Friday, September 5, 2008

Week 2


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. A sagging, hairy, deformed try to be happy hangs from a string. Beaten and bullied by nothing really.

    A big and small frame has nothing to share. A self-fulfilling scribble has nothing to ask.

    With this sad, sagging, hairy deformed try to be happy, I see something to kick. Or maybe flick.

  3. On a nutshell, try to be happy suspended from the barest of string. The mandate hangs from a beam, inscribed with an elementary equation and an illegible message, that offers the top frame of the picture and the foundation of an upside down cityscape made of air. The buildings, lifeless despite the green paint graffiti-like trees, are checkered by windows covered and uncovered. Try to be happy here, just try.

  4. The layers of the picture stack up as well as make horizontal lines that guides the movement of my eyes from side to side. The perpendicular element of the bag slicing through the layers, brings a focal point to the image. The beam and the field frame the middle layer of buildings. The sky and the field frame the buildings. The buildings frame the windows. I see lots of frames. The drab colors contradict the message on the coconut hanging from a string.

  5. The camera is inside of the goal. A crossbar frames the top of the image. A goalie is the only person who goes inside the goal, and usually does so only to retrieve a ball that has just gotten past him/her. There are no people on the field. There are scuffled footprints in the dirt. A game is over, or waiting to start. How is the string connecting to that coconut? The coconut is next to the goal on the opposite side, even though it is hanging from the goal on the camera side. The building behind/next to/on the right of the coconut is part of the line of buildings to the behind/left of the coconut. The sky space maybe frames that sense because it is rectangular, but now the building trails off along a street, and it is behind the buildings to which it was once adjacent. The goalpost is above the sky space, but the sky space is above the goalpost space. The areas with buildings and trees far away from the close-to-the camera goal are fuzzy and the area close to the camera is clear. There are white squiggles on a brown black light-brown beige gray white fuzzy.

  6. This is definitely not a Jeff Wall; there's too much deliberate focus on the hanging coconut and what is says. Seeing this made me smile, but then I felt strangely annoyed because I was doing what it told me to. In that sense, the act of seeing caused another action. I didn't realize (until I read the previous post) that the coconut was hanging inside a goal, which then makes the message on it literally the goal of its maker. Did the photographer write on the coconut? In order to rebel, I think I'll look at the out-of-focus background.

  7. The blue-grey cloudy sky looks like a giant tetris piece coming down on the buildings in the background. This is amplified by the part of the soccer goal post that is used to hang the coconut. It can be viewed as being close up(on the coconut), or farther away (on the buildings). That beam looks like the piece that renders your tetris game over.

  8. The monochromatic scheme of this photo allows the eye to flow effortlessly from the city-scape to the field to the central coconut. It shows lots of ways that the color brown could go. The color of the words on the coconut matches that of the sky completely. The focus of the camera forces the onlooker to read the words on the coconut and attempt to decipher the scribbles on the post. This photo isn't particularly inviting to the onlooker due to the sense of abandonment that it exudes; it looks cold there. As far at the coconut's advice, well, that could be nice, am I expected to interpret it as a "goal" to "try to be happy"? That seems a little easy. The words "try to be happy" imply that the onlooker isn't already happy, which begs one immediate question in my mind: would this photo literally look different, more vibrant perhaps, if the onlooker was truly "happy"? Then again, it's only a coconut.

  9. This picture is, on the first-impression, hilarious. And then when I stared at it long enough, it made me sad. I’m sad because I am given the impression of loneliness. And then I realized that this sadness I’m feeling is the opposite of the words in the image. I am feeling what it is trying to not make me feel. I agree with Sara in that the coconut thing looks beaten down. It takes the shape of a small punching bag that wrestlers might use to practice on. In a way this is an optimistic image because despite the fact that there’s emptiness all around, some solace can still be found. I realize that there are steep contrasts here. Empty, devoid of life concrete in contrast with buildings and life in the backdrop. The message on the coconut thing and the way I feel looking at the image. I ping-pong back and forth between emotions actually because I go from happy hilarious to sad about its loneliness then happy again by the message.

  10. this picture is a map of two possible ways of life. this picture is a trap. it leads me to believe i have control over my brains but is drenched in symbols. the goal begs to be read as some sort of pun... and the scribbled 1+2=3? its written so lightly it's just asking to be silently swallowed without question, to sneak in there and reaffirm. even the words written on the coconut still require me to accept the laws of alphabet and language. the foreground is bogged down with symbols, dead knowledge, and cheap tricks. but the background has had the life sucked out of it; it's rotting and lost and fading away.
    whether you feel more comfortable in the realm of the foreground or background, the familiar or the alien, i dont know how well the happiness thing is going to work out.

  11. Consider this image: a moment, a mark, out of the way. But now it's center frame, in your room, looking at you.

    What is the space of this image? Where does it happen? When does it happen? Is it a mark you see in passing? But when how is it here, on this blog, in your room? What happens when something becomes a photograph, immobilized and reproduced to infinity? What is the very strange temporality of this image? What impossible architecture does it forge?

    Consider the add mode of address: Who speaks? And to whom? Is it you? How can it be you? Are you in that field? What happens to the viewer upon reading this? The rhetorical architecture is infinitely complex.

  12. The "try to be happy" advice in the foreground focuses the lens such that everything beyond the goal (literally and figuratively) is a blur. Keep it simple: 1+2=3. In the blur, the buildings sprout out from the playing field as an extension -- a playground.

    This image does not represent inspiration, it performs it. And yet, what kind of advice involves the word "try"? Should fact that it's advice serve the same purpose as the word "try" anyway? Does this mean the goal is unattainable? If so, why advise someone to chase an elusive carrot? Perhaps the pursuit of happiness is enough in and of itself. Even if we do not find some sort of Platonic form of happiness, the advice puts into focus the playfulness that could suffice.

    Or this image creates a hopelessness that eclipses everything else. The "try to be happy" hangs from a goal that is marked by simplicity (1+2=3) as a tear through squinted eyes. This image forces us to see through these eyes. It gives us new eyes.

    Either way, these new eyes take on our own interpretations. To me this image is a play. I just need to figure out what play means to me.

  13. Staring at this image transports me to the field as if I am literally standing two feet away from the sack. It is a bit disorienting that a coconut or possibly a worthless old sack, either way an inanimate object, is telling me to try to be happy. Nevertheless, the message is simple just as 1+2 simple equals 3.

  14. So I have spent a little time contemplating what this photo itself has to say. I feel like if this image were to "go", it would go nowhere. That is to say, it is slow, still, and captures an instance of inactivity, which is what makes it seem so lifeless and lonely to the observer.

    As I look at the image and it impresses upon me, I too impress upon it, my interpretation of it, its true message, and the scope of its being. Which is to say that my eyes act upon it physically, which changes what I see/focus on, and ultimately the image itself changes as I come to realize different parts: its frame, my computer screen, and my desk for example. Soon it isn't even about the original photo that Coffeen posted, but every particle and perceivable thing between my reasoning faculty and where the photo resides.

    Does that make any sense at all? Do the questions I posit as a result of all of this also bleed into the image as well? Does my experience with it ever end?

    idk... yet?

  15. There is no place. There is no self expression. There is no one talking. The coconut isn't talking. Shrigley isn't anyone. The photo has been reproduced and brought to us via this blog or on the screen in class and in doing so has transcended it's original "place". It is no longer anywhere but here.

    It has no meaning because one, we aren't supposed to assume it means anything, and two it's been reproduced who knows how many times for who knows how many people viewing it and there is no original to go to in order to assume meaning. It is brought to us. It isn't stable somewhere. It is always moving to meet up with us in order to see it. We don't have to go see it in a museum somewhere. It It isn't frozen in time, representing a time that once was or an event that happened once. It doesn't represent a place because there no longer is a place to represent. It's taken in the world and moved it, recreated it, and placed it somewhere else, for us. It has no authenticity.

    The world is a ridiculous place full of assumptions and this photo makes me realize that even more.

    Or maybe I'm just confused.

  16. Coconuts are not ordinarily in the middle of a city, nor are they normally in the middle of a soccer field. Most soccer fields are also not normally devoid of grass. Then again, most coconuts are not usually tied to a rope and hung to begin with. I can't tell exactly what the coconut is hanging from (I assume it's some part of a wall or windowsill?), but most photographs do not sport a grayish strip of housing on the top side that looks like it had been accidentally captured on camera by an amateur. (I shall also assume that this is not an accident.) Most walls don't have arithmetic written on them. Most coconuts also do have writing on them, much less try to tell me to be happy. This image is a collection of a multitude of things that ordinarily do not belong together. Even so, they are all collpased together in this image, and the image itself connects the things that are out of place together in a way that makes them fit into place. The strangely grassless field matches the color scheme of the coconut, and the writing that should not be on the wall connects to the writing that should not be on the coconut.

  17. The scene is empty. No children or teenagers are playing in this field. No parent’s are watching on with nervous curiosity. At first glance the scene may seem barren and lonely. But, as if serendipitously, a coconut is hanging in the foreground. Regardless of the words sprawled across its side, the coconut becomes a lucky coincidence that the viewer was able to stumble upon. This field has not always been empty, and this field will probably be filled again. Someone hung the coconut from the metal rail, someone was there.

  18. (to add to my previous post)

    When I want to see the picture, it's there; it exists on my screen. When I don't want to see it, I just close the window on my computer. But it's still lurking there somewhere on the internet, waiting for a curious somebody to click on its link. Would it be the same picture? What if I print it out on my crappy printer? It would be quite different. Have I, then, created art?

  19. half hatched thoughts.

    this screams, scratch that, it echoes or is the phantom of a hallmark greeting card. the front of the card is something to glimpse at on the way inside the card. it is simplistic. as an introduction, it frames the viewer for the inside of the card.

    this image. the faded background awash like water colors that embraces the coconut, and 1+2=3. I don't think that the goal is important, the opposing goal is flush with the rest of the background. "try to be happy," is in contrast to the drab and sad colors of the background. maybe the background mimics the feelings one feels in contrast to "try to be happy" (which one infers that one is in some state of prolonged despair).

  20. Interestingly, what appears to be a soccer field lacks any grass whatsoever, while the patch immediately behind it and its intermittent trees seem rather lush. The buildings behind the field are constructed with a uniformity that is quite depressing. Curiously, the windows on the bottom floor of the building appear more transparent than those above it.

  21. "Try to be Happy" displays on a fruit/nut kiosk impossibly suspended above you. You MUST heed such advice before negotiating this type of expansive space. There is nothing out there. Search as you may, will,do don't. Out here the distance blurs under the weight of it's own sprawl. There is just no way to make it mean. AH-HA! Closer inspection yields undiscovered clues. Neo-ancient hieroglyphics revealing unknown volume formulas previously thought incalculable! Suddenly the old paradigm, "meaning is 'believing'" falls on it's face. Here all forces are trumped in volume.

  22. "this photograph could be anywhere"

    -any run down urban backlot playground.

    "This photograph could be anywhere"

    -magazine print, gallery blow up, flickering across your face on a computer screen

    The idea of this being a contrived accident stuck with me.

    some setting with some object(s) in focus. The move to assume the message in the photograph is for us. We are the ones looking at it after all, right?

    Does this sound like this photograph, or all photographs?

    the seeing of seeing of photographs, per chance?

    isn't this we, this group, sort of arbitrary? Yet, it is a photograph, it was taken, it was distributed, contrived for a viewer, an us....

    isn't our seeing of this image a contrived, intended, and simultanously arbitrary, riding on the curtails of chance?

    chance, intention, an interesting blend.

  23. This image grounded by its drab violet-mauve heaviness and hanging gait contains some incidental letters at its off-center focal point, marking the bottom hemisphere of the coconut. The recognizable(?) inscriptions in the fore with vague buildings that blur and sink into the ever expanding bottom weight are seen. The masses align almost indistinguishably to form the space around the curious coconut with its beard of shadow. The hanging coconut appears elongated and stretches into its stillness. The inscription of white markings (apparently letters) at first inspire a reading from left to right (out of habit) but one also finds themselves trying new combinations of letters: moving up, down, right, left, diagonal, and finally all at once. '1 +2 = 3', drawn (by who?) along with incoherent half erased scribbles take their place along the white bar that chops the top of the frame making it impossible for the coconut to be hanging from the sky. This also adds to the heft-effect. This image, to be sure, affects the gravity of the seer it sees/ thus The intertwining vision congeals and droops. A bluish gravity settles into the world of the viewer and viewed and this reciprocal atmosphere of a transparent, cool blue thickness envelopes.

  24. It's crazy how once the words are written on that coconut, that's all there is. Just the words. And the words speak to you. Not the person who wrote them. Even though it is glaringly obvious that this was premeditated. I mean, how in the world do you even get the string connected to the freakin coconut - it doesn't look like it's tied around. YET, those words coming from whoknowswhom speak on their own, they talk to you... or to someone... or no one. Or they just are. Just like this picture. Though it is glaringly obvious that someone HAD to have taken the picture, the image speaks on its own. It's its own entity. Sure, somebody shot it. But that doesn't mean this image is HIS. It has a life of its own.

    Brain Fart: I wonder if there's anything on the other side of the coconut.

  25. The equation in the top right corner attempts to ground us into a sort of logic/reality that should simply be ignored or not taken too seriously. By reading into the 1+2=3, the reader might buy into this conventional logic, trying to likewise add up the image to something logical in his mind. This method of reading would lead us into reading the coconut logically, not to mention the formal aspects of the image (depth of field, angles, et cetera).
    However useful that may be, perhaps it would be more interesting (or at least more amusing) to try to ignore the numbers and letters as symbolic of meaning and instead see them abstractedly, namely, as shapes instead of words and letters.

    On the other hand, we can see this image as an exercise, to find out how many ways we can add up the image, how many ways we can make 1+2=3.


    I just thought about how interesting the image place is. What the hell is a screen doing on field? I propose that this image world was crafted for us, and that instead of adding it all up to fit in our own world, we should delve into its quite separate reality.


  26. Who is speaking? The image is speaking. Words are inserted into this image, initially appearing to create its own voice as the foreground apart from the rest which “just serves as the background”. Because the writing is centered in the image, it seems to imply that this is the *only* voice in the picture. But that is misleading because the words are a part of the image. The text becomes the image, with nothing to be privileged over another, thereby eliminating the distinction between foreground and background, words and images. This collapse of difference, this event, is the image itself.


    I tried.

  27. Interestingly, the arrangement of the planes inaugurates a new depth perception. Upon first glance, the image appears to be subdivided into three different planes: foreground, middle ground, and background. However, they parallel each other in such a way that defies this conventional demarcation of an image. For instance, though the string attachment of the “try-to-be-happy” coconut to the screen (a soccer goal) anchors it to the foreground, that very same screen seems to parallel, mesh with, and encroach on the background because of its similar dull grey color and two dimensionality. Indeed, the image’s sense of depth is complex.

  28. A desolate urban landscape forms the background of this image of what looks to be a coconut with the words, "Try to be happy" written in white.

    The urban landscape is one familiar to all of us. It is barren and ugly. Even the frame, a white bar, is asymmetrical and ugly. The coconut looking thing is ugly as well, with the chicken-scratch lettering telling the reader in a resigned fashion, "try to be happy."

    Why should someone be happy? The words, "try to be happy" are not enough, they are simply a signature of the ugliness of the barren urban surroundings.

  29. This coconut is not speaking to you. Coconuts do not speak. This coconut is not concerned with the feeling of happiness. Coconuts do not have concerns or feelings. This image is not about the coconut. Images are not about anything. Rather, images are everything. So, escape from the supposed focal point. Disengage. Disavow the privilege of the clear foreground over the blurry background – as if one trumps another. Rejoice in this image’s liberation: as its own sovereign existence.

  30. This image happens simultaneously in my macbook and in my eyes, at this moment. The space of my gaze is divided into thirds, and held in focus at the center with the coconut, though the coconut is not the only speaker of this scene. The entire image- the top bar of the soccer goal, the out-of-focus buildings, the empty field, the numbers at the top all say- "this is one way of passing through." Though captured at one point in time, this image pops up infinitely each time as the viewers' eyes pass over it. As MY eyes read the words "try to be happy," I HEAR myself speaking. Here, the image morphs again, becoming an event where sight meets sound. Upon leaving the image, it disappears and molds once again for the next person.

  31. This image qua coconut speaks to its audience. But to whom it is speaking and where it is speaking from is unknown. The very message it is trying to convey is also unknown. The coconut is simultaneously requesting its audience to read its message “try to be happy”, while stating much more. The complex equation that plays out in this image is an algebra of sorts, but one that is much more intricate than the equation expressed above. This coconut is analogous with Bugs Bunny because, much like the “waskly wabbit”, it jamms the circuit. It does not play the role society has deemed appropriate for it; it takes a line of flight and does something completely ‘out of the norm’: it speaks, thereby jamming the world back at you as you are viewing it.

  32. The scene depicted was originally nothing more than a fleeting moment in time. While contrived, it would be no more than an odd occurrence to a passer by. However, that is not the manner in which the image presents itself to us. The capture of the moment, creating a new reality in the form of this image, changes the viewer’s interaction with it to the very roots. It was once occurrence, but it is now a separate entity, art.
    In the interaction between the viewer and this image the image manages to control the viewer’s gaze, physically forcing the viewer to focus on certain aspects of the photo. This can be seen in the clarity of the coconut and the forefront of the soccer field in relation to the haziness of the buildings and skyline in the background. The viewer is no longer allowed to decide what’s prevalent in the photo. This right is essentially striped from the viewer by the photos unchanging and unyielding composition. The prevalence of this being that the photo is not a passive pawn for the viewer’s analysis. In fact, the viewer is subject to the image, which constrains the viewer by defining the limits of the interaction.

  33. We ask after the rhetoric of the image, and we ask after the terms of exchange. The trouble is, I see words, and immediately I am after a rhetoric that is recognizable. To whom the words are addressed is not so much an issue as that I read them as words. If they are addressed to no one, or if they are addressed to anyone but me, is of little consequence to the fact of me reading them. Coffeen tells me that they are not for me; well, then I’ll eavesdrop. I take up the words, and they take me up. I might as well be drinking from this coconut, because by simply taking up the words, I’m pulled towards, even into the frame; I’m seated in a goal and I suck. I’m pulled into an exchange between A and B (assumption) that I was supposed to see my way past, that I read myself into and that by my reading pulled me into it, made me a part of it. Now, I am of this image and it is of me in an explicit way; we have colonized each other and given each other passports, but very few protections. I am the captured eavesdropper, hostage to a gossip that I needn’t care anything about. My hostage status goes unrecognized; this is of the rhetoric of the image.

  34. This image, at first, seems witty and simple...a circular object with a nice phrase written on it hanging from a post with a simple math equation sketched into it and a blurry background of buildings. But then you realize that nothing belongs, that everything seems out of place, once or twice removed, contrived, manipulated, purposefully placed for passersby. Since when do coconuts have catchy phrases painted on them? Why is it hanging on a goalpost, and who put it there? Who needed to remind themselves, or the world that 1 + 2 = 3? Why does it say "try to be happy" and not the more straightforward "be happy"? Doesn't that mean that I'll never achieve happiness, if I am to only try?

  35. The occasion that this photograph depicts is a single instance of
    "being" - captured, and like a time rift, is now visible in other instances of time. So now this image can occur whenever or wherever it is called upon. But it is still, and it is still an instance of time past (passed?). Also, it can disappear - without destroying the original scene.
    There is gravity, the coconut hangs. There are English words that are legible, and one that is not. There is math.
    This construction - juxtaposition - of the surreal (there is a coconut suspended from a goalpost) against the real (gravity) - forces our seeing of this (alternate) reality. Since coconuts don't ordinarily grow on goalposts, especially not in miserable weather, and that they don't speak English (which is not the same as not understanding English), this image's construction disorientates, but the fact that it is an image removed from an alternate time and place only furthers this disorientation.

  36. Contrivance #1

    The image is presented as an object worthy of study: look at this picture and tell me about it. (There must be something to say.)

    Contrivance #2

    The BLAND punctuated by the ABSURD i.e. coconut.

    The scene evokes the ORDINARY, an urbanscape. The “beauty” present in the image does not derive from the objects AS they were put on the scene in what one calls the real life. They are pretty IN this picture as an accidental geometric-color-palette beauty that comes from the relations of those parts and planes contained in the frame. And then there is the coconut that matters because it is in the picture, not because it is in the scene. The words are frosting or a red herring (an extra dollop of absurdity, another path through the woods you can take until it dead-ends like the rest.) But the coconut is silly on purpose.

    So this ends up an exercise in implication. Professor implies there is something to see in the picture (maybe there is) the picture implies that it’s saying something (maybe it isn’t.)

  37. This image blends the forced and the candid together. The nondescript buildings and grey sky are a presence in everyday life, while not exciting their monotony has a comfort to them. This comfort is jammed by the presence of an incongruent coconut hanging in the middle of the frame. The calm constancy of the background is further disturbed by “try to be happy” written across the coconut. Why does the coconut assume unhappiness in whoever it is talking to? Would the scene seem as dreary if not juxtaposed against the fruits demand?

  38. This photograph is strangely familiar, I have seen it hundreds of times. It is not familiar in the sense that it activates an aesthetic memory of a past experience; rather it derives its familiarity from a feeling of “being.” It is a chance experience that humans are fatefully bound. It continuously evokes the feeling of being “seen for the first time.” When we see for the first time we look at a scene or object without a goal or purpose in mind, we stand face to face with the photograph and let the exchange “happen.” The photograph allows the viewer to relish in the moment “between” when the viewer can see a glimpse of the world without the hallucinogenic tendencies of the human mind/eye. It is when we get over the compulsion to answer the coconut’s quip or rationalize the placement of the math equation that we can simply see. Feels good.

  39. What is the coconut hanging from? The beam appears to be hovering atop the image. Where are the supports that hold it up? There is no base for it to stand up against gravity. And by extension the coconut lacks stability. The image carefully leaves out the top of the white beam as well. How thick or tall is this object? By leaving out the top of the structure the image gives 1/4 of a frame or border. It is an incomplete context. Are we to assume it is counterpart of soccer goal in the distance? Or does the beam exist on its own if we cannot ascertain its function?

  40. This image is devoid of human life. The bar from which the coconut hangs and the dark buildings in the background are made of metal, mortar and brick. Even the sky and ground look man-made and unnatural. There is no one here to be told to "try to be happy". The message on the coconut has no more meaning than "1+2=3". What does happiness mean to a camera?

  41. The art of foreplay.
    Look stupid. Be dumb and ingenuity will arise.

    Lose focus and the scope will increase. I must see, so I must see the image and let the image see me. Seeing me see it and it see me is just trying to make the enigma, the illusion, see anew. Don’t see in atoms or wholes, go to the intertwinement between the two.
    But the intertwinement seems to me the suspension of a narrative, the echoing of sound.
    And the question begged is at what point does one capture this echo?
    Comply to some social and static expression of the infinite ineffable exchange: to organize a cohesive description of the in-between by limiting its scope, which ever increases with image itself, in the goings on between object and sense, sense and object.
    And what costume do I put on the image when I stop transferring between mirrors and entering new closets?
    I can look at the image for amusement, for the new enigma, for escapism or self-containment, joy, sadness, hope, inspiration.
    The idea behind “image of difference” seems to push me to open the mirror beyond binaries to a whole new multifold. To see beyond the narrative of the cocunut. The juxtaposition of monochromatic industrial dullness with the manipulated presence of vegetation hanging from a steel man-made post. The image itself has symbolic representations of the play between man and nature.
    The words on the cocunut showing explicitly what is already implicit: that we see words in objects because they are an embodiment of words and speak to us. The image, like the words, already is a conversation of trying and trying is the motion of seeking in a temporal cycle of comings and goings.
    The cocunut need not be didactic and words on it are as out of place as the cocunut itself.
    Art is artificial by its very nature of production. It is only authentic in its movement.

    So I’ve still yet to say anything concrete because I’m dressing myself in new mirrors. I am still playing bored to reawaken an amusement of the new avant-garde.
    And to be peculiarly amused or most stupid, I try to simultaneously kill old symbols and meanings while shuffling their possibilities to allow the image to wake a new natural fusion that can be put into the new narrative. The more I try to be stupid, the more it, or I myself, lures me in. I court it, but I’m stuck at the stalemate of cyclical schizophrenia. Countering my every move.

    Not yet willing to narrate. I’ll call this the cowardice of courtship.
    Prolonged flirtation.

    Maybe next week.

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. The scrawled numbers are almost taunting the viewer: its that simple, they imply. Dangling from the crossbar, the coconut’s message is the goal itself. The coconut itself evokes thoughts of tropical levity, Bobby McFerrin songs, rum-based cocktails with umbrellas, all of which seem so contrary to this industrial, higher- latitude locale. I suppose that is why the viewer has to "try".

  44. There’s such strong focus to the coconuts it forces the plugged humanity to retrieve its meaning. Where is this image taking place? What is the meaning of all this? Words on the coconuts, numbers on the goal post, dark and gloomy post Soviet looking school ground. But what would Morpheus see? What if there is no meaning… what if the image is just existence of itself taking place on my laptop screen in moffit? Right now this image exists right in front of me trying to be free from poking human interpretation. It just wants to be an image itself. Or I’m just full of bs and this image is really speaking by its words. Words itself is an image.

  45. Trying to be happy seems as easy as trying to love the game of soccer when the only pitch you have to play on hasn't a single blade of grass, or as easy as I imagine it would be to love living in a housing project (is that what's behind the pitch?).

    All of the above would be easier than living as a hairy hanging head.

    I might have too much privilege to know what the hell I'm talking about. This image, in its looking at me, seems to speak to that privilege, and ask it what else there might be that's worth understanding.

  46. By framing the upper edge of the image with the crossbeam of the soccer goal, the coconut hangs as though it were superimposed. Yes, superimposed such that the split between foreground and background is maximized; thus we feel that this odd coconut intrudes in jest upon our seeing with its simultaneously enthusiastic and obnoxious markings and its blatant juxtaposition. The image seems to ask us to make the kind of readings Coffeen so despises in transforming this otherwise banal scene into such an iconographic event with the inescapable messages (both "TRY TO BE HAPPY" and "1+2=3").

    But we're smarter than that, and they key feature of this gesture that it is in jest. This isn't a giant banner bearing the swastika, this is a coconut on a string. This isn't a finger pointing to a symbol, a 1+2 pointing to a 3, it's a finger playfully poking you on the nose, and every time you try to read it symbolically or linearly, you falter, you ram your eye into the finger. Step back, however, and view the entire architecture of this image--not just the juxtaposed coconut and beam apparatus but also it's effect on viewers--and you are now in on the gag. Your self-content snickering now allows you some of the happiness that seems so elusive when chasing after the coconut in a straight line.

  47. Whenever I hear this type of advice - be happy, try to have a good time - its spoken to or by somebody who isn't on the level. There's an emotional gap involved. It's the type of advice you'd say to an inconsolable girlfriend at an ice rink. Or hear in the desperate moments of a family vacation. "Try to be happy, just try to be happy! For Once!!"

    I don't feel i'm being pushed around by this image, tho, I don't feel its trying to squeeze some response out of Me to make the time more easy passing for It. Grief is so strange - it can't hardly be touched by reason or logic - and real human understanding is rare. At least the type that can touch you. Is it weird for me to say then the coconut really 'gets' me? Gets what I'm about?? And then, finally, Is this what it's come to?

  48. It’s interesting how much our eyes try to fill in the space, the empty gaps, draw lines that aren’t actually within the frame just to make sense of it. What makes us think that the coconut is hanging from some kind of a metal bar that’s being supported from the ground up? Is there a bar carrying the weight of the coconut? It actually took me a few minutes to realize that it’s just a bar going straight across with no indication that there are any poles at either end supporting it. So essentially, what’s within the frame is just a free-standing bar stretched horizontally across, void of anything keeping it from falling. Unfrikenbelievable. And it’s not hanging from anything either because it sits at the very top of the frame. So the coconut is actually not hanging on from anything any more secure than itself, and yet, it’s telling you to do something: “try to be happy”, written on a hard brown bearded shell. A command coming from no one, supported by nothing, displaying somewhat of a serious message, yet it’s anything but serious. How clever.

  49. The viewer is placed on the dark side of the buildings where twilight illuminates a dull, lifeless, melanchololic scene. The viewer may wonder what is on the other side of those buildings. It seems a warmer, lighter, more vibrant scene lies just on the other side. There is a sense that the grass is greener on the other side. If one was literally standing in the place of the camera one would presumably seek that other, 'happier' scene on the other side. But then the viewer is faced with the message "TRY TO BE HAPPY."

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  51. The goal of happiness is enunciated and framed within a goal, which is itself the goal of a desolate playing field.

    The 'goal' theme is reinforced by the way that everything in the background is out of focus, overexposed, and low in detail, which draws our attention to the coconut.

    But still, everything, including the coconut, is of a similar color, except for the void created between the top of the goal and the skyline, which also draws my attention to a void, to nothing.

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