Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I recently finished this piece. It's called "SPLURT: The Book of Genesis from 'On the Origin of Species' by Charles Darwin". I'm recreating the book of Genesis by cutting the letters from Darwin's classic book on evolution. Get it? You should – it's not that deep – but here's the cool part: The shapes are taken from illustrations from 'The Joy of Sex' by Alex Comfort. I traced the outlines of these fornicating couples – (well, actually, I'm not sure if they're fornicating, but they're definitely copulating) – and so we're talking about beginnings, origins, and the inevitable coitus that made it all possible. I find it amusing that whether one is a creationist or an evolutionist, one must concede that copious amounts of sex were had by all creatures great and small in order to populate our planet.
So this will be a series. I've started doing more of these, tracing other copulating couples from 'Joy' and then filling them in with the text from Genesis. Not sure how many yet; I'll just do them until I get tired of it. Can you tell that the shape is a couple? My sense is that you can, although it may not be clear what they're doing. They might be having sex, but they might also be playing Parcheesi. The illustrations from 'The Joy of Sex' are exquisite. I remember as a kid my aunt and uncle had the book tucked away on one of their remote shelves, and when I'd visit them, I'd sneak a peek at it. Quite a shock for a quiet little Methodist, who didn't realize that 'sex' had another meaning beyond gender. Say what???
What is THAT??
And why is he sticking it THERE???
And why the hell doesn't she fight BACK????
Imagine my shock. I think every kid experiences their first reality check when he or she is told about sex. It was the only time in my life when suicide seemed a suitable alternative to the foul deed that was being presented to me.
I have to thank Aunt ____ and Uncle ____ for my most excellent sex education. I thought I'd outsmarted them by sticking their big fat book in my Archie comic book, but I'll bet they were wise to my machinations. My wounded-deer-in-the-headlights look must have given me away. In any case, they gave me lots of space to process the surreal information, and undoubtedly had a good, quiet laugh in the other room.
About the title: When you think about it, it's pretty funny that all of creation and all of evolution is contained in a single splurt. All this fuss about who's right and who's wrong is a moot conversation and misses the point. Whether we evolved from Adam and Eve or two humping baboons, it's a given that there was a well-aimed and well-timed splurt, and the rest is...well, history.