Thursday, February 07, 2013

Art Pact 257 - Signals to lovers


Everybody knows that you hang a blue dress in the window to signal your lover. It doesn't have to be a blue dress. Not if you're a man. Then you can use a pair of blue trousers, or a blue shirt (which is probably preferable, a shirt really being a short dress in a way - what, you hadn't thought about that? Wear a shirt that's a little too big for you, or a shirt that fits around your neck if you have a big neck. You'll soon see how dress-like the shirt is when it's dangling around your thighs). You put a blue dress (or a blue whatever) in your window as a signal to them, so that they know that you're missing them, or thinking about them. It's an invitation to get in touch - perhaps literally, perhaps figuratively. You might see a blue dress hanging in the window of your lover's house and decide to give them a call. Then the blue dress could mean: my husband is out, now is a good time to call me. Or it might mean something completely (well, not completely) different, like: my husband is back, I can't call you but I'm thinking of you and missing you. Or your lover might not be married, and she puts a dress in the window to say: look, I know we had our differences last time we saw each other, and I know it can't be easy starting a new job on the other side of the city, what with the commuting and all that, but I wanted to see you and if you had some time maybe you could give me a call and we could meet up in that coffee shop on the corner, you know, the one you like, they do a great hot chocolate there and even though I'm a little jealous of the way you look at that one waitress I know it's just harmless and you do really love me and I'll let it go.

That's blue clothes. I don't know why blue. You can argue about which signal came first, which colour. I suppose that the first signal to be chosen was the important one, because it constrained all the signals that came after. You know about waving white flags, right? You wave a white flag to signal surrender, because that's - I don't know, maybe it's the colour of peace. Which seems a bit dubious to me, because it's the colour of ghosts. What's it saying, that there will be peace when we're all dead? I mean, that's likely - it's very likely, because the chief number one cause of strife on Earth is people, that's for sure. Also, is it racist? Like a black flag is for bad things - anarchists, pirates and the like, and the white flag is for peace? I guess you know, if you have to ask if something's racist you already kind of know the answer, but that's a hard one for me to call.

I'm getting off the point. The point is this - that flag, if it got chosen first, is the constraint that all other flags have to work under. No country's army can have the white flag now, no matter how much they want it. It could be Greenland! Greenland should have the white flag, because there's nothing there but snow, right? It would be a perfect flag for Eskimos or Inuit or whatever other tribes live there. But they can't have it because it's already spoken for, everyone understands. You'd see the Greenland army coming towards you and think: well, we've won this war. Here comes the enemy, and they're surrendering already. Perhaps the soldiers from the army would be confused themselves: are we fighting here, they'd say, or what? What's going on? Despite the fact that the white flag is perfect for them, they can't have it. They have to have something else. They can't have a tricolour, because the old-world European nations stole all of them already. That's a done deal. So they have to have some kind of new faux-heraldic thing. A polar bear in a field of red, or whatever they say. That would make an intimidating flag. You'd be in no doubt that they'd come to fight if they were marching out under a polar bear surrounded by blood. The polar bear could have an AK-47 in each paw, too (just the front ones, I mean), that would put the cherry on top. Seriously, have  you seen how many flags in, like, Africa and the middle east have AK-47s on them? Mr. Kalashnikov would be so proud. Or horrified. I don't know which. I read that he writes poems and stuff, and that he's pretty grim about the AK-47 being used everywhere by terrorists and so forth. Seems to me like I guess he's maybe not so onboard it being on flags. Oh well, it was a good idea. The army of Greenland will have to work out their own flag.

I'm not even sure if Greenland has an army.

Anyway, that's the thing! Maybe blue was the first signal, or maybe, just maybe, the choice was forced upon lovers as a reaction to preexisting signals, like maybe green makes more sense as a flag of love (it doesn't, on account of jealousy being green for some weird reason, but just run with me for a moment), but if people had already started hanging green clothes in their windows as a signal that they needed dental treatment, then clearly the lovers would not be able to hang green clothes as a signal to their boyfriends and girlfriends without being pestered by legions of wandering dentists.

You know what, ignore that. Sometimes you just let your ideas run away with you and then you realise that you've invented a world in which itinerant dentists are roaming the streets, hoping to get a little work on the side from someone passing by with a cavity. Tinker dentists coming door to door.

Anyway, so - not green, but red. Hang a red dress in your window, we all know, and that's a signal to your enemy. That's saying: watch your back today, because I am going to be everywhere and nowhere. I'm coming to fuck your shit up, or whatever. You could hang a red shirt in your window to say to the guy who's always knocking over your dustbin that you've got your eye on him, that you know what he's up to and you won't stand for it any more. That's if you've got the world's lamest enemy, obviously, I mean who would give two shits about their dustbin getting knocked over, right? But that's the status of enemies in the world today, it's all so impersonal. Everyone's got these trivial little enemies that are just, like, their bosses and so on, but the real enemies, the guys that are going to kill you, that are going to take your stuff and steal your lover and all that, just ruin your life or end it, they're people who you have no idea who they are. They're the countries, they're the terrorist organisations, they're the multinational corporations with their pollution. They're apathy and greed and hatred, things you can't point to.

It's so easy to make a little guy your enemy to block that out, but that's the way the world defeats you, you see. So that's why I hang a blue shirt in my window as a signal to my girlfriend, but I drape a giant red canvas across the roof of the tower block - that's my signal to the world, to all those faceless enemies.

Does that answer your question?