09 March 2011

Repetition of Forms

Losing my Religion by REM is following me everywhere. It appeared the other day when I went to Valparaiso while we waited for the metro to take us to Vina del Mar. It floated out of a bar on the walking mall in Vina while we walked toward the bus station. It signalled the end of the night here in the hostel by showing up to let everyone know it was time for bed.

Art, too, appears to be becoming a repetitive force in my life while I walk through Chile. The murals in Valpo, around each turn and every color-bathed corner. The hearts sprouting wings in graffiti around the barrios of Santiago. A new friend who signed the back of a ping-pong paddle for me, whose art is in an exhibition in Budapest. Wild, contrasting photography in the Bellas Artes Museum coexisting with plaster reproductions of Michaelangelo´s works and styrofoam scultptures from Chilean contemporary art.

My stories seem to go in circles, since each new contact and acquaintance asks the same questions and walks into the same stories. Our orientation repeats not only itself, but the TEFL course we all were supposed to finish. Even the food is repeated.

Repetition of forms in Renaissance architecture sought to bring order to an otherwise chaotic world. The clean lines and repetitive forms brought a sense of planning and forethought. These repeated forms sought a higher purpose.

What higher purpose are these personal repetitions seeking? At this point, it's abundantly unclear. Flexibility? Patience? Faith? Letting go of my desire to control/understand? Pissing me off for the fun of it?

The process is just beginning, and our meager time in this insulated and cushy Gringo Paradise is nearing it's end. I wonder if I'm prepared for what this will actually be, for what my assignment will bring and where my adventure will really take me. The decision comes tomorrow, and then there's no turning back. I can't wait.

To get back to Santiago from Vina del Mar was a process, and a stressfully crowded experience with humanity crammed into a grungy bus terminal. As usual for Chile, it was barely controlled chaos. Even the Chileans milling about wore my expression of confusion and supressed terror that the bus would never arrive and we would have to sleep in the terminal with the stray dogs. In a certain sense, that feeling of worry and waiting for an unknown objective permeates this experience. But the bus is coming, the repetitions and omens continue to beckon, and in the end it's all temporary anyway.

Eyes up. Time to get down to business.

1 comment:

  1. Not sure you know, but Losing my Religion is a Southern way of losing my cool. For what it's worth! Great writing.