Friday, 29 September 2017

Home ed (the 5-minute drive version)

Grit catches sight of a printout of an anatomical drawing in Squirrel's art bag, while running out the house this morning at 8.14 for the drive to school.

Grit: Hey! Squirrel! Get in the car! Is that for your art? Brilliant! I'm interested in the history of anatomical illustration! It's one of my favourites! And bells. I like bells. And locks, keys, gates and doors in Clarissa. But anatomy! Let me tell you about anatomy.  

Yes I've got my lights on. Remember the Middle Ages? The Church sanctioned knowledge and said you couldn't just poke your nose in peoples' bodies. That is against God's law, but I can understand it in a way. Just think of the battles! Disfigurements, missing limbs, odd behaviours. I bet you got them all on the High Street.  

What's he doing? Idiot. I guess the church needed to provide comfort, and say Here's how to live with no legs, rather than Can I poke about in your neck. But then along comes the lens and they're stuffed. Remember Galileo? And what about the Renaissance? And Leonardo Da Vinci? Remember that exhibition in Hong Kong with all his art and science? And then we get the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  

Ha! Traffic lights. I knew we would make the green. Lenses. Lenses were everywhere. The whole medical inquiry thing blew up. Literally. They could see things they couldn't see before. Like the inside of your heart. And they started teaching it. Remember Newton's Optiks? In English? Now everyone knows about it and anatomy is everywhere. With pictures. Oh I want to go back and visit Wellcome.  

This is the bastard roundabout I hate. Anyway, then it goes sinister because we get the nineteenth century. Now a bunch of men start arranging dead women in poses with breasts exposed and legs akimbo, and they just say Pft It's Medicine, we can do what we like. Bastards. Which gives them a licence -so they think- to start getting their rocks off at dead women. And I put Over Her Dead Body on your feminist bookshelf. Look over it. It is excellent. And remember the woman who ran the marathon without tampon or pads? That was a brave thing to do!

Here's the turnoff. But it's like saying This is Blood and it's part of the deal if you want humans walking about this planet, so it's not something to be ashamed of or brush under the carpet. Menstrual blood you should celebrate. Why should we have to worship penises everywhere? Why do they get all the glory? They'd be stuffed without the menstrual cycle. So what I want you to do in your art -and here is your challenge- is produce a piece of work that references the history of anatomical drawings but gives it a woman's twist and places menstrual blood right at the heart. When you create it you should be empowered by that work, and so are people who look at it, because it changes the way we see the world.  

Right, are we here? Got it? Woman's anatomy. Power. Subvert history.

Squirrel (looking like she's been hit about the face with a cricket bat): I'm doing the theme of transport. But I'll bear it in mind.

For the further engagement of those who can endure a Grit lecture:
Over Her Dead Body

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