quincunx quiddity. quonset hut. 06 / 26, open culture bottle project
Quincunx Quiddity. Quonset Hut. Images
Bottle Launch from the ship Spirit of Tasmania between Tasmania and Melbourne into the Bass Strait on January 9, 2017, around 9pm, by me. 40°46'02.05"S 146°08'35.08"E
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Image Key *UNDER CONTSTRUCTION* for component parts of the collage. Click the shapes to see and learn more about the images used.
Quincunx Quiddity. Quonset Hut represents the letter Q. Quiddity is the essential nature of a thing. Quincunx is the arrangement of five things, or in astrology: an aspect formed between planets that are roughly 150 degrees apart, or opposites, i.e., things that challenge, or things that need redirection. "Quonset hut" refers to a private joke, and seems to confirm the apparently nonsensical associations with this collage. But to me, the letter Q actually seems most quintessentially synonymous with the word “queer”.
What is queerness? Various dictionary definitions read:
1. strange or odd from a conventional viewpoint; unusually different; singular:
a queer notion of justice.
2. of a questionable nature or character; suspicious; shady:
Something queer about the language of the prospectus kept investors away.
3. not feeling physically right or well; giddy, faint, or qualmish:
to feel queer.
4. mentally unbalanced or deranged.
Usually Disparaging and Offensive. (of a person) gay or lesbian.
noting or relating to a sexual orientation or gender identity that falls outside the heterosexual mainstream or the gender binary:
6. Slang. bad, worthless, or counterfeit.
verb (used with object)
7. to spoil; ruin.
8. to put (a person) in a hopeless or disadvantageous situation as to success, favor, etc.
9. to jeopardize.
It’s mostly a negative word with negative connotations. From the time I was very young, I’ve always felt queer in the “unconventional” definition, because of my partial deafness. Not being able to hear shaped my speech and my ability to communicate with others by being considered “disadvantaged”—although I like to think that I developed ways of compensating that enabled me to discard the negative connotations by redefining those definitions.
Because the conventional world has less penetration due to my hearing loss, unconventionality has parlayed into creativity to fill the gaps. Using a disadvantage in such a way as to convey something else: foreignness (a forgivable disadvantage), specialness (completely subverting the perception of disadvantage). This unconventional sensibility enabled flexibility in defining romantic and sexual relationships as well.
In the artwork, the overlaying grid of intersecting lines with circles is from a drawn plan showing how to organize a garden with plants or trees spaced in a quincunx pattern. Various hybrid creatures including a rainbow-hued manticore challenge quiddity: there are no simple, straightforward definitions. Iridescent clouds reveal and conceal in a nebulous landscape—is the mottled skin of some fifth gigantic unknowable creature shifting within the clouds, or is it just an atmospheric fata morgana? Islands are both isolated and sanctuaries at the same time. Ghostly cobalt structural outlines of Quonset huts drift uncharted in the wine dark sea between islands. In short, Quincunx Quiddity. Quonset Hut is to quaff and wassail the strangeness and difference in a world that would proscribe conformity.