Handbag Design

Handbag Design Podcast

I’ve pulled this selection as the first post of Rubber Dream Trampoline because the late Hieronymus Schitzolini was obsessed with the ouroboros.  He saw it as a symbol of how consciousness operates.  If the mind were a film projector, H.S. would often say, then the screen would be the tail in its mouth.  The immediate image (of consciousness) as a problematic construction is at the heart of his work.  The mind’s automatic push for consistency as stifling, as it is fluid.  H.S.’s work might appear as a scatterbrained wasteland but make no mistake.  The terrain is fertile.  The threads loosely woven.  And his approach to non-Being had to be what he called “hands off the wheel.”  Let the car drive itself.  See where it goes.  No need to force what is automatic.  Let the eerie salience seep through. Upon first sight of the “St. Bartholomew Flayed” sculpture in Milan, Schitzolini, racked with doubt, fell at its feet and wrote this piece in what he described as a state of spare ecstasy.

Klein fiasco

Forgive us for we know not what we have done to ourselves.  I have served up my head on a platter.  When I was alive, I held the drapery of my flayed skin as all the evidence I needed of what others had done to me.  But it wasn’t they who took out their golden knives and skinned me against my will.  It wasn’t they who ran from my light.  I did.    

It was easier to pretend that I didn’t make them do it.  I left them with no choice.  My words and deeds demanded it.  The insatiable appetite to do to ourselves what we cannot do alone commands the living to do it to others instead.  

Everybody is asking for it, indirectly.  Bent begging.  Pleading out the sides of their mouths.  Not for mercy, no, but for the rapture of persecution.

The truly courageous accept this and harbor no ill will towards those delivering them like a newborn from the quagmire womb.  Only through pain can the true boundary of living memory be pushed, yet we lack the ability or courage to administer what we need when we’re alive.  So we get others to do it for us.  Excuse me brother, but could you abuse me? 

Strip me bare.  Take off my skin.  Use it for a purse.  

See my pain glisten along the lines of the strap.  

How sweet the memory of that agony.  Striated.  How foul the smell of goading such easy prey to take it out on me.  How corrupt I was to make them show what was hidden in them unknown.  My spectacle held up as the proof of their hideousness aroused from its slumber by my dirty tricks. 

The darkest figure within is assigned individually.  Driven by that engine of righteous thirst, its discovery is only found down the road of good intentions.  Only fools believe that they have escaped this intolerable craving for purity.  Everybody craves a personalized version of wholeness whether they want to or not.  It’s at the heart of our suffering since it can never be.  The more it is called something else and dismissed as irrelevant or unfashionable, the worse it gets.  When it flips, we only see the effect and not the cause.  Bold and dramatic.  Remembered as cut off from our daily lives.  Who would do such a thing? 

They knew not what they did.  They went on performing the task but called it something else like an anatomical study or a handbag design.  They wore that mask of rationality that makes such compartmentalized flow possible.  It’s the only way to get the job done.  To keep the gaze fixed on process and block out that dark presence lurking within.  That false inquisitor in all of us.  The maniac whose chains I broke to get my flaying done and my head served up on a clean plate.

And they think I’m dead and gone as they move on in magnitudes impossible for the living to see.  Like the sickness of violence.  The sickness of guilt-ridden visions that plague even the most diligent atheist.  A Judgement Day without a smidgen of spiritual worth.  Assured by faith in salvation.  Reframing another conquest as liberty and safety. 

Now that I am dead, they know not what I have become.  Cleaner than that plate upon which they put my unmasked face.  Reflecting the shimmer of light that they desperately seek (when nobody else is looking), but can never reach, for it is the divine ground where the lamassu roam.  Where the deities flutter their wings with light as radiant as laughter at the unresolvable joke of the living’s folly.  

The living do not see how dirty tricks devalue everything they seek to obtain.  Like thieves who do not see that whatever they steal, by the stealing, no longer has any value.  Like murderers who think they’ve erased their persecutor but fail to see that they have erased themselves instead through another innocent sacrifice.  Like the false enthusiasts who demean what they claim to love.  Like the mirror man who jumps through to teach others a lesson but only shatters himself.  Like the fool who rides the tiger only to find out that the end is always somewhere else and thereby could never justify the means.  Like the liars who do not know what they beg for as they habitually crawl back into their cages.  Answering the same call.  The good condition.  The small ask.  Just go under the veil for a little while until you get what you want.  One for me, one for you.  Always self-caging for a good purpose.  A purpose that twists and turns until the tail in the mouth is unrecognizable.  And the veil has become the face.  The storefront window, the soul.  The flesh, the handbag.   

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