another about me and my website. I was asked where the drive came from. I tried to be as honest as i possibly can. Which is hard. Because i have been hiding so many things deep inside over the years. Even for myself. I honestly believe i need to keep on going till the end. I can not play it safe. I can not put a bit on a alternative reality, to keep as a safe place for me to run to once everything goes wrong. I have to stay with this a full 100%. With nothing left to spare. No holding back.

Which is scary. Extremely scary. I honestly do not know what will happen. I need to keep it all in the air and see where it leads me.

I do know time is running out.

But also, timing is vital.

The sun sank lower and lower, and their hopes fell. It sank into a belt of reddened cloud and disappeared. The dwarves groaned, but still Bilbo stood almost without moving. The little moon was dipping to the horizon. Evening was coming on. Then suddenly when their hope was lowest a red ray of the sun escaped like a finger through a rent in the cloud. A gleam of light came straight through the opening into the bay and fell on the smooth rock-face. The old thrush, who had been watching from a high perch with beady eyes and head cocked on one side, gave a sudden trill. There was a loud attack. A flake of rock split from the wall and fell. A hole appeared suddenly about three feet from the ground. Quickly, trembling lest the chance should fade, the dwarves rushed to the rock and pushed-in vain.

“The key! The key!” cried Bilbo. “Where is Thorin?”

Thorin hurried up.

“The key!” shouted Bilbo. “The key that went with the map! Try it now while there is still time!”

Then Thorin stepped up and drew the key on its chain from round his neck. He put it to the hole. It fitted and it turned! Snap! The gleam went out, the sun sank, the moon was gone, and evening sprang into the sky.

Source: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, J.R.R. Tolkien

I’ve read this story when i was around eleven twelve years old. The last light of this special Durin’s Day shows the keyhole. This story and the sequel, The Lord of the Rings, are a part of my life.

I’m using these stories dramatic timing to guide myself. I can not simply tell you what is in my mind. I do not know that, not yet. I’m slowly crawling up the mountain, each turn giving me a different perspective.

But, it is not like that. The truth is that i am using these metaphors, these mechanics, these stories to pull me through these uncharted areas.

I am getting closer. I can feel it in every bone in my body. In every dream i had.

Nearly there.

Thinning out the carrots makes a nice harvest
Nasturtium flower
Tomatoes
Plum tomatoes
A pear
Pumpkin flower
Almond
Apples
Blackberries
Julien!
Hilde
Julien once again
The working gear shed
The kitchen and greenhouse shed
Diamela eating some beetroot
Published on July 3, 2017 at 6:00 by

This is art

The thesis i wrote at the end of art school surfaced a few weeks ago. It has been lying on my desk since then. Sometimes i pick it up and browse through it. De Nieuwe Zakelijkheid. The New Professionalism. It’s main subject are the strategies used by several artists to deal with the continuous stream of criticism written by professional critics who try to fit the new art in the approved history of modern art. Jeff Koons, Gran Fury and the Guerilla Girls are the artists discussed.

Paradoxically, nothing more clearly reveals the logic of the functioning of the artistic field than the fate of these apparently radical attempts at subversion. Because they expose the art of the artistic creation to a mockery already annexed to the artistic tradition by Duchamp, they are immediately converted into artistic ‘acts’, recorded as such and thus consecrated and celebrated by the makers of taste. Art cannot reveal the truth about art without snatching it away again by turning the revelation in an artistic event.

Source: The end of art theory, Victor Burgin, 1986

The introduction gives a global overview of the development of art in the twentieth century. In Western Europe art used to make visual creations made in assignments by the church, royalty and merchant organizations and families. Photography, film and graphic design have taken over these functions of art. Art has settled in its diminished field of use and stated that its core feature is an essential lack of usefulness and applicability.

Ai Weiwei, 1957

I have written my thesis in 1991. Reading it back, it feels like there hasn’t changed that much. Of course, some things did. There is the internet. Digital photography. Wars. New young music artists. New writers. New television shows. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat.

But change? Real, profound change? I’m not so sure.

I started a job in September 1994. I thought about it for a weekend. Things weren’t going that well. I didn’t like the art world in Rotterdam. I didn’t like the talking and mingling. In that weekend i knew i was going for something new, something i didn’t know the end of. I said yes to the job.

After five years i was exhausted and decided to leave. I did get another job. By that time i was making work online. Started 1 July 1997, now twenty years ago. I love the immediacy of the medium. I love the techniques. Gifanimations. Photos. Little games. Flash! I loved it!

At some point i stopped getting inspired. Things weren’t going that well. I withdrew. I started playing World of Warcraft. I didn’t see any of my old friends for eight years or so. Towards the end i did see some eventually. A bit.

For two and three quarter years i have been working again, since October 2014. To me, it has been the greatest gift i could have ever given myself. I still remember sitting in the train going to the center of the Netherlands, looking around me at all the people sitting there, busy with their smartphones, reading a book or staring at the fields passing by outside. Sometimes a conversation started. Jaap with his Rubik’s Cube.

Now i’m here. Sitting in front of my computer, typing these words. Sounds from the outside drift in. A moped. Cars. The tram. People talking, making sounds. It is clouded. Summer.

I kept on learning my entire life. I finally found the courage to do things i had only dreamed of before. Giving away my drawings to Green Gartside is one of those things. Something i feel so happy with. It is hard to believe. But my life is not a stop or go story. Even the years i didn’t work, i was still learning. The years i tried, i failed, i stopped, i cried, all those years are special to me. This is my life.

This doesn’t make it more important to you. You, my dear reader. Each and everyone of us lives his or her own life. To each and everyone of us our experiences make our own life, our experiences are what shapes our believes, our hopes, our despairs. It is very difficult for each and everyone of us to make a link to someone else and share our believes, our hopes, our despairs.

This is art.

The photos with this post are artists. World famous artists. At the start of this post there is a famous work by Damien Hirst, For the Love of God, 2007. I truly admire this work. I truly admire Ai Weiwei. I’m a bit more apprehensive about Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. But i do think their work says a lot about the world we live in today. Their work is important.

This website, ellenpronk.com, is this art?

My website, ellenpronk.com, is not a commodity. It only exists because i keep on working on it. Making a post five times a week. The work is hard to sell. It is hard to exhibit in a museum or art gallery.

To me, that doesn’t matter. What i want to do is to show you photos i made, photos i found, talk to you about the garden, about thoughts i have about the world. I don’t need to exhibit this work anywhere. It is already out there. Ready for you to visit.

This is my work. I don’t care what other people think. This is my work. It takes all my time. And i am not letting it go.

I do hope you will find something here which interests you. Something to lighten up your day. Something to make you smile. Something to make you think.

And yes, to me, this website, this blog, this is art.

Most definitely.

Published on June 30, 2017 at 6:00 by

My life

I have been writing about my life on this website. Most of them are in the category My Story. Some are about my work, some are about my dreams, some are about sex, my possible futures.

One is about my father.

Several are about my memories and more memories.

Two are about the contactsheets i made at art school.

One is about the Scritti Politti gig i went to last year, 5 February 2016.

Another post is about how i feel. Many others are as well. Me trying to be as honest as i can be. My dreams, again, and my fight with them.

Ultimately, an empty life. Which is true.

Ending up with the truth. For now anyway.

I have said it here before, i love this place.

I really do.

Published on June 28, 2017 at 6:00 by

The truth

The truth. These words mean so many different things to all different people. Here, i can only write about the one truth i’m familiar with. My truth.

The truth of my life. My life as i have been leading it for the past fifty three years. I have made many mistakes. I have learned from most of them. Some because i was told i had done a wrong thing. Others because i experienced doing something not quite right. I have also done some things right. I have been careful. I am sensitive, easily hurt, taken away by a thought. So yes, i have been careful. I will rather be alone then with people i feel uncomfortable with. I like to be on my own. Listening to music. Reading a book. Sitting at my balcony and stare up to the sky. Watch some television. I enjoy that.

I do like to think about the world. I don’t follow all the news, but i do like to keep up. There are many other things besides the news which tells you something about the state of the world. I am an optimistic person. But i do understand why some people fail to see the good side of the world.

I do think there is something wrong in the world. It is the people getting used to lies, untruths, deception. People becoming used to not trusting others. People saying something and meaning something else. Not even because they want to lie, it is because they don’t feel the difference. They assume this is how the world works. Saying something because it is your job, for instance. Saying something because you want other people to believe you. To get something back. Money. Power. Status.

In this Western Europe, in the Netherlands, this country i live in, i am falling through. I try to catch something to stop my fall, something to hold me up. I have only a few weeks left over. Not that i’m anticipating the worst then. I still have the value of my house, which i bought twenty two years ago. I can monetize that, of course. But it is not the way i want to go.

Yes.

I still want it. I still want to get famous. I still think i can keep up with the pressure put on you in that situation. Yes, i need friends. Most importantly, i need a boy friend. To keep me sane. To cuddle with. To love.

People around me, people who i have talked with, about this subject, tell me i’m crazy. It will never happen. Never. Two people have said that. Of the people who only think that and don’t tell me, i don’t know how many of those there are.

Everybody leads its own life. The life they know, they grew up in. The experiences they had, which shaped their world. I tried to fit in. For years. Desperately. Until i stopped.

So i have given up working. Or at least, given up looking for it. I won’t say no if somebody asks me to do something. But hardly anyone asks. I have said it last week, in the About post, this website, maintaining it, writing the posts for it, that is my work. Honestly. Five days a week. With at the most five weeks of holiday a year. I do need to find a way to make money with it, of course. I don’t want ads. I don’t have enough visitors for that anyway. So becoming famous would be a way.

I enjoy the conversations i have with the people in the garden. They are feisty. Most of the time people don’t agree with me. But it is fun. Enjoyable. And i do learn about things i don’t know enough about. Taxes. Anarchy. Weeds. Compost. Flowers. Worms. And so on. I love that.

But i want to stick to my story. The story of my life. Which isn’t finished yet. I have only been working in the garden for a year and two months. I do feel i need to bring something out in fruition. Something in me.

So this post is a part of that feeling. Me trying to bring something out. Not for someone else, but for me. Because i feel my life will not be complete without it.

The truth of my life. Simple words. As i am sitting here, listening to the sounds of neighbours, the noises of cars and trams on the streets, this truth does escape me often.

No, this is not the right time. Not yet. I don’t feel a thought in myself coming up. But i am still happy, thinking, feeling where i am.

Have a good weekend. Salute!

Published on June 23, 2017 at 6:00 by

Magnificent girls

This is what most girls dream of: becoming a hugely popular popstar, admired all over the world, singing their hearts out. With every step they take people watch them, try to talk to them, ask for a photograph, a signature, anything.

I started with looking for photos of the popstars of now, ended up with the popstars of my youth. Most of them young, some a bit older, better called women.

The reality is of course very different. I remember reading an interview with Roisin Murphy, in which she talked about being asked if she wanted to become world famous. No. She said.

I completely understand that answer.

As for me, nobody ever asked me that question. so here i am asking myself that question.

First, i’m a woman, not a girl. Some bits of fame i can not access anymore.

But still?

I confess i dream of it sometimes. It could be some sort of wish fulfillment. To make my life worth something.

But i do see other reasons, other advantages of being famous. If you are strong enough that is. If you have good friends. Who can keep on talking sense into you. Because i think this world would be utterly, totally greedy and hungry and take everything from you. Photographers zooming in on you, people asking for interviews, asking for your presence on television. Terrible.

And i can still see something in there, something worthwhile. Talking with people of all ages, anywhere. Talking about their lives, their children, their loved ones, their work. About their wishes. About what they miss.

I’m not sure i am able to do it. But that is my biggest wish, for that to happen. I can fail. Of course. But there also might be a small chance i can succeed. Maybe.

Well, time for some photos: the magnificent girls!

Note: those eyelashes! Wow!! All of them!

Published on June 22, 2017 at 6:00 by

Solstice

Today it is a solstice on our earth. 21 June 2017, 4:24 UT, 6:24 CET. The Sun reached its most northerly position. Today, in our northern hemisphere, this June solstice is the time that the Sun almost stands still. It will start its movement to the southern hemisphere.

UT date and time of
equinoxes and solstices on Earth
event equinox solstice equinox solstice
month March June September December
year
day time day time day time day time
2010 20 17:32 21 11:28 23 03:09 21 23:38
2011 20 23:21 21 17:16 23 09:04 22 05:30
2012 20 05:14 20 23:09 22 14:49 21 11:12
2013 20 11:02 21 05:04 22 20:44 21 17:11
2014 20 16:57 21 10:51 23 02:29 21 23:03
2015 20 22:45 21 16:38 23 08:21 22 04:48
2016 20 04:30 20 22:34 22 14:21 21 10:44
2017 20 10:28 21 04:24 22 20:02 21 16:28
2018 20 16:15 21 10:07 23 01:54 21 22:23
2019 20 21:58 21 15:54 23 07:50 22 04:19
2020 20 03:50 20 21:44 22 13:31 21 10:02

Copied from the wikipedia page Solstice.

The earth takes a year to turn around the sun. Since the earth is on an axis, we experience the seasons on earth. In June the sun comes at its highest point. It is the start of summer. This date differs from the meteorological date, which in the north encompasses the months June, July and August. Since the heat takes time to spread through the ocean and seas, the warmest months are after the solstice.

For me, this year, this day means a lot to me. I’m happy to say i’ve reached this point while i still live in my house.

I struggling within me on how to continue. I do hope it will turn out good for me. I’m almost sure of it. Almost. I have got to get that to a full 100%! And yes, i’m working on it.

But this day is a day of celebration. Hopefully this evening i will be in the gardening, with friends, something to eat and something to drink.

Celebrate!

Published on June 21, 2017 at 6:00 by

Icecream and music

Today wasn’t a big productive day. I had to calm down from the post i wrote yesterday. It is a big upheaval for me. Writing the post, and thinking about it after that. Dreaming away, again.

I did go out in the afternoon. Wearing the big floppy hat i usually wear to the garden. It was warm! Hot! I did promise myself a bit of icecream. I asked for passionfruit and mango, but i got strawberry instead of mango icecream. When i said something about it, the lady helping me asked me if she could put the mango on top of the strawberry. So i got three scoops for the price of two. I got a newspaper and sat outside in the shade and slowly ate the entire icecream. Yum!

At home i listened to music. My MIX tapes section on Spotify to the rescue. I thought about making a playlist and adding it to this post.

Done!

I drank a bit too much water. I have got to be careful, it almost feels like i’m gonna throw up. I don’t want that. Careful.

I just threw the I Ching. 14. Ta Yu / Possession in Great Measure.

THE JUDGMENT

POSSESSION IN GREAT MEASURE.
Supreme success.

The two trigrams indicate that strength and clarity unite. Possessions great measure is determined by fate and accords with the time. How is it possible that the weak line has power to hold the strong lines fast and to possess them? It is done by virtue of unselfish modesty. The time is favorable–a time of strength within, clarity and culture without. Power is expressing itself in graceful and controlled way. This brings supreme success and wealth.

THE IMAGE

Fire in heaven above:
the image of POSSESSION IN GREAT MEASURE.
Thus the superior man curbs evil and furthers good,
And thereby obeys the benevolent will of heaven.

The sun in heaven above, shedding light over everything one earth, is the image of possession on a grand scale. But a possession of this sort must be administered properly. The sun brings both evil and good into the light of day. Man must combat and curb the evil, and must favor and promote the good. Only in this way does he fulfill the benevolent will of God, who desires only good and not evil.

Nine in the fourth place means:
He makes a difference
Between himself and his neighbor.
No blame.

This characterizes the position of a man placed among rich and powerful neighbors. It is a dangerous position. He must look neither to the right nor to the left, and must shun envy and the temptation to vie with others. In this way he remains free of mistakes.

I’m not sure what this sign says is correct for me in this time. I can still be almost fierce in discussions. It is hard to let things go. But sometimes i do. It depends on the person i’m talking with. Some can be almost aggravating. Telling me what to think. Which i don’t like. Other people i really like. That is hard too. More pleasurable though. Really! I have no idea who those rich and powerful neighbors are. But still. Good advice.

The next sign is 26. Ta Ch’u / The Taming Power of the Great. This is a good one. An even better one than Possession in Great Measure.

THE JUDGMENT

THE TAMING POWER OF THE GREAT.
Perseverance furthers.
Not eating at home brings good fortune.
It furthers one to cross the great water.

To hold firmly to great creative powers and store them up, as set forth in this hexagram, there is need of a strong, clear-headed man who is honored by the ruler. The trigram Ch’ein points to strong creative power; Kên indicates firmness and truth. Both point to light and clarity and to the daily renewal of character. Only through such daily self-renewal can a man continue at the height of his powers. Force of habit helps to keep order in quiet times; but in periods when there is a great storing up of energy, everything depends on the power of the personality. However, since the worthy are honored, as in the case of the strong personality entrusted with leadership by the ruler, it is an advantage not to eat at home but rather to earn one’s bread by entering upon public office. Such a man is in harmony with heaven; therefore even great and difficult undertakings, such as crossing the great water, succeed.

THE IMAGE

Heaven within the mountain:
The image of THE TAMING POWER OF THE GREAT.
Thus the superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity
And many deeds of the past,
In order to strengthen his character thereby.

Heaven within the mountain points to hidden treasures. In the words and deeds of the past there lies hidden a treasure that men may use to strengthen and elevate their own characters. The way to study the past is not to confine oneself to mere knowledge of history but, through application of this knowledge, to give actuality to the past.

Therefore even great and difficult undertakings, such as crossing the great water, succeed.

Yay!

I’m gonna sit near my balcony. Maybe cool myself a bit before with some cold water. Yeah, it is hot. Just sit and think a bit after that. Enjoy this weather.

Bye bye!

Published on June 20, 2017 at 6:00 by