• dananoble

the aesthetics of metaphor > the aesthetics of mildew

I set out with the task of cleaning out my closet last week.  As with almost everyone, it’s a job I’d rather not do.  When you clean out closets or drawers, you almost always end up finding a long lost something that brings back memories.  After you finish cleaning, the sense of accomplishment is twofold: you get rid of clutter and you find things you had checked off as gone forever.  This cleaning session made me really sad. I noticed that it smelled musty in the closet. I had noticed it before last week, but just tried to ignore the fact that there’s moisture seeping in the basement.  I lifted boxes out that were sitting on the floor of the closet. One box was cardboard and held a bunch of art project.It was a box that held my portfolio and sample projects for my art education degree program, and I had decorated it in a cool, funky kid-friendly way.  It was a box of stuff to take with me to a job interview at an elementary school for an art teacher position.  I never got a job as an art teacher, so the box has just followed me around for years and sat in storage.

I picked up the box, and as I lifted it, the bottom of heavy box full of sketchbooks, art projects, photos, and memories totally broke open.  Everything just splayed out all over in a mountain paper heap . The bottom of the box was wet and the cardboard was covered with mildew.  Anything that was at the bottom was also covered with mildew, discolored,  or rusty.  This was a collection of things I put a lot of care into years back.  Most of the contents were beyond saving.

One of the items that really took on a new life was a philosophy class term paper. It was from my college days at Iowa State University.  At the end of 1986, it was 5 sheets of white typing paper stapled together with double spaced text. For years it laid below a red folder, papers, and some shapes of an art education pattern game.  Below the term paper was my tassel from the mortar board I wore at graduation.  You can see the outline of the tassel which looks like a loop.The pages of the paper show exactly where it was in the cardboard box!

The damp basement floor transformed the paper into a multicolor print, recording the things that surrounded it for years in that box.  It’s still readable despite the artistic mold, so I reread it. (I was pretty impressed by what I wrote 28 years ago, and was disappointed to see a B grade on it.)  So my B paper has a new life.  Metaphor is a new way of looking at truth. It’s a metaphor for change and shows the reality that, look – things got ruined.


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#cleaningcloset #philosophy #Art #aesthetics #metaphor

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