Justification of artwork: The picture above shows a $144,395 BMV i8 driving long one of the streets in Lahore, Pakistan.This picture perfectly captures on of the first points brought up by Eric Packer in the Cosmopolis. Pg. 10 talks about the scene when he is walking across First Avenue towards his white limousine. “He liked the fact that the cars were indistinguishable from each other. He wanted such a car because he thought it was a platonic replica, weightless for all its size, less than an object than an idea. But he knew that wasn’t true. This was something he said for affect but he didn’t believe it for an instant…. He wanted the car because it was not only over-sized but aggressively and contemptuously so, metastasizing so, a tremendous mutant thing that stood astride every argument against it.” Whether its driving a limo in New York City or a BMW in Lahore, the point is that both tend to stand out. Eric Packer relished the limelight and in his ‘tremendous mutant’ (the limo) everything else was like the outdated Rickshaw in the background to him.
Justification: My artwork represents a concept that love is bound to labels which aids us in belonging to our societies. While some may find love to be natural and an unconscious pull towards another, there is a need to find the perfect match that adds great benefit to an individual’s life. Eric Packer displays this concept well in the way he chose Elise Shifrin as his wife in order to fit in with the societal norm of relationships for the wealthy. On page 72, Eric’s characterization of how their love came to be depicts the necessary requirements that were met in order for them to be a couple. Eric is rich, self-made, ruthless, strong and brilliant while Elise was rich, heir-apparent, brittle, gifted and beautiful. They very clearly complement one another, even though Elise’s beauty may have been fabricated in Eric’s mind to make the relationship work (121). In my work I depict a physical representation of how one would find their perfect match. It represents the concept that we look for the complements in our own personalities and appearances in others. The multiple cards beneath Elise, represents the notion that some individuals go through multiple relationships and possible suitors before they find “the one.” Love is not always something of a fairy-tale, but it is also a self-serving endeavor to belong in a society of perfection as well.
The Justification: My art is trying to depict the inner struggles of the main character named Eric, the man sitting on the right, seeing himself as the man who set himself on fire, the man on the left, on pages 97-100. What I see as his character develops is that he seems to be unsure about his own life and as the book goes on Eric unravels more and more. I think that this shows that the most successful people on the outside can also be unfixable beyond repair on the inside. When Eric says “He did a serious thing. He took his life. Isn’t this what you have to do to show them that you’re serious?” (100). It is in this statement that I can identify that Eric feels similarly to the struggles the man on fire. He has success in numbers but throws it all away so that people will take him seriously. Success is not everything that there is to fulfill a life and this is demonstrated repeatedly by Eric.
Transcript for the presentation section: What I’m trying to illustrate in my art is that the main character, Eric, sees himself within the man who set himself on fire. He feels pain and mental suffering just like the man and though to an outside perspective he has a perfect life but in reality money cannot fill the void he feels. So I display the flames starting to reach Eric as he is beginning to lose himself just like the man. The man made a serious statement within his actions and Eric seems to be heading along that path as well as he throws his money away to make a statement of his own. Money isn’t everything and that message resonates throughout the book. As stated before, I found Eric’s state troubling throughout the book and I knew that what he was portrayed as was meant to teach a lesson to everyone that thinks that money is everything. Here’s a man who had it all lost it and still has the means but unravels more and more as time goes on. He very clearly is grasping to feel something more in his life that money can’t provide him, and I wanted to portray his pain compared to the act of pain most prevalent in the novel. My art overall, with editing, critique, and finalizing, it took multiple tries to get the lines to be defined right, it took me about 45 minutes to complete my piece. I like my art because I think it shares an important message symbolically. My idea came to me in the middle of class and once I made it real, it came together just as I imagined and actually made me understand the passages I highlighted more. I’ve shown my art to some of my classmates that are interested in philosophy and they were all intrigued and one classmate actually suggested that I make the flames start to fade into Eric’s side of the art to start to show his deterioration more vividly.
A man gains support
Actions, innocent lives lost
Regret, sorrow, guilt
In the “Lessons and Legacies” chapter of Anthony Appiah’s The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen, it is stated that “Both recognition and esteem can be distributed by honor codes without any regard for morality” (Appiah, pg 176). In this sentence, the author’s idea of separation between honor and morality becomes apparent. I attempt to represent this in the form of a haiku. With these three lines, I try to illustrate Appiah’s idea that one may have honor from a people, but this honor does not necessarily mean that positive morality is included, and are therefore separate ideas that do not always occur in congruence.
In author Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s book Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club (2011), it is displayed how an international border, no matter how minuscule in defining distance, creates a definite separation for his characters. In my artwork, I focus on the inability to break through all barriers. I specifically reference e-reader version pages 27-28, where the speaker states, “Then it occurred to me that I was afraid … Why couldn’t he leave too? I knew that answer to that question even before I asked it. He wasn’t the leaving kind” (Sáenz, pgs 27-28). In my photo, two women are helplessly in love while separated by a literal barrier, just as the two men in the first chapter of this book are. They have overcome one barrier, that of sexuality, and yet, because of a separation, are kept apart. Thus, barriers perpetuate separation, and borders are never truly broken.
Works Cited: Sáenz, Benjamin Alire. Everything begins & ends at the Kentucky Club: stories.
[E-Reader version]. El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos Press, 2012. Print.
For creative project 2, I decided to express my thoughts through two haiku poems based on “The Expanding Circle: Ethics, Evolution, and Moral Progress” by Peter Singer, published 1981 (reprint 2011). The theme of altruism in the first chapter really spoke to me and how it is shown through both humans and animals. I didn’t really focus on one page in particular because I found the entire chapter permeated with the powerful message of altruism. The themes of animal altruism, evolution, and kin altruism were all new ideas I was exposed to by reading this book and found to be insightful. The strong expressions of survival, putting yourself behind others, and keeping your genes alive, I found to be very inspirational. I tried to express the feelings I experienced when reading the ideas for the first time, and hope readers get my initial feelings by reading them.